Fortress (1993) — Christopher Lambert breaks out of FutureJail

“It’s like TNT on PMS.”

Justin’s rating: I was once Grove City College Inmate #940015

Justin’s review: Not too many people know this, but when Christopher Lambert was just a baby, he suffered a severe trauma. His babysitter placed him in front of a TV playing a Jerry Lewis marathon and left him there for hours. After the screaming ended, young Lambert vowed that he would never emote for the rest of his life. No facial muscles were developed, no emotion leaked into his tone from then on.

This story courtesy of the Alternate History Channel, where the Past Is Made Up As We Go Along.

There is some sort of perverse enjoyment in watching one of the members of the Frozen Actors Guild (other charter members include Steven Segal and Jean-Claude Grand Am). For starters, you have plenty of time to repeat everything the actor says in a fun, lower tone of voice:

CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT: There can… be only… one.
YOU: Mooga moooga… one.

Anyway, Fortress is essentially a prison movie set in a prison. With Christopher Lambert. Naturally, the typical Movie Jail Rules apply, even in one set in the future:

1. The warden is a big meanie and particularly hates our hero.

2. Our hero has to prove he’s tough stuff by beating up some sort of prison bully (carving a hole in said bully is a bonus) and earning the respect of the rest of the prison population.

3. There are more torture devices than the Spanish Inquisition.

4. There’s been no way to break out… before now. All it takes is for our hero, three minutes into his prison term, to muse that “there’s got to be a way out of here.”

5. Because our hero was framed and imprisoned unfairly, it’s perfectly okay for him to kill all willy-nilly in his escape.

Fortress was always one of my guilty scifi pleasures of the ’90s. Sure, there are better prison escape flicks, but there’s something about the scifi overlay that makes this enjoyable. And who wouldn’t want to see Highlander do hard time?

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