Friday, August 7, 2009

Prison (1988)

Renny Harlin are in many ways at the same level as Thomas W.S Anderson. "Fans" out there in the wide, wide world regard him as a shallow, simple director of expensive trash... And it might be true!

But I love these guys and they are among the few that actually just doing entertainment, without any deep pretentions or messages. I will forever thank them for this.

Born American was his first movie, which is weird because it's seems to be a normal american ultra-nationalistic "bad russia"-movie, but it's just a finnish movie that got Renny his big break. I like that movie, but it's not as good as Prison - his first american movie, and also the movie that gave him the direcing-job on A Nightmare on Elm Street part 4". I have no idea what the budget was on this flick, but it look indeed very slick and expensive. It's a great location, and a real location, and filled with some good actors to. Viggo Mortensen is a interesting hero, but dosen't have that same charisma like he has nowdays. Something to do with age I guess. Lane Smith plays the warden, and is electrifying in his role. One of the best stuff he's ever done.

But the star is the prison, which makes the whole movie in a different league than many of the other horror movies from this time. It's grey and dark, and the production values is very convincing. Of course the special effects is important, and here we has some really cool stuff. It's never a bloodbath, but it's gory and graphic and has some very nice-looking murder-sequences. I have the dvd from Dragon and that version seems shorter and less bloody, so this is the dvd to buy.

It's Studio S who releases it in Sweden and they have a nice anamorphic widescreen print which is a bit soft sometimes, and has a few scratches, but nothing that's important to mention. It's also a special edition, and except two cheesy music videos from Harlin, there's also a 48 minute interview with the man that's says everthing there's need to say about our finnish hero.

This is the best Prison-horror-movie made, and way better than A Nightmare on Elm Street 4!


Fredrik said...

Yup, this is an old favourite of mine from the VHS-era. I have the Studio S edition right beside and will watch it within the next few days.

Harlin has indeed done a lot of crap, but I do like several of his movies; "Die Hard 2", "Elm Street 4" and "Cliffhanger". "Deep Blue Sea" has got big sharks, can't really go wrong with that, and "Driven" has got, if nothing else, Burt Reynolds.

Also, Harlin is the man behind my biggest guilty pleasure of all time: "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane", a movie I've seen over 100 times (the first time on the silver screen, imagine that!).

Fredrik said...

Oh, I forgot "Long Kiss Goodnight", I really like that one as well!