Fortress Preview

“No, no, no, this is a mistake,” Jamie pleads as Kyle approaches with a glint in his eye suggesting he’s ready to pound some dweebs. “Who are you?” he yells, gripping Jamie by the collar. “Stop it, Kyle,” Patrick says calmly, “Think of everything you’ve gone through? When you were tracking our path through time, what did you find?” Kyle’s grip loosens as he remembers. “It was… better. You were making things better,” he says, breathing heavily. “That’s right,” Jamie continues, rubbing his neck and taking a step back, “and if we were these other twins, or whatever, why would we have come here? They are clearly hiding. Whoever these other twins are, they are the imposters. We are the Bad Movie Twins.” Kyle nods and they share a triple bro hug. Tears streaming down their faces they turn to Rachel and ask that she show them exactly what they are dealing with. An hour later, wearing the patented BMT black canadian tuxedos they designed for just such a situation (and they never leave home without them), they peer over a small hill at the lakeside Hallston Academy compound. Rachel wasn’t kidding. Armed guards, search lights, barbed wire, oil slicks, tacks, guard dogs, robot guard dogs, laser drones, half-cyborg bears, several hornet nests filled with specially trained hornets, several other hornet nests filled with regular hornets, you name it. “This isn’t a compound, this is a gosh darn fortress,” Jamie mutters, “And you know what a fortress needs?” Kyle, Patrick and Jamie all say it at once and without an ounce of irony: “Teamwork, yeah!” Searching the town, they not only find LePumice and Ty, they also conveniently find a couple more black jeans suits. With that Jamie pulls out one of his classic catchphrases, “Fortress schmortress.” That’s right, we’re watching another Christopher Lambert classic in Fortress. A high-tech futuristic prison that Lambert has to escape from? Say no more. Seriously shut your mouth, I’m busy watching this high-tech prison movie. Oh, I guess we do have to mention that we are pairing this with the amazing looking Lambert vehicle Beowulf. Fun fact, this was the first english language film adaptation of Beowulf. For real. Let’s go!

Fortress (1992) – BMeTric: 33.1; Notability: 22

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.0%; Notability: top 21.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 26.4%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Toys, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, 3 Ninjas, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, Sidekicks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, and 5 more; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Bodyguard, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, This Is My Life, Encino Man, The Mighty Ducks, Radio Flyer, The Distinguished Gentleman, Kuffs, Mom and Dad Save the World, Man Trouble, and 34 more; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Folks!, Year of the Comet, Live Wire, Love Crimes, Frozen Assets, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Mom and Dad Save the World, Claire of the Moon, Passed Away, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 41 more; Notes: Ah that’s more like it. After a few crazy high Notability films in a row, 22 is just about what I would expect for this. Just a little push to get this to 6.0 and it’ll basically be “average”.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Husband and wife flee futuristic society (which forbids them from having a second child) because she is pregnant again. They’re captured and sent to a high-tech maximum security prison run by the sadistic warden. (Is there another kind?) Intriguing premise is sabotaged by weak acting and a weaker script. Incredible international success resulted in a sequel.

(Yeah I could see that. All of the notes are about how everything was looking promising and awesome for a bit, and then all of the money disappeared and you got a borderline straight-to-video release in the end.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U6oLx3xy8s/

(Ha, halfway to hell. God I love cheesy sci-fi nonsense. Combine that with a future prison filled with robots? Forget about it. Leonard Maltin is a fool, this movie must be great!)

DirectorsStuart Gordon – ( Known For: Re-Animator; From Beyond; Dagon; Dolls; Space Truckers; The Pit and the Pendulum; Robot Jox; Edmond; King of the Ants; Stuck; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; BMT: Fortress; Notes: Well known for producing H. P. Lovecraft adaptations on a small budget. He is known for casting Jeffrey Combs in films, and this is no exception.)

WritersTroy Neighbors – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: He was the casting director for Enemy Mine. He gets character credits for the sequel, so I assume he wrote the original script.)

Steven Feinberg – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: His biography claims he produced Moonrise Kingdom, but IMDb suggests he got a “grateful acknowledgment”. He has a crazy number of “grateful acknowledgement”s. He’s still getting them. He has a “thanks” for Hocus Pocus 2 coming out this year.)

David Venable – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: He’s written a few TV Movies, but otherwise this is his only feature film. He wrote a single episode of SeaQuest 2032.)

Terry Curtis Fox – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote for television including JAG, Stargate SG-1, and Diagnosis Murder.)

ActorsChristopher Lambert – ( Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Southland Tales; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Resurrection; Subway; Beowulf; The Sicilian; Knight Moves; Bel Canto; Sobibor; White Material; Fortress 2: Re-Entry; Un + Une; Why Me?; Nirvana; Druids; North Star; The Point Men; Future BMT: Loaded Weapon 1; The Hunted; Gunmen; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Fortress; Highlander: Endgame; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Lambert is French, although born in America and raised in Switzerland as his father was a diplomat. By all accounts a great guy, at least on the set of Mortal Kombat, and still acting with 10 projects in a state of production.)

Loryn Locklin – ( Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Denial; Future BMT: Taking Care of Business; BMT: Fortress; Notes: She was on JAG for six years, after which is seems like she retired.)

Kurtwood Smith – ( Known For: A Time to Kill; Girl, Interrupted; Dead Poets Society; RoboCop; Deep Impact; To Die For; Turbo; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Broken Arrow; Hitchcock; Boxing Helena; Cedar Rapids; Last of the Dogmen; Heart and Souls; Amityville: The Awakening; Quick Change; El Camino Christmas; Citizen Ruth; Prefontaine; Shadows and Fog; Future BMT: Firestarter; The Crush; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Staying Alive; Oscar; BMT: Rambo III; Fortress; Notes: Most people probably know him for either That 70s Show or RoboCop. He’s in That 90s Show as well, which is coming out soon.)

Budget/Gross – $8,000,000 / Domestic: $6,739,141 (Worldwide: $6,739,141)

(Sources claim that it did well internationally, but I guess I don’t really trust Box Office Mojo prior to around 2000 completely. Could also just mean it did well on television and home video though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (6/16)

(Fact: I don’t think this is qualifying in a year or so. I think someone will give it a good review and then eventually it’ll settle at like 44% or something and never get close again. The consensus is basically: Fun with a unique look the problem with the movie is just that it is kind of a bummer.)

Reviewer Highlight: Even the requisite gore is sub-par, so it’s not even neat when some poor sap explodes and his entrails whiz by. Perhaps Gordon should go back to mining H.P. Lovecraft’s territory. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Poster – Fortress Schmortress

(Hahaha. Nope. That could honestly be the poster for any Christopher Lambert film. I’m not even really sure what they were trying to do. At least it has a color scheme and the gradient on the font is OK. C-.)

Tagline(s) – In the year 2017 one corporation is building a fortress for the ultimate takeover… your mind. (F)

(What thuuuuu. I don’t know what any of that means or really what it has to do with the film Fortress. They are not doing that. They are building a fortress as a prison.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.5 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 77.0 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Boys and Girls (2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Halloween (2007), Fortress (1992), Senseless (1998), Impostor (2001), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (Christopher Lambert): 33.0 Fortress (1992), 30.5 Gunmen (1993)

(Phew. Not that Gunman looks terrible, it looks pretty amusing. We chose this first and then went for Lambert’s best non-theatrical release for Dimension. There aren’t that many people who made multiple Dimension films and less that made both theatrical and non-theatrical, so this was pretty limiting. Very excited for Fortress though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christopher Lambert is No. 1 billed in Fortress and No. 5 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 5) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – According to an interview with director Stuart Gordon, Arnold Schwarzenegger was to star as John Brennick since Arnold was a big fan of Re-Animator (1985) in which Arnold’s stunt-double, Peter Kent was a cast member. Stuart Gordon: “…it was Arnold Schwarzenegger that got me the job and it was because of Re-Animator. We used Arnold’s body-double in Re-Animator. The first reanimated corpse is a guy named Peter Kent, Arnold’s double. He’s got those big muscles. He got Arnold to see Re-Animator and Arnold liked it so much that he had a screening of it in his home, inviting all of these people, including producer John Davis. John had the rights to Fortress and Arnold was going to do it. For some reason, I’m not sure why, Arnold finally decided that he wasn’t going to do the movie and dropped out. They had a big budget, probably like 60 million, 70 million dollars, which was a huge budget in those days. Now it sounds small. [laughs] Anyway, he dropped out and the budget went down. They cut the budget to about 15 million dollars.”

The film takes place in 2017.

Due to the fact that star Christopher Lambert had worked on several large scale productions, he was hired by the film’s producers as a consultant and oversaw filming.

Filmed at Warner Brothers Movie World in Queensland, Australia.

The film performed very strongly internationally, especially in Europe where Christopher Lambert is a bigger name, and in Australia, where it was filmed. The film also enjoyed a long and profitable afterlife on VHS.

Zed-10, the artificial intelligence running the prison, is voiced by Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, wife of director Stuart Gordon.

Although the film opened strong in the US on its opening weekend, Dimension Films found their movie losing screens when a wave of new releases in the next coming weeks took over most of the multiplexes.

Stuart Gordon was set to direct Body Snatchers (1993) when he got Arnold Schwarzenegger and producer John Davis’s offer to direct Fortress instead. Gordon accepted, although Schwarzenegger would eventually drop out.

A television series based on this film was briefly considered: the “Fortress” television series would continue on from this film and would follow John and Karen as they are pursued by the Men-Tel Corporation and they raise their baby son Danny. It became a sequel instead, Fortress 2: Re-Entry (2000).

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