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JIM BROWN'S PAPILLON CLONE 'I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND'

Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND Year: 1973 Rating: ***

Straying from his usual racially-charged blaxploitation cinema, Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND is not only pure exploitation, attempting to bank on the popularity of the novel turned adapted motion picture PAPILLON about a French prisoner who escapes this movie's titular island, but it's practically an outright remake...

Jim Brown has the strong escape-minded Steve McQueen part while the vulnerable Dustin Hoffman sidekick role's for Christopher George, a passive progressive that Brown has to carry (while roughnecks Robert Phillips and James Luisi both fill Woodrow Palfrey's shoes), and, starting from a beach-set bamboo-scattered makeshift prison, brutal guard Richard Rust reigns — and there's even a helpful homosexual convict along with a neighboring leper colony...

Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND

The budget is excruciatingly low, almost a no-budget indie, resembling more of PAPILLON author Henri Charrière's 1971 heist-flick THE BUTTERFLY AFFAIR, each nearly impossible to see the actors or their actions at night... 

Although much of this initial escape basks under bright sunshine atop a flimsy coconut raft: which ends the McQueen story and is the middle here, alongside a stock-footage-manipulated lethal shark attack...

Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND

Thereafter, much of the rather sluggish adventure takes place in what's intended as the jungles of Venezuela (actually shot in  Acapulco, funded by legendary producer Roger Corman) where, like McQueen, Brown's given his very own native girl for sex inside a cozy hut... even better than the criminal life in homeland France, which — during the 11th hour at a colorful carnival — only Christopher George still yearns for... 

But not without Brown's assistance, doing his usual action-blasting thing and even a nostalgic football tackle in what seems more fun to have filmed than actually watch — after all, who wouldn't rather work in the tropics than the slums?

Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND with Christopher George
Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Jim Brown in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in COLORS (center)
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
Richard Rust in I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND
The Slam actors Roland "Bob" Harris with Jim Brown in I Escaped from Devil's Island

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