In Hell (2003)

Posted in Reviews by - October 04, 2012
In Hell (2003)

If cinematic history was anything to go by then they would have you believe not much has changed in the prison system for about 50 years. All the usual suspects are still there: the long serving wise sage, the boy who deserved better, the gang warfare, the relentless buggery and long hot summers spent digging up railroads (do they still do that?).

This is a cliché ridden slug fest, closer to Death Warrant than The Shawshank Redemption in prison movie hierarchy, and not as savagely articulate as Ringo Lam’s Prison on Fire films. That said, there is a similarly bleak and sinister tone to this fight film with great visuals and stark lighting to boot, and it is far more intense than your average Van Damme yarn (in one scene he tries to hang himself, a far cry from the naivety of his earlier films).

As for the story, there is not a great deal to go on. Van Damme is no angel, acting rather impulsively after his wife is raped and murdered and the culprit is declared innocent. So he kills the guy right back when he is still in the courtroom.

He does the crime, now comes the time; incarcerated in a horrible Russian prison where the guards don’t play fair, staging bare knuckle brawls and reaping the rewards. Van Damme does his usual butch/sensitive routine which appears to be working better with age in a movie that’s not half as bad as you might expect.

AKA: The Savage; The Shu

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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