The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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--Matt

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fortress (1993)

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I'd been hearing about this movie for a long time. As a big time DTVer, people wondered why I hadn't caught it yet. It's a classic in bad action/sci-fi circles. I think it's technically not a Direct to Video movie, because someone told me once that he saw this in the theater. I did some research on it, but I'm still not sure what to believe. Either way, I finally got my chance to see it just this past summer, when the girlfriend of the friend I was staying with had it. Let's just say it was well worth it.

I'm going to try my best to explain the plot, but it's very difficult to believe. In the future, the US, a country with one of the largest percentages of uninhabited land in the world, has a population crisis. Even crazier, Americans flee to Mexico to have children. Lambert and his wife try this, but get caught, and are sent to a maximum security underground prison run by the dad from That 70s Show, also known as the bad guy in Robocop. Eventually Lambert and his wife escape, and the border with Mexico goes from being the high security affair it was in the beginning of the movie, to a chain link fence.

One of the greatest security measures used to keep the prisoners in line is intestination. It's fantastic. There's a probe inserted in through the mouth, and sits I guess in the intestine. When a dude gets out of line, he gets intestinated. It's like those commercials, you know, "diarrhea is a like a storm raging inside you." If the guy from Robocop gets pissed enough, he'll make the whole abdomen explode. Intestination.

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This movie is hilarious on so many levels. I think the best was the very end, when the Mexican border is just a chain link fence. The obvious question is: why didn't they just cross there to begin with, instead of crossing in the high security area and risk getting caught? I know, of course, the answer is that the people who made the movie ran out of time and money, so they just wrapped it up quickly. To take from MST3K's Attack of the the Eye Creatures, "They just didn't care."

But Lambert is a DTVC Hall of Famer for a reason, and this one, like The Minion, would have been unbearable if made as a big budget action movie with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence or Nicholas Cage and John Travolta. I watch a Fortress because I know it's dumb as hell, and my friends and I love laughing at it. There really is no shortage of material to work with in this one, and the major drawback might be keeping you and your friends from talking over each other. I know my buddy and me were just killing it.

This lived up to its billing as one of the great bad films. There's really no reason not to have it or rent it if you haven't seen it before. If you watch it alone, though, you'll probably be so annoyed with how dumb it is, you'll hurt someone and get sued and end up on Judge Judy; or get a serious stomach ulcer that feels like you're being intestinated, both of which is the last thing you want. Definitely only view this with one or more other people.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106950/

7 comments:

  1. I actually like this movie! But its mostly because its a Stuart Gordon movie.

    Believe it or not, Stuart Gordon was trying to get this film produced with Schwarznegger as the leading man! Unfortunately, that fell through, so we get Christopher Lambert instead, which is like the complete opposite of Arnold!

    STill, Lamber gave it his all! And the movie does have a couple of amusing moments, like that scene where the bad guys stomach explodes!

    This line from your review made me laugh!

    "I think the best was the very end, when the Mexican border is just a chain link fence. The obvious question is: why didn't they just cross there to begin with, instead of crossing in the high security area and risk getting caught? I know, of course, the answer is that the people who made the movie ran out of time and money, so they just wrapped it up quickly"

    The ending did feel extremely rushed!

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  2. Oh and another thing, this film went into theaters, I know this because I saw it at the theater!

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  3. I hadn't read this review in a long time. It was one of my first, and though it would be easy to Lucas it and add something here or there, I think I agree with my initial take from that time. Maybe because I live in Maine, a state with massive amounts of unpopulated space, the idea of a population crisis in the US is beyond ridiculous, and the film started with that silly foundation, and built a beautiful monument to stupidity. That comment about how my friend and I couldn't make fun of it enough was meant literally. It really is a true gem of bad cinema.

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  4. An absolute classic. I recently located a German bootleg of this that is 16:9 enhanced and with extra gore scenes. I frikken love this movie. The good guy from Highlander, the bad guy from Robocop, the manic scientist from Re-animator = recipe for success.

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  5. And Intestination! Don't forget Intestination!

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