Dean Cain is known for playing upright and noble types. He played Superman for four seasons on Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman. He has played police officers, angels and generally good guys. The Soska Sisters (Jen and Sylvia) are known for gritty horror films. Together (and with comic book writer Justin Shady) they give us a dark tale of the noble hero who walks away from his nobility and seeks revenge, going to great extremes.
Mason Danvers (Cain) and partner Joel (Ben Hollingsworth) capture Hardcore Criminal Victor Abbot (wrestler Paul Wight) and his brother. They are released on a technicality, and Abbott cannot help himself and kill’s Mason’s pregnant wife. Mason engineers to get himself into the prison where Abbott is serving his time for murder…by murdering Abbott’s brother. In lesser hands, this would be a dreadfully dull and typical revenge flick set in prison (and there are a few).
The Soska sisters have a great eye and use perspective to great effect, and make the most of Cain visually. He gives a strong performance as well. Cain seems to relish this opportunity to be so out of character. He is intense, and as he works his way through the prison inmates, he just gets more and more intense. Wight’s performance is decent enough as a heavy, but what really stands out? His size. And the Soskas know how to frame him in camera to look like a house compared to Cain. Seriously, there are time where Dean looks like an action figure next to Wight.
The standout performance, to me anyways, is Michael Eklund as Warden Snyder. Snyder has mutually beneficial working relationships with the inmates, and he does not appear to be intimidated by them at all. Unlike the Warden in Shawshank Redemption, he has no illusions of moral high ground over the inmates. And this makes him a dark and creepy dude.
Make no mistake, while this is not a horror movie, it is a very bloody bloody and intense film. But for action fans who are not to squeamish should really enjoy this.