Women prisoners strike up a friendship with a young law student who works as a part-time prison guard. Together they discover that a corporation funds and is profitting from the plantation-like work environment they are forced to work under. In a botched attempt to organize a protest against their "slave labor", the women take over the prison - A rare glimpse of the effects of the prison industrial complex on female inmates. Written by
L. J. Allen-2 (Leslye Allen)
Although Monica Calhoun and LisaRaye McCoy play friends in this movie they play cousins in the players club. See more »
Reflections (Jazz on Radio)
Written by CARLOS D. WILSON, LOUIS W. WILSON, RICARDO A. WILSON, M.D., WILFREDO R. WILSON
Performed by Mandrill
Courtesy of WILSON BROS. RECORDS
Published by WILSON BROS. PUBLISHING (ASCAP) See more »
Women In Prison films are standard fare for the entertainment of mainly boozed up, lurid male audiences, featuring (1) cat-fight; (2) almost nude gals in isolation; (3) sexual harassment of inmates; (4) brutal guards; (5) rape; (6) riot; (7) revenge on the (8) corrupt warden and superior officers. WIP are usually low budgeted, filmed with poorly paid crew and very small cast.
Guess what? You've all the required items, the film was made on a stringy budget and a dozen actors, one of them doubling as stunt choreographer, who 'gets shot' without putting up a fight! So why is all the uproar? Plenty of (lurid?) viewers complaining that it's a BAD BAD FILM, and plenty of established critics complaining that it's a BAD BAD FILM...
Because this film was made (as the director explains in detail in the voice on commentary in the DVD version) from a critical, very political view point, exposing as well as it can the link between Politics, Economics, and Prisons. Even without being corrupt, a prison's system exploited like a private business - as it is perfectly legal in some countries, like the U.S. of A. - may, and eventually does, as historic cases prove, end up in being a monstrous creation.
That the director was naif, and tried to put to many ideas and characters in at the same time, ending with a couple of loose ends, it's a pity. DaBrat is not the best narrator to keep an audience interested, in a film with not much screen action; Tichina Arnold should be meaner as Aisha the bad girl, yet she provokes a good fight on the gravel yard of this urban prison; woman sarge Cervantes looks sexy enough to liven things up - but her character is underdeveloped in the (cut to 91m though R rated) DVD version; LisaRaye is OK as the taller new girl, but lacks experience, and it shows, in several crucial moments.
The music is new, and at times inspired, by Mandrill. The exposé of established facts will be valuable for audiences who wish to get a larger view than the telly gives them. Supporting cast has good performances by Clifton Powell (justly awarded), Reed McCants, and best for last, the beautiful and definitely the best actress of the pen, N'Bushe Wright. (I'm closing this comment and go searching for other films with her.)
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