"Fortress (1992/Blu-ray/Echo Bridge Home Entertainment)" Review

After losing their first baby, John and Karen Brennick dare to have another. Caught trying to cross the
border, the ex-war hero and his pregnant wife are sentenced to a sadistic futuristic prison buried 33 stories beneath the Earth. Computers control inmates' bodies and minds, and newborn infants are being used to create a new breed of human robots. No one has ever gotten out alive. But not even the most overwhelming technology can extinguish one man's passionate love for his wife and child.

Review: Like I stated in my review of the film Prison I love prison films weather they are like "Cool Hand Luke" or more of prison break film like "The Shawshank Redemption". Fortress is a little bit of the different prison break film because it's in the Sci-fi genre. Now there of course has been others like it in this genre, but this film in particular is my favorite. I remember seeing this on either HBO or Cinemax back in the mid 90's and instantly loved it. Now when I first saw it I didn't quite appreciate it for the cast or much else than it being a cool looking film. After not seeing it for years watching it again on blu-ray is like visiting an old friend but appreciating it on different levels than before. This time I also realize that the cast involved are some of my favorite genre film actors. Also not to forget to mention the fact this film was directed by the man himself Stuart Gordon who directed my favorite horror film Re-Animator!
Here is what you get for the awesome cast: Christopher Lambert (Highlander), Kurtwood Smith (RoboCop/That 70's Show), Clifton Collins Jr. (Stoned Age/Crank: High Voltage), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), Tom Towles (Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer), Vernon Wells (Commando), and even Stuart Gordon's wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon (Re-Animator) as the voice of Zed-10 to name a few! Just that cast alone is worth a watch of Fortress. Also the look of the film is excellent you can tell that they did the most with they $8 million dollar budget that they could. Really for the scale of this film that's not a big budget in alot of ways.From the sets all the way to the awesome practical special effects each aspect was done so damn good.
This is a film that really I don't have anything bad to really say about it which is an odd thing for me to say since it came from a kinda odd time in cinema history. This time was when alot of genre films were kinda going in very different ways than they had been going in the 80's. Some of the films I lump into the good films of this time period were "Brainscan", "The Dark Backwards", "Freaked" and "Cemetery Man" to name a few. If you've seen all those films you should get what I mean. The story in Fortress is one that takes the classic jail break film and adds a twist to it. Basically a man is ignorantly jailed by a very strict dictatorship because his wife is pregnant and he wants to stop at nothing to get out and be with his wife again. That is the basic plot of the film.
There is some very well done gore in this film including a pretty damn good looking scene where the murderous Maddox gets a hole blown through his torso. Aside from the gore I must mention there is a kinda disturbing scene where the prison director Poe is watching in on a dream that John Brannick is having that not forget to mention is an erotic one he is having about his wife and them he jumps in a disturbs the dream in a creepy way. The thought of someone doing that is serious disturbing and unsettling. When it comes to the characters I will say that D-Day is probably my favorite because he is played by Jeffrey Combs who is my favorite genre film actor since I first ever saw him in Re-Animator, also I liked Stiggs who is played by Tom Towles who can play an asshole like Stiggs quite well. Even though I dig those two characters the most that is not to say I didn't like the others because trust me I did.
The picture quality on this blu-ray release looks quite good and it's the best looking that I honestly have ever seen the film. The detail is quite good and the picture is also very clear. There is no over used DNR or edge enhancement so Fortress still does retain it's film look. There is no special features which makes this a bare bones release which kinda sucks, but I can look past that due to just being happy to own it on blu-ray. Overall this a good release of a very good film that I think stands pretty strong even this many years later!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Branden & Eric Chambers
Genre: Comedy/Animation
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Home Video Release Year: 2013

Time Length: 83 mins.
Company: 20th Century Fox
Website: www.foxconnect.com