Biography, Crime, Drama, Police

186 Dollars to Freedom (2012)

Comments Off on 186 Dollars to Freedom (2012) 08 March 2015

186_dollars_to_freedom_dvd

Studio: Blairwood Entertainment

Theatrical Release: September 21, 2012

DVD Release: December 9, 2014

Director: Camilo Vila

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Based on a true story of Monty Fisher (who also wrote and co-produced) comes a tale of an young American man falsely accused of a crime in Peru and sentenced to jail.

Wayne Montgomery (John Robinson of Elephant) is a young surfer who has this amazingly hot girlfriend and teaches surfing lessons to a few students in Peru. Being the carefree, rich, naive Californian, it is hard to muster up any likable traits in Wayne. When he is called in to the police because his work permit has expired months ago, I can only think what a dumb shit he is.

186 Dollars to Freedom

As he is being taken to jail, Wayne tries to make a run for it until he is caught by the evil and corrupt Sargent Gutierrez (Michael DeLorenzo of A Few Good Men) who breaks Wayne’s toe so he won’t run no more. Thrown in prison with several convicts, most of them political prisoners, Wayne starts to live out his time amongst the criminals. Although he is given a chance to call his family back home to pay off the police, Wayne refuses (although it is never clear as to why). Even Consul Powers (Deborah Kara Unger of Crash) tries to get Wayne to co-operate which has no effect on the young man.

186 dollars

When a Hare Krishna and fellow friend Jorge is killed (played by the late Johnny Lewis, his final film) a revolt soon takes place which leads to Wayne’s final confrontation with Sargent Gutierrez.

While technically a well-made film, 186 Dollars to Freedom is another predictable movie about prison life. The characters are all cardboard cutouts who are predictably cliched in what they say or do. Once Jorge shows Wayne his hidden garden that he is so proud of, one knows that someone is going to destroy it eventually. When the character of Nicaragua (Alex Meraz of those awful Twilight films) is first introduced, one knows that he and Wayne will fight it out at some point with Wayne being the victor even though this Nicaragua guy looks like he could knock out Wayne with just one punch. There is also some really awful dialog, mostly given to Wayne which had me either giggling or groaning. Here’s an example: “My long hair is a symbol of my freedom.” If someone said that in front of me and was actually serious, a punch to the gut will need to be provided by yours truly. While John Robinson is terribly dull in this film, I can sympathize a little since he is given such dreck to recite.

One hundred and eight six dollars to freedom

Still, the remaining actors for the most part do their best with what was given to them. The set location is rather nasty and realistic, making me never want to step one foot in South America. The hand held camerawork got on my nerves at times but at least director Camilo Vila had enough brains to use frequent long shots to give the film a more cinematic look which is lacking in most “gritty” films nowadays.

Johnny Lewis

The DVD by Blairwood Entertainment looks and sound quite well. Being shot on Super 16, it was refreshing to see a lower budget film shot on…film! The 2.0 dolby digital soundtrack was also very clear and at times quite loud. There is also a good amount of special features such as a making of, deleted scenes (none are worth mentioning and were thankfully deleted) and an audio commentary track. Overall, a nice presentation by Blairwood.

186$ to freedom

186 Dollars to Freedom (I really hate that title) is not a terrible film per say as the intentions are meant well, chronicling this young man’s life in a Peru prison. But the similarities to Midnight Express and other prison films are just too obvious and with this piss-poor script, it’s hard to recommend.

Jesus laughs

Movie Rating: ★★☆☆☆

DVD Rating: ★★★½☆

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