‘Brick Mansions’ is the last movie Paul Walker was able to complete before his tragic death last year. (There will, of course, be another ‘Fast and Furious’ movie that will be completed with the help of Walker's brothers filling in for select scenes.) The story of ‘Brick Mansions’ is about a crime-infested neighborhood in Detroit that’s walled in. Walker is an undercover cop who’s trying to stop the crime lord in charge before he ends up destroying Detroit. If the breakout plot sounds a bit familiar (and not just because it's a remake of a French thriller 'District 13'), that's because it's been used in movies forever. Like these ...
'Escape From New York' (1981)
Back in the '70s, when John Carpenter wrote the screenplay for ‘Escape From New York’ with Nick Castle, the Big Apple was overrun with crime, so the idea that New York would eventually become a walled-off prison in the future was not too far-fetched. While New York has cleaned up its act since then, ‘Escape’ is a fun movie to revisit today, with Kurt Russell playing one of his favorite roles, Snake Pilssken -- a rough, grizzled character clearly influenced by Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name.
'The Great Escape' (1963)
Think trying to break out of Detroit and New York is tough? Try escaping the Nazis. Paul Walker looked a bit like Steve McQueen, who starred in one of the greatest action epics ever made, ‘The Great Escape.’ Here you’ll see McQueen leading his fellow POWs out of a Nazi camp, leading a legendary chase scene on a Triumph motorcycle years before he drove like hell in another classic, ‘Bullitt.’
An underrated sci-fi film that didn’t get much attention when it came out, ‘No Escape’ stars Ray Liotta in a futuristic story we’ve seen many times. It's about a guy imprisoned on an alien planet, but the execution is far better than you’d expect from the lackluster ad campaign and generic title. 'No Escape' eventually built an audience on cable TV, because it sure slipped out of theaters fast, and deserved much better than it got.