Mick (Robert Bronzi) travels to America, visiting a recycling factory to seek justice for his brother’s family after he sadly died while working on-site. The company’s owner (Nicholas Turturro) has no interest in paying the outstanding debt regardless of the contract agreement. Mick finds himself having to raise his fists when company staff attack him.
Sadly, Mick’s attempts at justice result in him being framed and wrongfully accused. Mick is sent to one of the most dangerous prisons- Pleasant Hill Penitentiary, the death block. However, because Mick has deadly skills, he is approached by a pair of detectives seeking his help about a secret drug operation in the prison. At first, Mick is hesitant but has a change of heart when he learns he could be rewarded with freedom.
For those not aware, actor Robert Bronzi is well known for his likeness to the past actor Charles Bronson (best known for the Death Wish franchise). Thanks to Robert Bronzi’s general look and likeness combined with a very familiar plotline, audiences will feel like they are watching a much older film. It’s a fun concept for movie making, but the question is, is it entertaining? My answer is generally yes… and no.
Escape from Death Block 13 is certainly a brainless film. As a plot, while familiar, it is fairly weak and simple. Characters in this film are questionable, including the lead played by Robert Bronzi. Robert Bronzi isn’t overly expressive with his facials, and at times his character feels highly emotionless. Fellow prison inmates are cringe-worthy as they are either old, grey-haired blokes or buffed up muscle guys who seem dim-witted. I did, however, enjoy the film’s main villain, played by Debbie Scaletta, the warden of the Death Block. Of course, this warden is attempting to keep secrets relating to the drug exchanges. But even if these characters don’t work well on-screen, it’s still going to be highly entertaining for many movie lovers no matter what.
The visual effects are hit and miss. Moments of fake backdrops are evident, but the film shines well with its blood and gunfire effects, mostly occurring in the third and final act. The third act is when the film becomes most entertaining as it’s filled with over the top action and random, brainless moments. Before this, the film’s level of action is focused more on fistfights.
Overall, while I love the idea of actor Robert Bronzi appearing in what feels like a classic movie, many aspects here can’t be ignored. Sadly, as the film carries a familiar concept and attempts to recreate a ‘70s vibe, it can be challenging to view with dull performances and a slow pace. Visually, sure, some basic and fun effects are on display here, including the action-packed finale, which is truly over the top and will deliver a level of entertainment no matter how cheesy it is. In the end, it’s a film I can see many movie lovers will be excited to watch and perhaps enjoy purely because of its fun concept and idea, but sadly, not much else here other than that.