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Australia / USA


Film: Sep 1993 (USA)
DVD: Jumn 1999; Oct 2001
VHS: Sep 1995


Stuart Gordon


Troy Neighbors (story, screenplay); Steven Feinberg (story, screenplay); David Venable (screenplay); Terry Curtis Fox (screenplay)


Christopher Lambert ( John Henry Brennick); Kurtwood Smith (Prison Director Poe); Loryn Locklin (Karen B. Brennick); Clifton Collins Jr. (Nino Gomez - as Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez); Lincoln Kilpatrick (Abraham); Jeffrey Combs (D-Day, the Computer Geek); Tom Towles (Stiggs, Maddox's Buddy); Vernon Wells (Maddox); Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (Zed-10 - voice); Alan Zitner (Claustrophobic Prisoner); Denni Gordon (Karen's Cellmate); Eric Briant Wells (Border Guard); Dragicia Debert (Bio Scanner Guard); Heidi Stein (Pregnant Woman); Harry Nurmi (Guard #1)


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. The prison is a futuristic one run by a private corporation bent on mind control in various ways. (Mark Allyn)

In a futuristic USA, it's forbidden to give birth to more than one child for each woman. As usual, 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 (their first child was born dead). When they think they have made it they are discovered and put to prison (for 31 years), a modern prison called 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 still plans to escape with his wife. (Lars J. Aas)

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 favorite 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 vigor 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,




95 min

J.S. Bach's Music:

Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080: Contrapunctus 3 &11a4, Canon per Augmentationenn In Condrarlo Mola
Bell’Arte Ensemble
Courtesy of Koch Import Service


Film: Color, Dolby SR
DVD: (Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Region 1) | (Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Region 1) | (PAL, Region 2) | (Anamorphic, Full Screen, NTSC, Region 2)
VHS: (Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, EP, NTSC) | (PAL) | (PAL, German)


Film: Davis Entertainment; Fortress Films; Village Roadshow Pictures
DVD: Lions Gate; Live / Artisan
VHS: Live / Artisan


Watch selections:

Buy movie at:

DVD: | | [Region 2] | [Region 2] | [Region 2]
VHS: | [PAL] | [PAL, German]

Source/Links: IMDB
Contributor: Aryeh Oron (November 2007)

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Last update: żNovember 17, 2007 ż04:42:58