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A sci-fi prison escape movie with Christopher Lambert as an ex-army expert imprisoned for thirty years when his wife becomes illegally pregnant for the second time. Once inside he seeks to escape, but an exploding device has been implanted in his stomach and the Governor is watching his dreams on video.
The story of Fortress takes place in drastically overpopulated America of the year 2017, where each woman is allowed only one pregnancy. John Brennick (Christopher Lambert) and his wife Karen (Loryn Locklin) flee to Mexico when she becomes pregnant after the death of their first child. They are captured by border police and sent to the Fortress, a subterranean high-security prison owned by the Men-Tel corporation and operated by "Zed-10", an omnipotent computer system, and a sadistic, genetically "enhanced" warden (Kurtwood Smith) who has nefarious plans involving Brennick's wife and unborn child. Along with his cellmates (including Jeffrey Combs, a favourite of director Stuart Gordon), Brennick plots a breakout and Fortress shifts into auto-pilot action mode.
After making his reputation with such audacious horror films as From Beyond and Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon graduated to a bigger budget with Fortress but his penchant for exploitation remains deliriously intact. While borrowing elements from a variety of better sci-fi movies, Fortress indulges every prison-flick cliché, but does it with such enjoyable B-movie vigour that it qualifies as a bona-fide guilty pleasure (indeed, it deserves to be ranked with James Cameron's original Terminator in terms of its budgetary ingenuity). Featuring such giddy (and gory) devices as "intestinators" (deadly obedience devices implanted in prisoners' bodies) and a torturous "Mind Wipe Chamber", this is really just a drive-in action movie with lofty ambitions and the schlocky script hasn't a prayer of rising above the level of juvenile popcorn fodder. But there's no denying the energy and enthusiasm that Gordon brings to the film, which understandably became a global box-office hit and spawned a 1999 sequel starring Lambert and Pam Grier. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
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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.