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3.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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(Jun 22, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Lambert, Loryn Locklin, Kurtwood Smith, Clifton Collins Jr., Lincoln Kilpatrick
  • Directors: Stuart Gordon
  • Writers: David Venable, Steven Feinberg, Terry Curtis Fox, Troy Neighbors
  • Producers: Graham Burke, Greg Coote, Irene Dobson
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 1999
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0784012245
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,245 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fortress" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Wilkins on June 1, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
i was browsing through the Blu-ray's under $10 section and came across this movie which i'd completely forgotten about until now...

the Blu-ray release of this film was put together by a company called: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, which i've never heard of so wasn't expecting much in the way of video quality. i guess i stand corrected however. let me just say that this is a much better HD transfer than Lionsgate did with the original "Total Recall." a lil a grainy side?, yes. but overall definitely not the worst i've ever seen. in fact i've fallen in love with the movie all over again :)

Blu-ray specs are
video: 1920x1080p 1.85:1 Widescreen
Audio: the back of the box just says English 2.0 Stereo, but it's actually
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Surround).
subtitles are not available

there are also no special features, but overall still definitely worth buying. hope this review helps anyone reading it
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Format: DVD
Fortress was not a major box office success back in '92. However, it is an awesome rental for those who enjoy sci-fi action packed flicks. True, this sci-fi film in no way can be compared to the phenomenal sci-fi StarWars movies; It barely rivals Terminator. But, for 95 minutes you get your money's worth ( just be thankful the film was not dragged out to 2 hrs +). It's sheer entertainment ! Lambert is known for pulling such roles as the outcast adventurer and rebel to full effect;He's very convincing. Take for example the scene after his mind was "wiped"; He literally looks like a ghost ! Lambert has that way of conveying either an expression of deadly seriousness or one of lunacy with his eyes ! The prison warden played by Kurtwood Smith from the current hit series That 70's Show (peculiar to see him with hair on his head in the Fortress)does an outstanding job as the mostly android/cyborg human bad guy.
The only drawback is the dvd edition sold between $10 and $14 is the standard t.v. screen format and not the letterbox. There is also very little "goodies" or bonuses. There are no extra languages either on the audio tracks or any subtitles.The big error is the fact the audio track was not re-mastered in true Dolby Digital 5.1 surround; It's only the regular Dolby Surround. No director's or actors' commentaries either.
Yet, the picture quality is superb and bright with no traces of digital artifacts (blocking,or digitized shading). Viewers can see the rich bright colors in the prisoner's uniforms (orange, red, green, blue). The picture is sharp in detail as well if you look at the whiskers on Lambert's unshaven face...
Fortress earns four stars for it's lack of widescreen and other dvd menu capabilities. Otherwise, it's an enjoyable film.
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By A Customer on November 23, 2002
Format: DVD
This is an awesome edition to any Christopher Lambert Collection. One of his finest, and you almost get to see his whole, body front and back nude! How awesome for C.L. fans like me. I recommend you don't watch this around little ones, but it's great for watching with your special someone, it's got romance and action so you'll both be happy.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
THE STORY: In the near future, couples are only allowed to have one child; the Government considers anything more than one child as high treason. (Sounds far-fetched you say? Ask the Chinese.) Christopher (Highlander, Mortal Kombat, Greystoke) Lambert is great as ex-soldier John Brennick. His wife lost their first baby to miscarriage but she is pregnant again, so now they're both trying to sneak thru security check points to get to a safe place where she can have their baby. Unfortunately they're caught at the boarder and sentenced as traitors to the State, forced to serve their time in a new super-max prison deep underground - The Fortress. Brennick intends to escape in order to be with his wife, but during his incarceration he learns that she is also in The Fortress, in the women's section. Still with child, she has been serving as the 'companion' to the creepy commandant of the facility, played with icy eeriness by Kurtwood Smith. Now John must find a way to break both himself AND his wife out of the ultra-secure hell-hole! Will they make it???

THOUGHTS: This film is really a little bit of everything. This movie is scary, violent, intense and surprisingly warm and funny by turns. The entire cast is very good in their roles. The action is great and the prison scenes are scary & ugly. The future looks bleak & frightening in this film and uncomfortably close to reality in some ways, making it even even scarier. The "Intestinators" which every prisoner is forced to ingest upon entering The Fortress is both an ingenious concept and a thoroughly terrifying one. Vernon Wells is great as a psycho inmate intent on killing John... just because. The awesome Jeffrey Combs is wonderful as a nerdy prisoner who befriends Brennick.
Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
It is the future and breeding is controlled by the government. John Brannick and his wife are about to illegally have their second child. They are caught making their way out of the country and put in a fortress, a large prison in which the prisoners are controlled via a small device placed in the intestine. Silly? Yes. Fun? Definitely. I honestly can't give this movie more than three stars, but it was a fun action flick. The gore is big here and fans of this kind of movie, like "Robocop" or "Total Recall," will surely find much to like. Christopher Lambert does a nice job as the action hero who just wants to see his wife. The film is sort of like a futuristic "Great Escape." I had fun watching this film and if you're a fan of action or sci-fi, you should too.
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