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A hitchhiker named Martel Gordone gets in a fight with two bikers over a prostitute, and one of the bikers is killed. Gordone is arrested and sent to prison, where he joins the prison's boxing team in an effort to secure an early parole and to establish his dominance over the prison's toughest gang. Written by
A man is wrongly imprisoned for murder. While in the penitentiary he gets involved in a boxing competition that the prison hosts.
Penitentiary is a somewhat odd blaxploitation movie. It seems to be a curious mix of realism and ridiculousness. While on the one hand, the idea of a prison boxing competition where the male and female inmates can get together is a very silly idea. But on the other hand, the movie also deals with issues of institutionalisation and the tone overall is often quite sombre. So it's a strange combination. It has to be said though that the best moment is the excellent fight scene between the hero and his psychotic cell mate. It's a pretty ferocious and exciting affair and I suppose just emphasises that Penitentiary is definitely a fight film over and above anything else.
This is definitely a good example of its type. It's certainly not a typical prison drama though that's for sure. It even spawned a couple of sequels that recycled the same idea to ever more ridiculous extents. It's certainly one of the least likely franchises you could imagine.
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