ByJason Carpenter, writer at

The first movie I'm reviewing is coming out of our Wal-Mart 8 Movie Action Pack. It's the 1992 sci-fi thriller "Fortress" starring Christopher Lambert and . . .well that's when it gets hard.

See, when I watch movies like this, or movies in general, I like to go in blind. I'm the guy who rents movies without reading the back because when you do it gives too much away. Imagine if you saw Terminator 2 knowing nothing about it: no ads, no trailers, the only thing you know is from what you saw in Terminator. You would spend the first half hour thinking the T-800 is trying to kill John Connor. The movie is actually set up to make you think he's the bad guy until John Connor runs into the T-800 in the hallway of the mall.

Since apparently no one allows embedding anymore, here's a Lego version of the scene.

Anyways, the point is, going in blind is the best way to see a movie like this because well, because it is. A guy gets thrown into a prison. That's all I'm going to tell you.

This movie is grim. Like Motherless grim. I don't know if it was because I had the flu while watching it, but I felt totally hopeless. Christopher Lambert is an OK actor, but there are enough crazy characters surrounding him to distract you from his odd accent and robotic delivery. This movie has everything to make a viewer uncomfortable: male nudity, male rape, mind rape, female rape, mouth rape (by a robot), unavoidable pain, horrifying psychological torture, the list goes on and on. This movie is dark.

But it's good.

It's not Running Man good, but it's good. If you go in blind you won't know what's coming next. Not much in an M. Night Shyamalan way but in a Hunger Games way. "Oh they set the whole forest on fire, wow I didn't expect that but it makes sense" kinda way. I'm a Stuart Gordon fan, and the opening shot alone of a bleak dystopian future really sets the tone for the movie. It shows some bums in an alleyway, then the camera slowly zooms up to show a futuristic soldier overlooking the street, and then the camera pans up a bit more to show we are at a US border crossing; and the good guys are trying to leave the country. A nice progression of subtle steps, and that's pretty much all the backstory we get and really all that we need. World building doesn't need exposition when it's done this well. So I recommend this movie for anyone who likes bleak sci-fi with a little bit of hammy action thrown in. It's not one that you need to go out of your way to track down, but if you see it on TV or it's cheap, pick it up.

Imagine drinking cold medicine all day and watching this at three in the morning. God I hate having the flu.


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