Day 4 features sci-fi Fortress from 1992
Tagline – “A Prison of the Future. A High-Tech Hell. Built to Hold Anything… Except an Innocent Man.“
Who’s our hero today?
The ape man in a loincloth, Christopher Lambert plays John Henry Brennick
Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
I’d always home in on the new science fiction additions at the local video store. This would of been an instant pick up and hold. Especially on a weekend night. You couldn’t leave them on the shelve as someone else would grab them straight away. You hold on to a few before you make your decision. That’s first rule of video club.
Quick plot run down.
The year is 2017. The US has extremely strict rules. Immigration between it’s citizens throughout the city is tightly controlled. Only one child is allowed per couple. A second child is dealt with extreme measures involving prison within the Fortress. A computer controlled prison where the inmates food, sleep and even dreams are regulated with an ingested pain device.
Does the hero have a day job?
I believe he was an ex army officer but now a dedicated loving family man.
What’s our heroes special skills?
Determination to free and be with his beloved wife fuels and pushes John to his maximum limits. Used along side his military skills and with a little help here and there he constantly battles the system.
Heroes weapon of choice?
He’s restricted to just his fists and wits. He’ll use anything handy around him but maybe he’ll get lucky and get his mitts on a big MO-FO canon blaster later on.
Heroes drink of choice?
No hero drink of choice this time round.
Does hero have a sidekick?
They take a little time to warm up together but squeezed in one cosy cell are four others. You got Nino Gomez (Clifton Collins Jr) who John arrives with. Then there’s Abraham (Lincoln Kilpatrick) an older black guy who’s hoping for parole. D-Day (Jeffrey Combs) is the geeky, nerdy loony. Leaving Stiggs (Tom Towles) as the annoying alpha who you don’t wanna be dropping the soap near.
Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
John’s wife Karen (Loryn Locklin) hits all three. She becomes a damsel in distress for a little while before she becomes an ass kicker. Taking one for the team to help John out the best she can, plus she’s pretty hot too.
Who’s the main baddie?
Prison Director Poe runs things with an iron fist from his operations room 247 with the help of his computer driven CCTV system. With each prisoner implanted with a pain/death device he has complete control over everyone. He is played by Kurtwood Smith who’s still constantly filling up his filmography. If we were to go with VHS action films I’d seen him in then Robocop (1987) Rambo III (1988) and Under Siege 2 (1995) would be the films. He’s also in this amazing little short science fiction time loop film I did a post on sometime back called 12:01 PM
Baddies special skills?
He can enter your dreams and have a right little perv on the naughty ones. From his control room he has the ability to unleash pain and torture on any prisoner he likes. With the implanted “Intestinators” he has complete control.
Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 7/10
He’s a bit of dweeb to be honest but with his torturous power at the touch of a computer button he’s a sadistic and extremely dangerous prison warden.
Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 9/10
John’s determination to get to his pregnant wife pushes his badness levels through the roof.
Surely it features a training montage scene?
There isn’t a training montage in this film but a collection of memories within the mind wipe chamber. A psychedelic CGI dream fest.
Does it feature an impossible mission?
Yeah the Fortress is inescapable. 33 stories deep in the ground surrounded with organic matter detecting laser canons.
Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
Well muscles you say?!?! You might get more than expected. See below.
Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
There are some on show with the female prison unit but this film might be more in favor with the ladies. Hilariously Christopher Lambert’s “ball sack” makes an appearance!! Plus on a shower scene the new arrivals have to be stripped down, deloused and blasted with a water cannon.
Yeah a pretty passionate one between husband and wife John and Karen within a forbidden “wet” dream. “Electrocute his genitals”
Any good totally random surprise scenes?
Strapped into one of those 3-axis aerotrim astronaut training devices our John is spun round for days on a concoction of drugs to warp and brainwash his mind. Resulting in a tripped out CGI induced memory loss and dream sequence.
Films body count? Low/Medium/High?
Lots get blown apart, popped or blasted.
Innocent baddie death rate?
Not really as the prison is run by one man and a computer system. Later an army of future soldiers arrive on the scene, I leave you to judge their fate!
Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
One big one and few smaller ones.
How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
Might of been a few that fell 33 stories down! Sure the cardboard box pile at the end would of cushioned their fall! hehe.
Any cool car chases?
Just a small chase but it’s by a big ass future truck tank thing!!
Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
One of the big faces you will recognize is Vernon Wells from loads of 80s and 90s movies. Here he plays Maddox the big psycho killing machine prisoner. Other iconic baddies he’d played are Wez in The Road Warrior (1981) and a homage to that Mad Max character in Weird Science (1985) called Lord General. Plus a soon to come, chain mail wearing baddie coming to a certain film blog soon! Of course you all know who that is.
Jeffrey Combs will be remember from the video rental era as Herbert West from Re-Animator (1985) and the rest of the series alongside other cult classics like From Beyond (1986)
Clifton Collins Jr was so Mexican they named him twice! He’s billed here as Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez. His Grandfather was a famous character actor called Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez and had been in many westerns. Clifton would later revert back to Collins Jr. His familiar face pops up all the time and played an awesome part within the brilliant recent Westworld series.
Fortress is directed by Stuart Gordon. Who also made the above mentioned Re-Animator and From Beyond as well as Space Truckers (1996). Christopher Lambert came back for a second dose of future prison pain in Fortress 2 (2000). I think I’d seen it but won’t be watching it again to find out.
It’s dial spins around before settling itself on medium.
IMDB score rating – 5.9/10
Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8/10
Wolfman over all film rating – 6.5/10
Big fan of science fiction films. The sets are cool and there’s some real good ideas tried out. It’s pretty great fun for a weekend night with a few beers and bag of popcorn. You got action, gore and computers guards. It was fun revisiting this. I was pleased that I couldn’t remember that much which added to my enjoyment.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want but please don’t feel you need to as I know it’s pretty relentless this month. However, most important, have fun with the movies.
Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.