DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

Stephen Burke
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, Martin McCann
Writing Credits:
Stephen Burke

Inspired by the true events of the infamous 1983 prison breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP, which was to become the biggest prison escape in Europe since World War II.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 6/25/2019

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Stephen Burke
81 Short Film
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Maze [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 27, 2019)

Based on true events, 2019’s Maze takes us to Ireland circa 1983. In that setting, a super-secure prison called “Maze” houses many members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Inmate Larry Marley (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) establishes a friendship with guard Gordon Close (Barry Ward). Eventually, this comes back to bite Gordon when Larry betrays him.

Larry organizes a massive breakout from Maze. This leads to a mix of concerns and conflicts.

With a compelling premise and a fairly tight 93-minute running time, one would expect a taut thriller from Maze. One would expect incorrectly, as the film instead provides a surprisingly slow and sluggish affair.

Not that it’s a total loss, as the film manages occasional bursts of drama. I appreciate that it focuses mainly on the two lead characters, and the movie explains situations well.

However, Maze really does drag, especially given its relatively brief running time. It lollygags along at a pace I’d expect from a movie that goes past 120 minutes, not one that fits all its material into barely an hour and a half.

With such a short length, Maze fails to explore its characters especially well. Again, the concentration on the two leads means we get a little depth, but not nearly as much as the story needs.

As such, we find rough outlines of the Larry and Gordon characters but not more than that. They remain vaguely defined roles without a lot to make them breathe.

If Maze compensated with vivid Great Escape-style action, the lack of depth wouldn’t bother me as much. However, the film plods along with nary a hint of drama, even when the breakout occurs.

Granted, I appreciate that the film goes with realism over Hollywood-style theatrics. If the escape played out as described, I can’t complain too much about the logy execution.

But it still doesn’t make for an especially interesting tale. On paper, Maze sounds like a dynamic drama, but in reality, it becomes a bit of a snoozer.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Maze appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfactory presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A couple of wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but those were the exception to the rule, as the majority of the shows were accurate and detailed.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the episodes looked consistently clean.

Maze gave us a palette that focused on amber and teal, with an emphasis on the blue-green elements. Within those parameters, the hues were fine.

Blacks seemed fairly deep and dark, though they could come across as crushed at times. Shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. Though nothing stellar, I felt fairly happy with the image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Maze, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion.

For instance, violent scenes became a little more involving. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for this sort of series.

One annoyance: Maze comes with “forced” subtitles, so you can’t watch the movie without text at the bottom of the screen. I get that some might find the Irish accents tough to discern, but why not simply offer subtitles as an option? The accents aren’t that thick, so it becomes a distraction to see the onscreen text as a constant companion.

A few extras appear, and we find an audio commentary from writer/director Stephen Burke. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the historical events connected to the film, sets and locations, editing, music, cast and performances, and related topics.

Burke starts awkwardly, as he appears to read a lot of the early information he provides, and this lends a stiff tone to the track. He seems to go more “free-form” before long, though, and that helps add a little spark to the proceedings. He goes silent a bit too often, but Burke still brings a reasonably informative view of the film.

We also get Burke’s 1997 short film 81. It runs 29 minutes, five seconds and presents a view of a 1981 hunger strike from the POV of a French TV crew.

Though 81 attempts to emulate a documentary, some iffy acting makes it less than convincing. Still, it gives us a clever take on the topic and that allows it to become reasonably interesting.

The disc opens with ads for Goldstone and Tanna. No trailer for Maze appears here.

Shouldn’t a movie about a massive prison escape manage a high level of drama? Yup, but unfortunately, Maze becomes a largely dull experience. The Blu-ray brings perfectly adequate picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. Maze lacks the intrigue it needs to succeed.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main