Fortress

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A prison of the future. A high -tech Hell. Built to hold anything...except an innocent man.

1993

Genres:
Sci-Fi, Action

Starring:
Christopher Lambert, Kurtwood Smith, Loryn Locklin

Summary:
In the future, the United States government uses population controls to make it strictly illegal to give birth to more than one child. John Brennick (Lambert) and his pregnant wife Karen (Locklin) must cross the border into Mexico because even though their first child was stillborn, Karen is still in violation of the law by carrying a second. Unfortunately, they are caught at the emigration point and sentenced to 31 years in a new high-tech prison simply called the Fortress.

Separated immediately and for the duration, John and Karen each experience the technological wonders of the new prison that make it seemingly impossible to escape. Located deep underground, the Fortress uses laser triggers, constant surveilance, and pain-causing intestinal microchips to monitor and control all prisoners.

John immediately vows to escape, initially observing the technology of the prison so he can beat it. With the help of his cellmates, he forms a risky escape plan to rescue Karen from the attentions of the eccentric prison boss (Smith) and flee the confines of the Fortress.

Response:
The Fortress is a blindly fun and entertaining movie. It doesn't have the best special effects. It doesn't have a profound theme that will change your life. It doesn't have stellar acting, although Lambert's stoic-in-the-face-of-all-weirdness expression does work perfectly for this role.

What The Fortress does have is the Fortress, a remarkable prison with lots of traps and gadgets to make for an engrossing yet purely escapist film (pun intended). And that's the crux of it; this movie is all about one big escape. It's got a bit of intrigue, a lot of action, and some innovation, but that's the bottom line. The main attraction is definitely the setting itself, but that's nothing to scoff at. It makes Alcatraz look like a pair of fake plastic handcuffs.

Smith's character raises some interesting issues and so does the population control premise, but these are not explored deeply in the film, nor should they be. This is action sci-fi. Love it for what it is.

Point Blank:
Fun and forgettable.