Saturday, August 24, 2013

There Should Be Only One: Fortress 2- Re-Entry

It usually takes more than one sequel to go to Space.  Today's film is Fortress 2: Re-Entry, featuring the return of Lambert.  Unfortunately, he's the only one returning.  Most of the Cast was killed off, so it's understandable in that respect.  However, the people that could have returned- Director Stuart Gordon and Loryn Locklin as Mrs. Brennick- are not here.  I miss one of them more.  The story takes place several vague years after the original Fortress.  I say vague years because the film says that 7 years has gone by, yet Lambert's new-born son is 10 years old.  I guess it's like the reverse of how kids never age on Cartoons- see perpetually-young Bart Simpson.  Naturally, this is going to end with Lambert in Prison again, leading the film to try to raise the stakes.  How do they do it?  To find out, read on...
Over in...Canada, I guess, Lambert and his family are asked to go on a mission.  He says 'no.'

Unfortunately, he didn't realize that the Sequel had started, so shit goes down still.
Their Cabin is attacked by Men-Tel, so Lambert make a distraction for his wife- no longer the same Actress- and son to escape...for now.

Actually, they spend the whole film running.  Score one point for not being exactly the same (in this regard).
The new Fortress is different- it's in Space!

Minus 20 points for the prisoners somehow being unaware that they are in Space at first.  How do you not notice being strapped into a Space Shuttle?!?
Another new thing is that Pam Grier is here.  She does almost nothing until the Finale, in which they awkwardly-force her into it.  Kudos for taking the view screens from Spaceballs too.
The film hits a lot of the same notes as the original though.  They generally aren't clever twists on them- they're just the same scenes.  Joy.
Likewise, Lambert is thrown into Solitary and punished.  He doesn't lose his memory this time, which is a small plus.  It's still same old, same old though.
The 'Lambert fights a Prisoner' bit takes place later and they actually up the ante by having it be against Dog-Welder.

Seriously, do a Google search on 'Dog-Welder.'  You won't be disappointed.
Hey look, a newly-made close friend is killed right before the Climax.  That's unique for the series, right?

That said, the finale has some good moments.  Lots of action and explosions.
In the End, Lambert returns to Canada (or Bulgaria) to his wife and son, who were never caught.

Oh and I guess this is the End, since he helped Grier- the head of Men-Tel- escape too.  Alright then.  The End.
It's a shame that this isn't better.  In the movie's defense, they do try some interesting things.  The problem is that there just isn't enough of this.  It's mostly Fortress...again.  On top of that, the simple, straight-forward plotting has been replaced with lots of ancillary stuff that goes nowhere.  The film's lone female prisoner (of note) has a thing for Lambert, but that disappears two scenes later.  One Guard is helped out by Lambert and befriends him...just so he can die in the finale.  Pathos- gotta love it!  The few good and unique ideas really do stand in the shadows of the rehashed ones.  Look- I get it.  You're a sequel.  With that said, even crappy film sequels did some major changes.  Leprechaun 2 changes the setting, character goal and overall feel.  Amityville 4 was set in a different house, featured new (albeit silly) powers and an evil lamp.  Hell, even Corpse Grinders II is about aliens and shit.  Instead, you get mostly the same film, silly retcons (the new Warden was the originally Prison designer...apparently) and new characters that come out of nowhere.  Remember the military resistance group trying to stop Men-Tel?  No?  They were never mentioned before and just suddenly appear for this story.  The film is not without merit and you'd probably like it a lot more if you only saw this one.  I can't imagine why you'd just watch Fortress 2, but whatever.  I'll just end by paraphrasing Highlander: there should be only one!
Next up, a film about killer cockroaches in Los Angeles.  Why is it that all I can focus on is the Stock Footage then?  Stay tuned...

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