A mildly entertaining, if derivative, prison fighting flick. The story of this one was not so much created as liberally borrowed from a dozen other genre entries, from DEATH WARRANT to PENITENTIARY, with bits of THE CONDEMNED thrown in for good measure. For a TV movie it's surprisingly explicit, with truly bone-crunching bouts that end with the participants typically lying covered in blood.
The action is well staged, although there are some annoying directorial flourishes and supposedly cute editing that make this a product of its time. Director Bradford May, responsible for the DARKMAN sequels as well as the similarly staged MASK OF THE NINJA (also 2008), should know better.
Aside from the action, there's little to write home about unless the sight of silicon-enhanced bimbos is likely to keep you occupied. Johnny Messner is a serviceable hero figure, and the supporting cast is made up of the usual prison clichés: sadistic guards, veteran old-timers, the fresh guy likely to get raped or murdered before long. Stacy Keach plays the warden in an extraordinarily hammy performance that seems to have been based on Winston Churchill, of all people. Nothing we haven't seen before then, but it passes the time for undemanding viewers.
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