Blu-ray Review: Fortress

Stuart Gordon’s career started strong with the 1985 cult classic Re-Animator. It was kind of hit or miss after that. From Beyond was fun, but not as good as his first and Dolls was pretty solid.

Then he gave us Robot Jox.

For his second foray into science fiction Gordon gave us the 1992 film Fortress. A film about the far off dystopian future of 2017 where each family is only allowed one child. The film opens with ex-army officer John Brennick (Christopher Lambert) and his wife, Karen (Loryn Locklin) attempting to sneak into Canada. It turns out she is pregnant with their second child (the first died at birth) and they are caught.

From there they are sent to a privately funded maximum security prison where they are mentally and physically tested and tortured. They prison is run by Director Poe (Kurtwood Smith) who runs the prison using an advanced computer system called Zed-10. Each prisoner is implanted with a device that can harm or kill them. Inside Brennick befriends a small group of prisoners including Gomez (Clifton Collins Jr.) and D-Day (Jeffery Combs). Together they begin to plan an escape from the inescapable prison.

Lambert gives as good a performance as he ever does as Brennick. It’s fun to see Combs back in another Gordon film. D-Day, the explosives geek, is a fun character. Collins Jr. I always remember as Tack from The Stoned Age and it was a lot of fun to see him in a film like this. Then there is Smith who always play such a great bad guy. This is no Robocop, but he still play a character you love to hate.

Despite being released in the early ’90s Fortress feels like it was made in the late ’80s. And as far as bad late ’80s sci-fi films go, this one is pretty good. Fortress is extremely high concept and has a lot of fun elements going on in it. The acting is completely acceptable for the type of film it is. You’re going to roll your eyes a lot for sure, but if you know what type of film this is going in than odds are pretty high that you’re going to have a fun time.


Fortress is presented in 1.85:1 and 2.0 stero. A lot of this film is certainly very dated, but it’s really not that bad considering when it was made. This is a Stuart Gordon film and thus it has a lot of over the top gore and that is all really well done.

The film doesn’t have any special features.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. Was it going to be so bad it was good, or was it just going to be bad? I ended up enjoying Fortress a lot more than I thought I would, which I think is thanks to Lambert and Gordon. Without them, this could have been a truly awful.

Miramax presents Fortress. Written by: Troy Neighbors and Steven Feinberg. Directed by: Stuart Gordon. Starring: Christopher Lambert, Kurtwood Smith, Loryn Locklin, Jeffery Combs and Clifton Collins Jr. Running time: 95 minutes. Rating: R. Released: May 7, 2013. Available at


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