28 June 2011 | lost-in-limbo
"Nothing is dead around here until its buried."
just look at the cast who director John Flynn gets us locked up with. Sylvester Stallone plays the ideal prisoner - a rock, Tom Sizemore an edgy inmate, Larry Romano the naïve kid, Frank McRae the friendly man mountain, Sonny Landham dominates with a snake-like turn, John Amos a hardened prison officer captain and finally Donald Sutherland looking down on them as the menacing prison warden using his inmates like chess pieces "That's no game man. It's a lesson". You'll love to hate him, as Sutherland is picture-perfect in his delivery. The cast are outstanding, as the performances of all simply engage. Also making the cut is Darlanne Fluegal, William Allen Young, Jordan Lund and Danny Trejo makes a brief appearance here or there. The story follows that of Frank Leone having only 6 months of his sentence to serve, but then one night he's whisked away and he finds himself in a high security penitentiary with a warden Drumgoole (who he shares a past with) that tends to break his spirit within that time by using brutality, intimidation and humiliation. However despite Drumgoole's grudge to see Leone's spirit smothered, he'll find out it won't come too easy. Habitual structure, but quite a tense, grim and barbaric prison-yard story with director Flynn's durably taut handling rising above the predictability. It does seem to move from one sadistic act to another (as the warden tries about anything to break his man), but the plot installs some genuine companionship's between the characters and provides a mind-set of how these inmates truly get through the days so to keep from sinking in to insanity. Unpleasant, but also affecting. Bill Conti strings together an effective music score.
"You won't break me."