Film and action summary
Rudy Duncan is a convicted car thief with only two days to go before his release. Rudy wants to put his life back on track and have his family back for Christmas. However, when his cellmate is suddenly killed in a prison fight, Rudy decides to pretend to be his girlfriend to meet the cellmate’s invisible girlfriend and write a letter. However, Rudy and Ashley are soon kidnapped by Gabriel, Ashley’s brother, who wants to help Nick rob the casino where Nick used to work. Rudy must now find his way through a complicated path to freedom, full of secret plans and double crossings.
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Criminals Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and Nick Cassidy (James Frein) are cellmates in prison. Both men are two days away from their release. Nick exchanged e-mails with a woman named Ashley Mercer (Charlize Theron). Ashley’s looking forward to Nick’s release. But Nick was killed in a prison fight just before his release. Rudy decides to accept Nick’s identity and goes to Ashley, who Nick has never seen.
Once Rudy and Ashley met, they also met Ashley’s brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise). Gabriel is the leader of a criminal gang that kidnaps Rudy and Ashley from the hut where they retired for their romantic getaway. Gabriel tells Nick that the gang needs him to help them rob the casino where he used to work. Rudy tells Ashley he’s not Nick, but Ashley thinks he is. She reveals she wrote to him because she knew Gabriel was trying to get Rudy’s help with the robbery.
Rudy uses the information he can get from Nick’s prison history to develop a plan for the robbery. He informs Gabriel that the largest amount of money is hidden in a safe in the office of casino manager Jack Bangs (Dennis Farina). One night Rudy leaves his hotel room hoping to escape. He’s with Gabriel and Ashley. He discovers that they are not brother and sister, but lovers. Rudy is almost discovered and has to go back to his hotel room.
Shortly after, the gang robs a casino, each member dressed as Santa Claus. Rudy is forced to take part in a robbery against his will. He’s not saying he knows Ashley and Gabriel are related. Several guards and gang members were shot during the robbery. Ashley stops by the casino and informs Rudy she’s involved in a robbery. Gabrielle and Rudy went to the manager’s office. Gabriel introduces Rudy to the casino manager under the name Nick, but the casino manager says that Rudy is not Nick.
Rudy confesses his deception to Gabriel, who is not happy that he was duped. Gabriel doesn’t kill Rudy right away, but demands that the convict tell him where the Pow Wow is safe. The manager opens the safe and picks up the gun from the inside. He kills one of the robbers, along with the rest of the gang. Casino manager dies in a shooting. Rudy kills one of the robbers in a gunfight, but he’s captured by Gabriel and Ashley. They tie him up and put him in an 18-wheeler.
Ashley and Gabriel plan to drive Rudy to the edge of a cliff in a burning car with a small amount of money to fool police investigators. After accidentally revealing too much information during an argument with Rudy, Ashley shoots the now suspect Gabriel and kills him. Shortly after Nick mysteriously shows up after he faked his death in prison. Ashley reveals that her real name is Millie Bobeck and that she and Nick were planning to rob the casino with the help of Rudy, Gabriel and the Gabriel gang. A thousand times he admits he knew who Rudy was all along. Nick reveals that all his prison stories were also part of a montage.
Millie and Nick tie Rudy up in the car they plan to drive off the cliff. Rudy uses the knife he acquired earlier in the film to cut his bundles. He heats the wires in the car and turns them around and crushes Nick’s legs. Millie shot Rudy several times in the car. Rudy ran into her with the fire truck and jumped out of the car just before she and Millie went over the cliff. Nick, who is still alive, tries to convince Rudy to share the money with him, but Rudy locks Nick in the back of the semi and sends him over a cliff.
Rudy picks up the stolen money and goes back to his family. On his way home, he drops bundles of money in several mailboxes. When he comes home, he eats Christmas dinner with his family and laughs with joy.
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