|Copyright 1993 Fortress Films
| Reviewed by Andrew Shanks
on 24 November 2002
- John Brennick - Christopher Lambert! The hero of our tale! He gets incarcerated for having a second child.
- Prison Director Poe - Kurtwood Smith! A warden with a weakness for champagne, pregnant married women, and inmates' lust-filled dreams. Gets blown apart by the aptly named "splatter gun."
- Karen Brennick - Loryn Locklin. A pregnant computer technician who doubles as our hero's wife and the object of Poe's affections.
- Nino Gomez - Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez. Sidekick #1 for Brennick. Gets pancaked by a Men-Tel truck.
- Abraham - Lincoln Kilpatrick. Director Poe's most reliable trustee trying for a parole. Also serves as Sidekick #2 for Brennick. Strangled by Poe.
- D-Day - Jeffrey Combs! The mechanic/explosives expert of the group who says, "Man!" about every 3rd word. Also serves on the John Brennick sidekick council. Shot in the back by a strike clone.
- Stiggs - Tom Towels. Maddox's partner in crime who changes sides after realizing he is in the minority to all the Brennick sidekicks. Shot by a strike clone.
- Maddox - Vernon Wells. The early antagonist with a death wish, so proven by his tattoo. Victim of the "splatter gun."
|According to the video cover, the year is 2017. John Brennick and his wife Karen are trying to escape from the iron fist of America, because they have the nerve to conceive a second child when the government only allows one per family. Their first died in childbirth. (Why only one child allowed? This is hinted at, but never revealed in the movie.)
They try to use a flak jacket to sneak past the border, but this ploy fails. After a quick run for the border, followed by dogs turning Brennick's arms into hamburger, it's off to the desert we go.
We quickly learn that the FORTRESS is an underground facility about thirty-three levels deep (one of the prisoners-to-be did a feature on the prison, yet was never aware of this fact), run by the Men-Tel Corporation. We also learn that all prisoners are kept in line with a marvelous little tool called an "Intestinator" which is fed to each inmate upon arrival. Crossing a yellow line results in pain, whereas crossing a red line means death. No U-turns allowed in the FORTRESS.
John Brennick gains an entourage of sidekicks quicker than you can say MC Hammer. He figures out that the Men-Tel Corporation takes the children from the female inmates (cannot imagine whose brainchild it was to house women and men in the same prison) and "enhances" them into advanced human beings. Of course, this offers only two choices to the children: becoming oversexed, impotent prison directors or joining the elite FORTRESS Strike Clone Squad, which look like a bunch of Borg-wannabes.
Brennick and his entourage figure out how to remove the Intestinators and devise a plan of escape. In the process of fleeing the FORTRESS and saving Brennick's now-almost-bursting-pregnant-wife, each sidekick gets picked off one by one. I guess they never realized that the first sidekick has the best chance of survival while the next sidekick's chances decrease exponentially. Oh well, Die and learn.
By the end, John Brennick and his wife have given birth to their child and are free from the FORTRESS.
This movie goes in some pretty weird directions with a prison director that chooses to adopt a female prisoner one minute and then tries to kill her the next. John Brennick does not want to be responsible for another man's life, yet he is willing to die for his unborn child. The government apparently wants to discourage people from having more than one child, but the Men-Tel Corporation wants to use these children to make super soldiers. Make up your minds, folks!
Reality takes a five-mile walk off a two hundred foot pier in FORTRESS. For example: Abraham claims to have not had a dream in forty years. If anyone goes without REM sleep for more than a day or two they would be hallucinating during the daytime hours and most likely drooling more than the "ghosts." Speaking of which, how much work can a mind wiped prisoner do? Since the FORTRESS always needs new levels, that does not make much sense. Labor meetings would be something like this: "Okay, five more levels by the end of the year! We'll do all the work while the mind wipes stand over there with blowtorches and other complex equipment."
I also thought the point of prison was to try and rehabilitate prisoners, but the instinct to keep a species alive sounds impossible to remove (or at least I would hope so). Looks like the breeders will not be getting paroled.
If you can turn off the reality button, or break it in half, FORTRESS can be pretty entertaining for a Saturday night rental. The NLAG (Near Limitless Ammo Gun) is worth waiting for.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Sexism is not illegal in the year 2017, but having more than one child is.
- Murderers, breeders, bombers, and check bouncers wear orange uniforms, doctors wear white ones, and pregnant prisoners wear red ones. There's a test later.
- Mind wipe victims are trusted to handle blowtorches but cannot shave themselves.
- Kicking a man in the crotch twice will make him spit blood.
- Genetically enhanced prison directors like classical music, have voyeuristic tendencies, dig pregnant women, but cannot hold their liquor.
- Advanced computer systems have egos, succumb to threats, but don't negotiate during hostage situations.
- NEVER go looking for a blanket when you are the last surviving sidekick!
- The government encourages bank fraud. (Writing bad checks gets you sixty days on the FORTRESS but getting your wife pregnant for the second time gets you thirty-one years).
- Strike clones have laundry detergent for blood.
- 1 min - Ah, the sure sign of a bad movie - bar code credits.
- 13 mins - Guess he wasn't paying attention to the whole yellow/red line thing...
- 38 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST EYEBALLS!
- 43 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS PSYCHEDELIC BREAST SHOT!
- 72 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SIDEKICK!
- 82 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SIDEKICK!
- 87 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SIDEKICK!
- 88 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST AN ABANDONED BARN!
- Computer: "Crime does not pay."
- Prisoner: "I have claustrophobia! It's a real illness! I have a note from my doctor!"
- Poe: "This is an unauthorized thought process."
- Poe: "Why does this music give me pleasure?"
Karen: "I don't know, I skipped music appreciation."
- Nino: "This is Brennick's bed now."
Stiggs: "Oh yeah? Since when?"
D-Day: "Since your friend got blasted by the splatter gun, d**khead!"
- Karen: "All you've got to do is take it to him."
Abraham: "All? ALL? F**k the dumb s**t. That is a pretty big all.'"
- D-Day: "This bitch is HIGHLY sensitive, man. We're talking T.N.T on P.M.S."
- Poe: "Do you know what they will do to you? You will be lucky if you end up a SPEAK & SPELL!"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Computer: "Prisoners, your attention please. You are about to enter the Fortress: the privately owned, maximum security prison operated by the Men-Tel Corporation.
||Stiggs: "Maddox is hard to miss. He's got a '187' tattooed on his forehead. Do you know what 187 means, fish?" |
Brennick: "Bet it's not your IQ."
||Poe: "I'm looking for a companion." |
Karen: "I'm not real friendly to anyone who tortures my husband."
||D-Day: "Machines love me, man. I can take it apart, put it back, make it tick - yeah! It's what I did in the world, man." |
D-Day: "No, explosives."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|D-Day is loading a virus he created into the Fortress' mainframe, but a group of strike clones arrive. How did he program the virus, while in prison, for a computer with an unknown operating system? |
Do not look to me for answers; I have no idea.
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