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In Hell (2003)

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A man must survive a prison where hardened criminals battle to the death for the wardens' entertainment.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Kyle LeBlanc
... 451
... General Hruschov
... Tolik
Manol Manolov ... Ivan (as Emanuil Manolov)
... Billy
Billy Rieck ... Coolhand
... Dima (as Kaloyan Vodenicharov)
Alan Davidson ... Malakai (as Malakai Davidson)
Veselin Kalanovski ... Sasha
Ivo Tonchev ... Marko
... Shubka
Raicho Vasilev ... Andrei
Milos Milicevic ... Boo
... Valya
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Storyline

Kyle LeBlanc is an American working overseas in Russia. When he hears his wife being attacked over the phone, Kyle rushes home to find that he's too late. The man who killed his wife is found not guilty on lack of evidence. So Kyle takes the law into his own hands, and kills the man to avenge his wife's death. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole. The Russian prison he is sent to is tough, and the warden amuses himself by putting on fights where he fills his pockets with money by betting on the fights. Kyle begins to break and go crazy, so he is forced into these fights because the warden knows he is a sure thing. Kyle's cellmate 451 begins to make him think what he fights for. With that, Kyle knows now he must fight another battle: the fight for inner peace. It is the only way he can become the man he once was. Written by Pat McCurry <laraspal00@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rage unleashed.

Genres:

Action | Thriller | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong brutal violence, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

8 August 2003 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Hell  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lawrence Taylor's character is named 451, a reference to Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. See more »

Quotes

451: People say one thing and do the other. It's just all bullshit. Don't waste words. Just best not to say anything.
Kyle: Yeah, OK shut up.
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Connections

Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Blaster
Written by Robert L. Klein and Scott Schreer (as Scott P. Schreer)
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User Reviews

 
Hard as nails prison piece with Van Damme showing an acting edge.
19 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

Post the release of Timecop in 1994, or arguably Sudden Death the year after, Jean Claude Van Damme has churned out sub-standard actioners that even his undemanding fans have struggled to praise. His career reaching a nadir with the quite dreadful Derailed in 2002. He was literally stuck in the kind of straight to DVD hell that Steven Seagal has been in for the last 15 years. So it was something of a surprise to find that this 2003 film bucked the trend considerably. Now this is no rocket science head scratcher for the action genre fan, it's riddled with prison movie clichés and is as unoriginal as it gets. But it finds Van Damme filling out a role with more depth than the standard beefcake hero roles he was doing in his sleep. If this was a shift that he personally chose to do after having enough of the "for the money only films?" I'm not quite sure, but the result is a brutalistic action piece that contains possibly his second best performance after the critically praised JCVD in 2008.

The plot is simplicity extreme, Van Damme stars as Kyle LeBlanc, who along with his wife is residing in Russia due to work commitments. His wife is raped and murdered and Kyle is aghast as the Russian courts free the culprit on technicalities and bribery sweeteners. He's not having that so promptly guns down the man and gets sent to a hell hole prison for life. Here violence and sexual assault are the order of the day, with the governor happy to put on brutal fights to the death purely for his, and his friends, entertainment. Kyle is not a violent man but he's forced to become violent just to survive.

Yes it's a pretty formulaic as it sounds, you could run thru about ten prison based movies and find the best bits of them used in here. But it does work because of Van Damme's character. He's a good man thrust into a violent world, he gets bullied, he gets desperate, he is out of his depth. It's here that the film differs in the Belgian's career, for he doesn't flex his martial arts muscles, there's no high kick, slow-mo set pieces here. This sees him fighting normal man style, and this only after going thru a Rocky Balboa type training regime. As expected, the fight scenes are violent and Van Damme is immensely competent executing them. Hell! There's even religious and spiritual metaphors in here! I kid you not. In Hell is a must for action film fans, and certainly a must for Van Damme fans who gave up on him by the late 1990s. You will not be surprised by how the plot unfolds, and a couple of corny scenes drop in to say hello (ghost visitations, dear me), but you hopefully will be surprised at Van Damme's performance. And of course there's always some serious buttock kicking action to chew on as well. 7/10


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