Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In Hell

Ringo Lam | 2003 | 96 min | USA

Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Tim Robbins, and ex-NFL star, Lawrence Taylor plays Morgan Freeman in this action remake of The Shawshank Redemption.

Kyle (JCVD) is an American in Russia on a job. One night on his drive home, while talking to his wife on the phone, she's attacked and killed before he can get there. When the law fails to convict the killer, he takes matters into his own hands, and avenges his wife's death by shooting the killer just outside the courtroom.

Kyle is then sentenced to life in a Russian prison without chance for parole. Inside he makes a couple new friends. A young American who's pimped out to the prison's main heavy every night by the head guard, and an old American who's in a wheelchair but who's the guy you go to if you want anything.

After acting up like a damn fool, Kyle is put in solitary confinement, where he sleeps in diarrhea, and fails miserably at hanging himself. As a punishment for his attempted suicide, the head guard puts him with a new cellmate named, 451 (Lawrence Taylor). He likes to burn people. Get it? Another thing he likes is SILENCE. At one point he declares, "There's too much noise in the world. I just want some peace and quiet. I've earned it." Morgan Freeman couldn't have said it better himself. You better not make a peep when 451 is around, either. Not only does he like to burn people, he likes to rip their tongues out with pliers, for talking too much.

Kyle acts a damn fool some more, and then some more, and then some more, with more and more time spent in solitary. When he emerges from a long stint with a beard, looking like Richard Chamberlain, he's become a savage, and takes part in inmate fights that are organized by the prison staff and then bet upon. After some fights, Kyle realizes that he's turning into a monster. He cuts his hair and shaves off his beard. ... Almost. He leaves a killer goatee.

To describe what happens after Jean-Claude Van Damme starts sporting a goatee would just be mean of me. Maybe it gives him the power to teleport out of the prison. Maybe it makes all of his fellow inmates want him. Maybe it just itches. You'll never know, unless you rent In Hell. That's not a thing I would recommend though. Oh wait. You could alternately rent The Shawshank Redemption, fast forward through about an hour's worth of the movie, and imagine a whole bunch of mediocre fight scenes peppered throughout.

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