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Someone in a prison run by a corrupt warden fakes the deaths of convicts to later use them as expendable assassins. A police officer is sent into the prison to gather evidence of the corruption. Written by
Hans Wadsten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An unexceptional, but entertaining enough, prison flick.
With a stellar line up of HK stars including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Tony Leung and Andy Lau (some of whom appeared as a favour to the director, who was in dire financial trouble with some 'dodgy types'), this brutal film mixes emotional drama, savage violence and OTT action to deliver an effective little addition to the prison movie sub-genre.
Tony Leung plays Andy, a cop who gets himself sent to prison after his future father-in-law is murdered by a supposedly executed convict. Whilst trying to figure out how a dead prisoner can become an assassin, he befriends various other prisoners, but himself becomes a target of some of the less desirable characters in the prison.
Those drawn to this film by the presence of 'wacky Jackie' will be sorely disappointed, since Mr. Chan appears in only a few scenes, and even the fights he participates in are not up to his usual acrobatic standard. However, fans of the other big stars should get their money's worth; Prison on Fire may be no classic, but it is entertaining enough to be worth a go.
Anyone who has seen their fair share of prison movies will know what to expect from this kind of affair: nice guy prisoners who we are supposed to root for; bad guys who make our hero's life a living hell; prison escapes and riots; and the occasional 'funny' scene to lift the mood (in this case, Sammo's ogling of a big breasted woman whose car breaks down near to his work detail). This one has it all!
It also has a rather enjoyably silly ending which features loads of gunfire and some slow-motion squib effects, and more disturbingly, a shocking scene which features an Alsatian being kicked in the head (the poor mutt flies through the air and lands awkwardly on its back!).
If you wish to check out this movie, find either the Taiwanese version, or the Hong Kong Legends DVD; the Taiwanese cut features several scenes missing from the US release, whilst the HK Legends disc includes them as an extra.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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