This movie may be a bit difficult to get into -- the first part of the movie seems a dreary prison story, and the characters are almost stereotypical, seemingly. It is due to the acting of Eric Roberts and Jon Voigt that one can get through this part. Then, when they manage to hop a train, things get rolling, literally. The 2nd, and main, act of the movie involves the drama inside and outside the train, and this is skillfully done, so that we stay intrigued in these characters. The final act, in my mind, is the final ride of the train, which raises existential questions about freedom and self worth. Make sure to keep the volume up loud, as the music here becomes an actor in its own right -- the movie ends beautifully with the music rising up to its full height.
I first watched this on TV, and even then it was effective. Frustratingly it has never been remastered properly in the U.S. One of the reasons I bought a region-free blu ray player is to watch this and other movies from Arrow -- they have produced a beautifully remastered blu ray: the video makes the movie spring to life (even in the previously murky looking prison scenes) and the audio is outstoundingly clear and powerful. As usual with Arrow, there are also interesting and plentiful extras.
You must see this! Then you will understand why this film has so many quotable lines, even though they sound illiterate in plain text, such as when Eric Roberts' character states, "I thought you was my friend" and "You was a hero," spoken in a mournful voice. A young Rebecca Demornay also does an excellent job as a terrified yet sensible railroad employee. Thank you, Arrow!