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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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This has to rank up there with other great/naff over-the-top 80's sci-fi movies like Total Recall. Fortress has to be one of the best movies to play "spot-the-red-jersey" game. ( The guy with the red jersey was always the first to be killed in Star Trek episodes, the expendable extra. ) All your basic cliches are here, the tough nut, the tough nut's sidekick, the brainy one, the young kid and the wise old man and you just know every one has a red jersey waiting for them at some point! Of course you can't have an 80's movie without Kurtwood Smith playing the bad guy, it just wouldn't be right. Lambert was never a stunning actor at the best of times and this is no exception, slightly wooden acting and the obligatory utter nonsense over the top sex-scene that the Actor's Guild must have insisted be in every 80's movie!

If you're over 35 you'll have seen this film being advertised when you were a kid but you couldn't watch it. Well now you can for a budget price, get your mates round, couple of pizzas and a few beers and have damn good laugh!

I have to admit though that the first 5 minutes of the film are a little too prophetic considering the hoops we now have to jump through to gain access the US, post 9/11! Creepy!
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on 1 February 2014
In the future it's forbidden to give birth to more than one child for each woman.

You can escape to Mexico to avoid the authorities in USA, which is exactly what John and Karen Brennick were trying to do when Karen is pregnant with her second child.

When they think they have made it they are discovered and sent to the Fortress, where the prisoners are controlled by lasers, neutron-cannons, cameras, mind-scanners and electronic pain-causing devices in their stomachs.

With those odds, John plans to escape with his wife....

Here in England, this was released a the worst time possible, literally four weeks after 'No Escape' so by then people would have had their fill of inescapable prison movies.

Luckily though, this film never takes itself seriously, and it can be at times,a lot of campy nonsense.

Lambert is good as the lead, but a lot of the time, his threats are a little laughable. The story and the set up are smart, but the actual narrative lets it down a little.

The final third is what you would expect, with Lambert with his Raiden hair, spilling blue blood everywhere.

Fun while it lasts, and then once the sentence is over, you won't remember a single thing from it.
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AAAAAAAAARGH! I'm in a quandary, I feel I should really be giving this film three stars, but I can feel my hand dragging the mouse over to the four star `click-point'!

So why does this deserve the extra star?

This isn't just an action film with a bit of gore chucked in for good measure, it deals with issues such as male rape, zero tolerance, and abuse of power. I'm a big fan of Dystopian fiction, from Day of the Triffids, to 1984 - I just love it, and this is a great example. We live in an age where over here in the UK we have private prisons (okay - nowhere near as many as over in the US) and it seems that an increasing number of public service institutions are being taken over by corporations in order to turnover a profit. And this film shows a great (albeit exaggerated) future if such constant corporate domination into politics continues.

Plus the story itself is a very emotive one....

...John Brennick and his wife have commited a crime. His wife is pregnant for a second time when legally, only one child per couple is allowed. Their firstborn sadly died and they try to bypass the system. Brennick is caught and is wife manages to escape (or so he thinks) and sent to a prison ran by the MenTel Corporation.
The regime is strict, with dreams monitored; and those which aren't authorised thoughts disrupted by pain, and each inmate is fitted with a device in the intestines. The device is automatically activated when a convict either crosses a yellow line (it inflicts pain) or crosses a red line (it explodes). Intestination can also be activated by the Prison Director, Poe.

Constantly watched by the prison computer and by the voyeuristic director - Brennick becomes involved in a fight and is brought to the Director. He learns that his wife is also in the prison, several floors above. Whilst using Brennick's wife to taunt Brennick, Poe falls for her and has her moved into his quarters.

With himself and his beloved in Prison - and his child to become the property of MenTel, Brennick plans to escape with his wife from a prison deemed inescapable. With the help of his cellmates, can he do it?

This is well acted with Christopher Lambert giving his usual sort of performance. Many claim him to be wooden and unemotional, but I really like him as an actor. I find his performances very compulsive, he has a unique presence.

Watch this film and just accept the silly bits, celebrate them and enjoy them. But appreciate the message of the film and yourself the question - why is it that Lambert finds himself in standalone films which end up having sequels?!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 June 2012
When the release of this film was announced I read somewhere that the script once had Arnies name attached to it. I wonder if the studio allocated less cash after he pulled out and Lambert stepped in. In any case it turned out ok and by all accounts became a money making hit across the globe. Future America is an overpopulated, dystopian state and the Brennicks (Lambert and Loryn Locklin) fall foul of the "one pregnancy rule" for each woman. They get caught trying to escape to Canada and both end up in futuristic underground prison ruled by a cyborg governor! Cue, fights, motorised gun turrets, a mind warp chamber (which kinda resembles an exercise machine) faceless robot soldiers with machine gun and flame thrower attachments on their arms, oh and the dreaded intestinator, yes! the intestinator. The desperate escape attempt amidst, riot, explosions and gunfire provides great escapist entertainment that I enjoy on DVD when the wet British weather prevents me from going outside and scaring the pigeons.
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on 13 June 2009
We all know that Christopher Lambert is no DeNiro and his movies are.. well... dodgy in the main. I got this movie in the bargain bucket because I was running low on sci-fi I hadn't seen. I expected a dodgy B movie. What a surprise I got!! This film is actually really good!!!

Lambert is not that wooden in it! The concept and story is excellent. The movie is exciting and largely believable. As has been said by another reviewer - there are some silly moments but if you like sci-fi and you like action i challenge you not to enjoy this!!
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on 9 May 2012
This is a classic sci-fi movie from the early 90s with a very cool story directed by Stuart Gordon who is more known for doing classic horror movies such as Re-animator, the effects are cool and theres plenty of action, Lambert makes a cool lead with a good supporting cast, this is now a cool cult classic thats well worth checking out.
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on 22 April 2013
Chri-mbo is sent to a high tech prison just for having consensual sex with his wife. (its the near future, don't ask)
The prison warden Kurtwood smith after screwing up alex murphy's day enough decides, he'll screw up highlander's day as well
So Chrimbo leanrs the ins and outs of the futuristic prison. avoids prison rape, kills some dude, gets brainwashed, grows his hair long grabs a gun and starts kicking the crap out of everyone and escapes like the smooth pimp he is.......oh yeah and his wife is in prison as well and he rescues her I guess and they all live happily ever after.
I consider this an unsung low budget gem its not perfect but it's pretty good
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on 10 March 2015
I was really, really impressed with this! Brilliant movie to watch, I loved the story, it was easy to follow and wasn't rushed, the story developed gradually and at the pace it should have. The acting was great, everyone played their part well, I really loved Jeffrey's performance of the timid, eccentric D-Day (which is why I bought this in the first place). I'm glad that I was able to enjoy EVERYTHING about the movie, not just my favourite actor.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2014
I had a hard time believing the rave reviews. The story takes place in the near future. John Henry Brennick (Christopher Lambert) and his wife (Loryn Locklin) get nabbed going into Canada because she wore a flap jacket under her coat. She is pregnant with her second child which is illegal and abortions are also outlawed which made no sense.

They are placed in an inescapable futuristic prison with the typical sadistic warden (Kurtwood Smith) a prison hierarchy that requires him to fight, a mind sifter, and a huge metal object in the intestines that somehow doesn't block it. Seriously?

I found the characters and dialogue boring. The Sci-fi that made the film watchable is now outdated. The politics is silly. I suppose people who cherish the rugged individual against the evil government, "Red Dawn" is the greatest film ever, etc. type of crowd might enjoy this film, but that is not me.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. Brief sex. Quick male and female nudity.
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on 29 April 2015
Fortress is a futuristic, big brother gone mad type of movie. Standard stuff with a innocent (guilty in big bro go mad future) man sent down and battling his way through inmates, wardens and cyborg killing machines, (luckily he's the most decorated captain in the history of the black berets!!!) in order to be reunited with his wife. Typical acting from Lambert, and 90's bad guys Smith and Wells are welcome inclusions to the production. There are some interesting ideas in this film, one of which being a behavior control device called an intestinator, which causes pain if turned on by the Fortress warden, although I'm not sure, even in a crazy big bro future anyone would get away with intestinating pregnant women!! Impenetrable Fortress, exploding 'gut' bombs, cyborgs and big arse guns...... Whats not to like? I managed to pick it up for pennies. Sci-fi/Fantasy collections need this!!
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