The Escapist would very much like to be that entertaining type of caper flick, like The Dirty Dozen or The Great Escape, where a group of down-and-out-yet-noble toughs band together using their unique traits to free themselves from an otherwise inescapable facility.
But it's not.
With the exception of Frank Perry (played by a surly Brian Cox), this team of convicts is mostly useless: Brodie has rudimentary knowledge of what's under the prison, but little else; Lenny punches stuff (Seriously. He punches his way through a wall.); Viv Batista (a severely underused Seu Jorge) makes drugs, which is all well and good if you are having a party, but completely useless when you are tunneling out of the pokey; and Perry's fresh-meat cellmate Lacey just stands there and looks terrified. Charles Bronson, where are you?
Perry seems indifferent to his home in the clink—despite the constant gangland warfare and rape—until he hears the news that his estranged daughter is in hot water. So instead of waiting for parole, Perry ignites a complicated prison break that includes copious amounts of dangerous tunneling, trips through the sewer system, and even a perilous trek down a subway tunnel. This whole messy adventure could have been avoided had he just tunneled out behind a poster of Rita Hayworth.