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Blu-Ray Review: ‘Prison Break: The Final Break’ a Lackluster Epilogue

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CHICAGO – Very few shows have plummeted as far from their peak to their ignominious end as did Fox’s once-great “Prison Break”. For proof, look no further than the misguided “Prison Break: The Final Break,” what is essentially a straight-to-DVD epilogue at least here in the United States.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

“The Final Break” is a film of roughly two-episode length that actually aired overseas but was basically encapsulated in a coda here on the final episode of the show in May. The broadcast finale skipped from the downfall of The Company to reveal that Michael Scofield had died. How did that happen? Find out in “The Final Break,” which, believe it or not, involves one more character going to jail and trying to escape. They sure knew how to beat a dead horse the last few years.

The first season and most of the second were clever thrill rides, a mini-action film every week with enough twists and turns to allow for the necessary quotient of suspension of disbelief. Sure, it was mostly nonsense, but Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller worked as square-jawed heroes and the supporting cast was interesting in their own right.

When they started killing off the supporting cast (and then bringing them back from the dead), “Prison Break” jumped the shark. Specifically, when the gang all went back to jail, this time south of the border, for the dirty, dark, uninvolving third season. By the fourth season, when the gang was acting like “Mission: Impossible” spies, the show was spinning out of control.

To that end, it’s somewhat refreshing to see “Prison Break” back to its first-season core - the American prison system.

Prison Break: The Final Break was released on Blu-Ray on July 21st, 2009.
Prison Break: The Final Break was released on Blu-Ray on July 21st, 2009.
Photo credit: Fox

At the beginning of “The Final Break,” Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) is arrested for the murder of Christina Scofield during her own wedding reception to Michael (Wentworth Miller). Of course, Sara isn’t even tried before she’s thrown into gen. pop. and before people are trying to kill her. What people? Gretchen (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), of course, a former villain who happens to be in the same cell block.

When General Krantz (Leon Russom) and T-Bag (Robert Knepper) find out that Sara is being held at - wait for it - the neighboring female prison, they launch their own offensive to try and take down the new wife of their enemy.

With all of these forces working against Sara from the inside and out, Michael and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) come to the conclusion that there’s only one way to save her life and they’re going to need the help of the over-loyal Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) and a questionable Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner) to get her to safety.

It sounds like enough for a season of material, right? It might have even made a better season than three or four. Crammed into one movie that runs about the length of two episodes? It’s a narrative mess with each twist being pushed on to the next one and the coincidences and cliches coming too quickly to be ignored.

“The Final Break” misses the strength of seasons one and two - the build-up. Watching Michael and Lincoln work their way to safety and trying to escape the law in season two worked when twists came at the end of each episode, allowing viewers to forgive ridiculous plotlines because they just had to see what happened next. “The Final Break” is ALL “what happened next.” Even Purcell and Miller seem tired of playing these characters.

As for bright spots, it is nice to get more closure on characters that we spent four years chasing or running with. The final fates of Michael, T-Bag, and Gretchen should have been more explosive on Fox in the series finale, not on a Blu-Ray released two months later, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

As for the Blu-Ray release, “The Final Break” feels like as much of an afterthought as the coda that ended the show in the States. These episodes aired overseas, so they might as well put them on Blu-Ray. The transfer is unremarkable at best, looking about as good as an upconverted DVD. It doesn’t even look as crisp as the show did in its Fox HD original broadcast. And special features about the end of the series? Keep looking. All you’ll find are some deleted scenes. After watching the movie itself, you’ll probably agree that there should have been a few more deleted scenes, maybe even a few deleted seasons.

‘Prison Break: The Final Break’ is released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video and stars by Sarah Wayne Callies, Wentworth Miller, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Leon Russom, Robert Knepper, William Fichtner, Dominic Purcell, and Amaury Nolasco. It was written by Nick Santora and Seth Hoffman and directed by Brad Turner. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on July 21st, 2009. It is not rated.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

PB

Purcell and Miller checked out of this series long ago, Sarah Wayne Callies never could act and Roberet Knepper had turned T-Bag into an annoying. overly mannered bore. Nolasco and Fichtner are the only ones who were still taking the show seriously and unfortunately Sucre was given nothing to do. Not likely to be great season when only the supporting characters are worth watching and, in Fichtner’s case, stealing ever scene.

Anonymous's picture

Sarah Wayne Callies acting abilities

Sarah Wayne Callies is an excellent actress and I think you are incredibly insulting saying that she is not. Really, how good are you at your “profession?” Not nearly as good as she is at hers so leave her alone. She played that part so well and that show would have been so much less if it had not been for her.

Maybelle's picture

I concur. That’s all I

I concur. That’s all I have to say.

Anonymous's picture

Don’t go near that Sarah

Don’t go near that Sarah can’t act!!! She’s really talented, beautiful and charming!!! and definitely my favourite actress!! And I think she wouldn’t be that if she couldn’t act!! She’s acts amazingly and when she wasn’t in prison break season 3 I didn’t watched prison break anymore!! By the way she wouldn’t come back for season 4 if the fans didn’t fight for her to come back!! So just don’t say stupid things like that!! If you don’t like her don’t say anything at all about her!!

lofi's picture

As fans of the show, i would

As fans of the show, i would have thought that you’d realize that the title of the show was “prison break” … if there wasn’t somebody in, breaking out of or being threatened to be in prison there wouldn’t be a show.
Yes far fetched, but so is batman … it’s just a fun show which I think many of us enjoyed watching. When I watch the actors in season 1 compared to 4 and the movie, they seem like they are putting in the same effort and some improved if anything.

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