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I remember the movie takes place for decades, where the guy keeps escaping, then recaptured (papillon like); grows old and eventually meets his daughter or something because of weird sci-fi time travel/distortion (i think the reason for escaping was to be with his wife, but it takes so long, she eventually dies)

There is one escape scene where a group of escapees has to slow-mo "run" through a hallway through some kind of freezing substance while holding their breath. They can't breathe or they die, and the substance keeps them running slow and freezing.

The movie has to be at least 25 years old.

It's not the Rock. There was definitely distinct sci-fi elements to it.

Does anyone know what movie this is?

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Where and when did you see this? Does the prisoner actually escape and then get tracked down, or do the escapes always fail like in The Prisoner? In the corridor are they actually trying to move slowly, or are they forced to by running through a liquid? Why is time travel required to meet his daughter?
    – DavidW
    May 2, 2022 at 13:21
  • This sounds like "The Rock." Except that there is no time travel in the movie.
    – NomadMaker
    May 2, 2022 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

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Spoiler (1998).

From Wikipedia:

Spoiler is a 1998 American action sci-fi film directed by Jeff Burr and starring Gary Daniels and Meg Foster. It takes place in New York in the far future.

In a futuristic, cyber-punk New York City, convicted felon Roger Mason (Gary Daniels) is serving a sentence and is locked away in a high security prison facility, where Cryonics are applied to some of the inmates, including Mason himself, to keep them in a state of suspended animation. Mason, despite all the security measures applied at his confinement facility, manages to escape repeatedly to see his daughter, which is the only reason why he's making attempt after attempt to break free. However, the authorities are able to catch him and bring him back every time to serve even a longer sentence as punishment for his attempts to escape. Since he's being cryonically frozen to serve his time for years at a time, he remains practically the same age while his daughter grows older normally. As more and more time keeps being added to his original sentence, his escape attempts become more of an obsession rather than a goal.

From a review:

At Spoiler’s core is a phenomenal performance from Gary Daniels. Almost completely eschewing the kind of arse-kicking action for which he’s best known, the martial arts star unleashes a dramatic tour de force as Roger Mason. A convicted felon, Mason is initially sentenced to a year’s cryogenic suspension, but the bulk of the film details his transformation into the eponymous ‘spoiler’: a wonderful bit of William Gibson-esque terminology used to describe a lag with an indeterminate stretch hanging over them due to their propensity for escaping. Thus Mason literally becomes trapped in the criminal justice system, and his obsessive desire to reunite with his daughter increases with the same ferocity as his punishment every time he breaks free, is re-apprehended, and is refrozen again for longer and longer periods.

Episodic in structure, the repetitive nature of Michael Kalesniko’s smart script imbues Spoiler with a cyclical quality that amplifies the tragic crux of its narrative. Beneath its ‘Demolition Man (1995) meets Fortress (1992) meets Groundhog Day (1993)’ premise, Spoiler is about the guilt that comes with being absent from your child’s life. Giving the note-perfect Daniels plenty of meat to sink his teeth into, Kalesniko positions the achingly stoic Mason as a man as much at war with the clock as he is the establishment. Because of the continuous cryogenic suspension, Mason never ages — but his daughter does, which leads to a climax that, while obvious, is nonetheless devastating.

I've not seen this film, but the above quotes indicate that its age, genre, and plot are all a match, and the second half of the trailer features some shots of men running down a corridor through some type of energy field, with one of the men apparently freezing and shattering after failing to make it to the end.

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    Judging by the trailer, it looks like the lead actor (Gary Daniels) delivered one of the most comically bad acting performances in this movie I've ever seen. Kind of makes me want to watch it, just to savour that performance in its full glory. May 2, 2022 at 20:21
  • God Almighty. I'd have thought this was released in 1988 instead of 1998. A year later The Matrix premiered.
    – Kyle Jones
    May 2, 2022 at 22:12
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    Spoiler has to be it. Haha looks so bad and cheesy. Thanks 👍
    – MrTbob418
    May 3, 2022 at 7:18

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