Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Director: Stuart Gordon
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Kurtwood Smith, Jeffrey Combs
A futuristic prison movie. Protagonist and wife are nabbed at a future US emigration point with an illegal baby during population control. The resulting prison experience is the subject of the movie.
So, Fortress – a futuristic prison move set in a dystopian future that is, yet again, overly concerned about the human life just spilling out of womenfolk’s vaginas. While a lot of Dystopian stories are focused on infertility, this one goes the Soylent Green route and deals (tangentially at least) with an overpopulated future. The main characters here (who actually have names – they’re not just “Protaganist and Wife”) are John Brennick (Christopher Lambert) and his wife Karen (Loryn Locklin). This future limits the number of children any married couple can have to just one. John and Karen had a child who died shortly after they were born. Now they have gone renegade and gotten pregnant again – breaking the law by daring to have another child. First off, the law is the law – if you do not agree with it then there are proper ways to go about changing that law – writing to congressmen, helping in protests and petitions. You don’t just assume that since you don’t like the law it shouldn’t have to apply to you. They both get arrested for this and are sentenced to lengthy prison terms at FORTRESS the privately owned maximum security prison.
Getting on with the plot, as contrived as it is, Prison Director Poe has decided to make Karen’s pregnant wife his own. It gives him leverage over John although why Poe feels he so badly needs this leverage is beyond me. He OWNS the prison, he can do whatever he wants as it is. Hell, he can have his guards kill John for no reason at all and there would be no consequences. Why does he have to get John’s wife as a way to bend John to his will. He has no plans for John, he just does this because he can. Karen lives with him, begrudgingly and knowing full well that her child will be sold to science. Yes, all of this serves as motivation for John’s character to break through incredible odds and stage a daring prison escape. He was fully prepared to serve his sentence without much problem until Poe started this. But WHY does Poe do this in the first place? Why, out of all the thousands of prisoners under his care, does he single this one guy out for his crazy whims? It’s not really entertaining because I have to real compassion for these characters. Its not really suspenseful at all because the movie is so cliched you already know how its going to end – the same as every other prison movie. Yeah, I would say spoilers but the movie does a pretty good job of not caring if you know what’s going to happen or not. Guess what, John and his wife kill the prison director and escape to freedom. Not much of a shocker there.
It’s a dystopian film, not a doubt about that, and if I wasn’t doing this whole Dystopia Month I would not have bothered with this movie otherwise. That’s what I really have to say about this movie in general as well, why bother? Unless you’re some completionist (like I tend to be) and need to see every single Christopher Lambert performance or every single Stuart Gordon film or something along those lines, then there really is no reason to bother with this utterly forgettable fart of a movie.