Fortress 2: Re-entry

dir Geoff Murphy
scr John Flock, Peter Doyle
with Christopher Lambert, Patrick Malahide, Pam Grier, Liz May Brice, Nick Brimble, Yuki Okumoto, Willie Garson, Anthony C Hall, John Flock, Patrick Hastert, Beth Toussaint, David Roberson
Columbia 99/US 2 out of 5 stars

Review by Rich Cline
This sequel to a long-forgotten original is one of those enjoyable B-movies that works because it never tries to be something better. Most of the dialog is camp and ludicrous, the characters are straight-down-the-line stereotypes and the action scenes feature endless countdowns, gratuitous explosions and inexplicable technology, all augmented by above-average effects. All this and you don't even need to have seen Fortress 1 to enjoy it.

In the first film, Brennick (Lanbert) apparently escaped from a futuristic prison, and now the vicious warden Teller (Malahide) has tracked him down and brought him to an even more high-tech penitentiary ... in an orbiting space station! "Just try to escape! Bwahahahaha!" Teller's rich and powerful sister (Grier) comes to the prison to see it firsthand, and to be present when her brother's new power beam is tested, whatever that is. Meanwhile, Brennick has joined with his fellow prisoners (smart-talking Black techie Brimble, dark and brooding Brice, jittering dimwit Garson, and so on) to foil the vicious chief guard (Okumoto) and break out with the help, perhaps, of some shifty Russian inmates (Flock and Hastert).

Fortress 2 is so refreshingly unpretentious that you hardly mind the fact that the plot is pure cheese from the opening scene. "I lost you once, I won't let it happen again!" Brennick bellows at his wife (Toussaint) as he sends her and their son off while he faces the commandos on his own (duh!). It's nice to see Lambert back on screen (where has he been?), looking older and more rugged, with a bit of character in his face. Of course, the actors are all stone-faced and serious, even when delivering goofy oneliners, and none of them seems to have a clue what's going on. But who cares, this is schlock cinema after all! And it's nice to see a cornball film like this get a theatrical release instead of going straight to video.

[15--violence, themes, language, some nudity] 15.Jun.00
US release Autumn.99; UK release 21.Jul.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall