From Arelor@VERT/PALANT to All on Thursday, February 24, 2022 18:20:32
Hello, moviegoers! Today I am telling you about Fortress, an outstanding film by its own merits.
Too bad that the reason why it is outstanding is its ability to cause severe brain damage to anybody trying to go through it. But more of that later.
The core idea of the film is that some cryptocurrency entepreneur needs his father's help (or, rather, his money), so he goes to visit him at his retirement home. Except it is made clear from early on that the retirement home at hand has wired fences and cameras and security guards and is obviously NOT a regular retirenment home. Meanwhile, a band of mercenaries is sent capture the cryptoguy and his father.
But there is nothing to fear, because cryptoguy's father is Bruce Willis, known for having a bag of mercenaries for breakfast every morning!
The premise is not that bad as long as you are willing to suspend disbelief - bourbon helps with that. It may sound pretty standard material for an action flick. I mean: the main characters trapped in a hi-security facility while withstanding a siege for a misterious squad of nefarious forces. If you are trying to produce a mindless run-and-gun movie, what can go wrong with such a base?
For starters: if you are producing a movie brimming with elite mercenaries and badass security forces, please, please, PLEASE have your actors watch some NRA material for gun safety. A mercenary walking into the line of fire of a friendly mercenary as if he was Peter walking down his house's corridor is a mood killer.
The justification for the existence of the Fortress, intended to be a mistery for engaging the audience, turns out to be quite weak. This would not be so bad if it wasn't because it drags the rest of the plot to the Burning Hells with it.
Production and photography scream "Cheapo Direct to Streaming Film". It is not that it is bad or that it is hard to follow what is going on, but the colors are bright and vibrant to the point they hurt your eyes. Some scenes were edited in a way which is not bad either, but suggests the director was cutting corners. For example, some scenes in which two people are having a conversation don't get to have both participants within the frame at the same time, which suggest they recorded the lines of one of the participants one day, and then the lines of the other participant the next.
The action scenes are a mixed bag, if your definition of mixed bag is "bag that contains a mix of poison, radioactive waste, and AIDs ridden syringes. You sometimes run into an ok scene which looks like a true gem in comparison. For the most part, action sequences range from so-so to non-sensical.
What do I mean with non-sensical? What I mean is that they will make you pull your hair out in desperation while you fall on your knees and scream "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!" Because everybody knows that the first thing a black ops mercenary does after stabbing a guard in the back is stay by the corpse, in front of a security camera which is known to be there, and light a cigarette up like that, in the open.
The acting in this movie is ok, if you consider there are not actors in this movie. No, Bruce Willis does not count as an actor anymore. In fact, his character sems carboard cut, to the point that I feared some janitor would show up and put it in the recycle bin. He has the expresivity of Kristeen Stewart (which is to say less than none) and his voice has the emotional quality of a chainsaw. I am certain he didn't care for this movie at all, which should be no wonder. Please, Bruce, retire so we can remember you as a great actor instead of a sold out who would do anything for a quick buck.
No cheap action B-movie would be complete without a villian. We get an OK but generic one. He has a cool knife. I don't believe him when he says it is made from damascus steel, though.
Fortress is not all bad, though. It has educative value: watching it I learnt that professional security forces and security guards use Apple products for everything. The fact the security systems of the Fortress were controled with Apple products certainly explains why the place fell as quickly as it did.
Not awful bad, but bad nevertheless. Approach with caution.