Top Five: Prison Break-Ins

Everybody cries the first time they go to prison, right? Wrong! Some people actually want to go there, if only for a short time. In the world of films at least, there remains that brave few prepared to risk life, limb and rear end maidenhood to save those that they love from the dreaded ‘grey bar hotel’. As you’ll note in the list below, such escapades aren’t always successful.

5. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1979) – Allowing Han Solo to land right in the loading bay of your army’s greatest asset is a Wookie mistake; his roguish confidence shatters morale on the Death Star, ruining the enemy’s aim and giving young Luke Skywalker time to nab his sister, whose attractiveness he would begrudge for a lifetime to come. ‘Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?’ Of course, the question on everybody’s mind here is: If Luke is of significantly smaller stature than the Empire’s cloned elite, how in Hutt’s name does he fit into one of their suits?

4. Law Abiding Citizen (2009) – Gerard Butler is Clyde Shelton, a bereaved husband/father that uses his skills as the world’s leading consultant on computerised weaponry to kill not just his family’s murderers, but everyone in Philadelphia. By digging into every isolation cell in advance of his intentional incarceration, he then comes and goes as he pleases, dismembering innocents as he sees fit. A spoiler warning wouldn’t have gone amiss here, but frankly, if you haven’t caught this film as it loops endlessly on ITV2 then it’s your own damn fault.


3. Inglourious Basterds (2009) – The Nazis may have the discipline and the firepower, but the Basterds have The Bear Jew. They do also have guns though, and these they put to startlingly efficient use, strafing left and right through the dank confines of a military jail and mowing down Gerry guards all invariably named either Hans or Wilhelm. No scream from the latter – quite unusual for him.

2. Watchmen (2009) – ‘I’m not locked in here with you… you’re locked in here with ME!’ As his name suggests, Rorschach is a deft hand at interpretation. His portentous remark ceases to apply once a full scale riot kicks off and Night Owl and Silk Spectre II crash the party, leaving the door wide open for those prisoners that haven’t had their shin bones snapped in twain by their costumed guests. Silk Spectre? She should be called Kils Sceptre, because of the way she kills every criminal she sees, without exSceptretion. WOW.


1. Tropic Thunder (2008) – Quite simply, this is the best prison break-in rescue operation ever attempted. With that said, Jack Black’s heroin-withdrawal-fuelled catapult plan would have been better. ‘I’m a LEAAAAAAAAAAD FARMER, MOTHERFUC**!’

Stay tuned for a Top Five ‘Prison Shower Beatdowns’ in the near future!

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