I really enjoyed this movie. I remember seeing it on TV many years ago, but had forgotten some of it due to the fact I only ever saw it once. The story concerns a brutal convict called Oscar ‘Manny’ Manheim (played by the brilliant Jon Voight), who has been welded shut in his cell for 3 straight years, mainly down to the fact he has made two escape attempts from the maximum security Stonehaven Prison in Alaska. Manny is pushed by the warden to make another attempt at escape which he does, taking dim witted prize fighter Buck McGeehy (played by Eric Roberts). Together they creep through the sewers, down a stream and hop aboard a train to make good their escape. But when the train driver dies of a heart attack, Manny & Buck find themselves hurtling down the track fighting for their lives.
The film moves along at such a breakneck pace. Just watching the actors walk along the side of this high speed train makes my palms sweat. Everyone is on top form, even Rebecca DeMornay who plays an engineer that has been stranded on the train. Eric Roberts adds humour to his role, practically jumping around the screen full of energy. Jon Voight adds menace, but also heart in his role as Manny. I have always liked him as an actor and he doesn’t fail to disappoint. If you have never seen this movie then you owe to yourself to get a copy, as it really is something special and a constant reminder of why practical effects trump CGI every time.
Arrow Films have put together a magnificent transfer. The film itself is bleak and saturated of colour, but that was a concious decision by the director. Arrow have cleaned this film up to such a high standard that you can practically feel the snow flying off the train. The extras are pretty special too. There is an interview with director Andrei Konchalovsky, Jon Voight shares his thoughts on the role he played, as does Eric Roberts. There is a trailer with commentary by Rod Lurie and a wonderful booklet with writing on the movie by Michael Brooke and an interview with production designer Stephen Marsh conducted by the always brilliant Callum Waddell. Rounding the extras off are the original Life Magazine article that inspired the film and various production images.