With only six months left of his sentence, inmate Frank Leone is transferred from a minimum security prison to a maximum security prison by a vindictive warden.With only six months left of his sentence, inmate Frank Leone is transferred from a minimum security prison to a maximum security prison by a vindictive warden.With only six months left of his sentence, inmate Frank Leone is transferred from a minimum security prison to a maximum security prison by a vindictive warden.
So his minor prison sentence turns into a big one, although one that he spends at a comfortable minimum security joint with all kinds of perks, including weekends and conjugals and even friendships with the guards. His release is approaching when suddenly he is awakened in the middle of the night and taken to a brutal, maximum-security prison where he is to spend the rest of his sentence. It's called a "routine transfer," although he has done nothing to deserve such an upgrade in security status and even his wife is not informed of what happened to him.
Ultimately he learns that he is being transferred to the prison of Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland at his creepy best), who was in charge of the prison that Leone escaped from, which in turn made it into the papers and ruined Drumgoole's career. Now he has his chance for revenge, and he plans to arrange for Leone to spend the rest of his life in this prison.
The movie carelessly glosses over the ease with which Drumgoole plucks Leone out of his own prison with no explanation to those in charge there, and the conflict immediately switches to Leone trying to survive in this violent prison and stay out of trouble so he doesn't screw up his chances of getting released on time so he can go back to his family.
Drumgoole pulls out all the stops in violating the law that his institution is designed to uphold so that he can keep this one guy down, and Leone faces all manner of challenges ranging from shank-laden inmates to one of his inmate buddies who steals the Mustang they've all restored together and tears all over the prison yard doing doughnuts.
The movie is definitely entertaining although there are times when the cheese factor is through the roof, such as the spray paint fight and the downright school-girlish friendship that Leone forms with a small group of other inmates. On the other hand, it also has a much wider target audience than your average prison movie, and it manages to generally avoid most of the gaping pitfalls that prison movies are in danger of falling into when they shoot for a wide audience. There's nothing realistic about it, but for good Stallone entertainment, this is not a bad way to follow up the massive success of the Rambo and Rocky films.
Also keep your eye out for a young Tom Sizemore, but be advised that the movie features violence, unnecessary cheesiness and may leave you with an overwhelming desire to go out and get some doughnuts
- May 4, 2009