Today’s feature is Fortress 2: an arguably unnecessary follow-up to 1992’s sci-fi prison break movie, Fortress.
The screenplay for Fortress 2 was written by producer John Flock in association with Peter Doyle (Leningrad), with story credit going to original Fortress writers Troy Neighbors and Steven Feinberg.
The director for Fortress 2 was Geoff Murphy, who was also behind such movies as Freejack, Young Guns II, and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.
The cinematographer for the movie was Hiro Narita, who shot flicks like Hocus Pocus, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, and James and the Giant Peach.
The editor for Fortress 2 was James R. Symons, who additionally cut the films Rambo III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tank Girl, Over The Top, Cobra, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
The producers for the film included Romain Schroeder (Dog Soldiers, Feardotcom), Tom Reeve (Wing Commander), and John Flock (The Good Shepherd).
The music for Fortress 2 was composed by Christopher Franke, who has also scored shows and movies like McBain, Babylon 5, Universal Soldier, and Green Street Hooligans.
The effects work for Fortress 2 was done by a team that included Mark Pompian (Species, Stargate, Last Action Hero), Ralph Maiers (Monkeybone, The Omega Code, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation), Steve Cummings (Air Force One, Deja Vu), Terry Whitehouse (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), Seth Tamrowski (Baby Geniuses), Erik Strauss (Hancock, Beowulf), Ghislaine Soisson (Wing Commander), Lesley Lamont-Fisher (Alien vs. Predator), and David Pride (Dark City, The Matrix), among many others.
The cast of Fortress 2 is headlined by the primary star of the previous movie, Christopher Lambert (Mortal Kombat, Highlander II, Druids, Fortress), as well as Beth Toussaint (Scream 3, Red Eye, Dead Heat), Pam Grier (Class of 1999, Jackie Brown), and a handful of bit players and character actors.
The plot of Fortress 2 is summarized on IMDb as follows:
7 years after the original Fortress movie, Brennick and his family are still on the run from the Men-tel corporation. A group of rebels attempt to gain his support but he refuses, wanting to focus on his family. A raid follows and Brennick along with the rebels are captured and sent to a new, more sophisticated fortress prison in outer space. But Brennick’s not a man to give in easily, and with a 10 year old son waiting for him back on earth, he’s going to pack some serious assault on the evil corporation.
Fortress 2 was absolutely blasted by critics and audiences alike: it currently holds a 4.4 user rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 0% from critics and 21% from audiences. I wasn’t able to dig up any gross information, but it almost certainly came up far short of its estimated $11 million budget.
The original Fortress, if you ask me, is a pretty fun b-movie with plenty of upsides. I am a little surprised that it wound up with a sequel though, as it was hardly a big movie. Fortress 2 is, as with many sequels, a very similar movie to its predecessor, with only some slight twists on the formula. The idea of setting the second ‘prison’ (actually a forced labor facility) in space was a pretty good concept in my opinion, and it fits well with the futuristic design of the first movie. The biggest drawback of this sequel is a weaker supporting cast than the original, which boasted the likes of Jeffrey Combs and Kurtwood Smith in memorable roles. The biggest addition for the sequel is Pam Grier, who does ham it up pretty well in her limited villain role.
Overall, Fortress 2 is a pretty long way from good, but it is generally fun and entertaining. The design of the movie looks decent, in spite of some less-than-ideal low budget effects. It isn’t nearly as memorable as its predecessor, but it is perfectly serviceable for what it is. For fans of Fortress (and b-level sci-fi in general), it is more than worth checking out.
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