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    December 3, 2010


    THE NEXT THREE DAYS (English/PG13)
    Genre: Thriller/Drama/Crime
    Release Date: 25 November 2010
    Distributor: LionsGate (under Golden Screen Cinemas)
    Running Time: 122 minutes
    Directors: Paul Haggis
    Producers: Michael Nozik, Olivier Delbosc, Paul Haggis, Marc Missonnier
    Writers: Paul Haggis, Fred Cavaye
    Casts: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, Jason Beghe
    Plot: Life seems perfect for John Brennan (Russell Crowe) until his wife, Laura (Elizabeth Banks), is arrested for a gruesome murder that she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence. With the rejection of her final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison. Refusing to be deterred by impossible odds or his own inexperience, John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves.


    As a starter, did you notice that this movie was actually a remake from a French movie back in 2007, entitled Pour Elle or Anything for Her (translation)? No? Now you know. While I have never watched the original French movie before which stars Diane Kruger, then I would happily treating this as something new for me. It was another but unlike any other prison-escaping drama and it seems no brainer when you draw any lines by crossing this with similarly themed-TV series Prison Break because there aren't the same. Instead, The Next Three Days is something different and best if you could read on to know why.

    (PLOT SPOILERS BEGIN) Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is accused of murdering her boss after an altercation at work. She was accused of the murder in which she initially denied been involved. Her college professor husband John Brennan (Russell Crowe) becomes obsessed with the idea of breaking her out of jail, and their son Luke ceases to acknowledge her during their prison visits. For the last three years, John was failed to notion an appeal and while the supreme court seems to be his last option, he took the matters now into his own fate.

    John consults Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), a hardened criminal who has successfully escaped from prison seven times, after reading Damon's book on the subject. Damon advises John to study the prison, saying "any prison has a key". Damon also warns him that the initial escape from the prison will be easy, compared to avoiding capture after the escape. After a few jumpstarts that leaves him some painful experiences, John vowed to stay on the path. He learnt everything he need to know by himself and carefully planned his work of escape on the wall. However, his plans were come into much dire need after he found out that he only had three days to pull out one escape before his wife will be transferred to another prison. (PLOT SPOILERS END)

    The buildup for the movie was painfully slow. The first 90 minutes was pretty much in commitmment to John's efforts of learning things by himself. He learnt to use a gun and reload it. He learnt the dark underground nature of dealing with fake IDs and drug dealing. He learnt to duplicate some keys although that almost doesn't ended well. Paul Haggis has been pretty much playing the game tempo but unlike his Oscar win few years back in Crash, this is a slow burn and uneven pace that can hurt the movie. Indeed it has but there is a reasoning dilemma here. If it was to leave it as slow as this, audience may ended up fatigue and burnout even before the escape plan is executed. If we cut shorts the first half, it would be hard to dwell into the logical love John has for his wife. He never quits and he dares it all in the name of love.

    While the first half is a psychological play that requires John to study things on his own amauteurly, he needs to do it in the next three days - a daring yet conclusive act to commit the escape plan. Here comes the implausible acts because in the end, John looks like a professional like Damon is. It seems no-brainer that he never enlisted any other people into his plan. Even the most daring prison-escape job requires you to enlist the insiders, the outsiders and what's not. Everything sorts off a piece of cake for John hmiself. Now, that is ridiculous! Paul Haggis is known in Hollywood as a man of idea, but this only cement his fact that he may not be very good in handling movie like this.

    However, don't get me wrong, The Next Three Days is not a bad movie. But to make this movie plausible seems impossible after all. The long wait for the final 30 minutes act has been pretty painful. But once the last 30 minutes arrived, things swifted into the full gear suddenly. You got back all the action and thriller you want from the trailer, although not all. Haggis and Crowe anchor to bring this movie along into simple works of pulses and generating different intensity of plot tension at most of the time. Think it back, even the most ridiculous story of prison escape may ended up as a intelligent plot to endure with, only in camouflage.

    In the end, The Next Three Days is not reliving itself from the promising trailer. It ended up a skimpy notches away from been success and a few notches away from been a failure. So if you ask me, this movie isn't that bad at all. You can complaint about the no-brainers and boredom, but you can't ignored the realism that in the end, the buildup has its own motives and the escapism is in fact part of the luck charm. Still, The Next Three Days is a popcorn action movie that you don't have to believe in.

    Story - 3.0 stars
    Casts - 4.0 stars
    Cinematography - 3.5 stars
    Effects - 3.0 stars
    OVERALL - 3.0 stars

    THE NEXT THREE DAYS has been trying to escape the cinemas nationwide since last week
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