A man must survive a prison where hardened criminals battle to the death for the warden's entertainment.
A man must survive a prison where hardened criminals battle to the death for the warden's entertainment.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Lawrence Taylor Lloyd Battista Carlos Gómez Manol Manolov Chris Moir Billy Rieck Kaloian Vodenicharov Alan Davidson Veselin Kalanovski Ivo Tonchev Juan Fernández Raicho Vasilev Miloš Milićević Michael Bailey Smith Jorge Luis Abreu Marnie Alton Michail Elenov Yuri Safchev Robert LaSardo Valentin Ganev Clark Sanchez Atanas Srebrev Paulo Tocha David Leitch Julian Vergov Velizar Binev
***See where this movie falls in my JCVD Rankings List***
I want more people to watch this amazingly insane film so that I can talk to people about it a lot.
JCVD works as a blah blah blah who doesn't do enough to show his wife how much he loves her. Then when his wife is murdered he gets shawshank redemptioned into a Russian prison. The Russian prison is a rape den with a fighting league and at times magic insects I think?
This film is a hard R, ultra dark, ultra trippy action version of The Shawshank Redemption, but artsy. I don't even think I could ever fully convey, in words, how strange this film ends up being. This…
After a mixed but overall favorable opinion in regards to the JCVD and Ringo Lam collaboration, I went into In Hell positive, but a still a little skeptical. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed!
Lam is back in Russian mafia territory with the film set in a corrupt prison in Russia, with a nice message about unity, an intense training montage, great characters and a less over-the-top JCVD, showing his versatility.
I had a few gripes, but they weren't anything major. The early '00s techno music over the fight scenes was super dated and cheesy, even out of place tonally with the rest of the film. In Hell would go from gritty, intense and dark to Mortal Kombat-cheese once the music started.…
"Sorry for the mistake." - Kyle LeBlanc
Van Damme works in constructions in Russia. His wife gets killed and the guy who did it gets away with it. Hey, this is Russia, this kind of stuff happens all the time, so don't overthink it ok? But Van Damme takes matters into his own hands and shoots the motherfucker just outside the courtroom where the guy was declared not guilty. Now that's what I'm talking about! Gotta do what ya gotta do! So Van Damme is sentenced for life and is sent in this prison that is basically... hell on Earth. Mommy's-boy-rapes, corrupt guards who only seek to milk the prisoners of their money, fights organized by the warden so he…
Prison on Fire III, essentially. Van Damme is showing his first signs of actually being a great actor here, weary, wrecked from regret. Ringo Lam strips the cliches from the script, finding as he always could sublimity in the mundane, tragedy in victory and redemption and dignity in defeat. In the excellent featurette on the DVD, Lam is a tyrant, his DP (John Aronson, straight from shooting the third and fourth Beethoven sequels), AD and producers all unflinching in their descriptions of his demanding and impatient directorial style. Each is also quick to add that they have total respect for Lam despite his temper and perfectionism, and that they fully trusted his ability to deliver a great film. And Lam does, despite a low budget, a single Bulgarian location, western crew and an ensemble cast full of athletes, stunt performers and oddball character actors, led by an aging, fading action star. He cared.
/Al Pacino voice
I don't think I would call this a good movie, but it's undoubtedly a strong one. The filmmaking has this unusually tactile power, you can feel (and smell, and taste, yuchh) every drop of blood and smear of sweat, really uncomfortably grim and breaching any objective standard of good taste multiple times. But I appreciate its wild, unpredictable energy, even if it feels like a less productive expenditure of that energy compared to the previous Lam/Van Damme joint (Replicant, a favorite), and I will likely never forget a bearded, long-haired JCVD communing with a CGI moth that may be the soul of his dead wife.
JCVD and Lawrence Taylor: Truly the Tracy and Hepburn of their day.
I know the title doesn't promise a pleasant experience, but In Hell is a mercilessly bleak film. As a man rotting in a horrid prison for the murder of his wife's killer, Van Damme's character's soul is slowly and excruciatingly stripped from and beaten out of him. He's punished and brutalized throughout, physically and emotionally, and in order to become the badass we want/need him to be, he must also become a barely recognizable, soulless husk who unquestioningly pummels anyone put in front of him. This is truly staggering and magnificent work from JCVD, even if the film around him doesn't always equal his power. It uses some cheap and lazy tactics to establish emotional connection, but Van Damme's performance easily makes that problem a minor one.
"When the shit hits the fan, we all look for God. When he doesn't show up, it's up to us to make our own damn luck."
Director Ringo Lam seems to know how to get more of a pensive and personal performance out of JCVD: which depending what you're looking for, may be a good or bad thing. In my case, while I appreciate JCVD being just an average day Joe - despite his muscular physique - who does not know how to fight, I was hoping for something more along the lines of Death Warrant. This is rather the opposite prison piece for our favourite Belgian martial artist (and possibly actor). It leans rather heavily into the convicted criminal sympathy,…
tasteless and brutal but also moving and distinctive? van damme is really great; with this and replicant ringo lam gets that it's all in his eyes. absolutely NOT what you would expect. its a b-movie gone miserablist featuring JCVD with some of the worst wigs & facial hair ever featured onscreen. he also communes with a moth he envisions as his dead wife reincarnated. it's all ridiculous, very disturbing, and often redundant but props for taking an existential angle when most people would expect a kick-ass actioner
The cinematic equivalent of crossing a JCVD pit fighting film with a freshman term paper on Dostoyevsky. Kind of a bummer that there isn’t more action (especially since Ringo Lam directs), but Van Damme broods with the best and it’s narrated by a stone serious Lawrence Taylor. So, it’s got that going for it.
Sadly the last of the Rango Lam/JCVD collabs. It's Jean-Claude in a special episode of HBO's Oz. It's bleak, gritty, and shows that JCVD acually has some acting chops.
There are some goofy flourishes here (the CG moth, Larence Taylor's "literary" narration, the guy in the Mankind mask) that keep it from being great but there's still a lot here to recommend it, particularly for JCVD fans with a novel setting and appropriately brutal fights. It's also nice to see Van Damme making interesting choices as he pivots into the full DTV era.
City on Fire would've probably been a better movie with which to honor Ringo Lam, and Phantom Thread the more apropos NYE viewing. But for my last movie of 2018, I settled on In Hell, a vehicle for JCVD in which he plays another man forced into the role of badass. This time a widower manipulated into jail-yard brawls, Van Damme rejects his knack for beating the shit out of other dudes in favor of pacifistic solutions. Lam's direction is fine but my favorite thing about this movie is Van Damme's character being named Kyle. Cackled every time someone said it. Also includes a performance from disgraced former linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
Hey I mean Jean Claude kicking ass in a prison with an immense amount of guys who are large in proportion and also want to kick his ass. It’s fun I got kinda bored half way but I still knew what was going on I just got bored. I mean I was expecting a solid plot (which I got) and a whole lot of more on the fucking each other up aspect but it was a good movie
J'ai adoré. Le film est un bon mélange de drame et d'action. Van Damme est plus vulnérable que d'habitude. C'est réalisé par Ringo Lam, il a clairement du talent.
I liked a lot this movie. Nice mix between action and drama. Also Van Damme is more vulnerable than usual.
Brilliant . I'm scared from hell ... But this movie, man, it was astonishing. Great acting from the protagonist. Wow! Best served with a joint. Me gusta la colita me gustas tu
Right from the beginning, In Hell is over the top and ridiculous, and not in a good way. The score is distracting, Van Damme does not give his best performance, and the action scenes are mostly clumsy. I know this isn't Ringo Lam at his best, but I was hoping for something good still. I appreciate that the film tries to differentiate itself from other Van Damme films by crafting something more "dramatic," but it just doesn't work.
There is something decidedly American about the tale being told here, yet for some bizarre reason, it takes place in Russia. This, combined with some set and costume oversights make one wonder why the film didn't take place in America or somewhere else in Europe. Definitely kinda red-scareish in aesthetics, which is why it takes place in Russia, but like, man you're like 12 years late to the red-scare party.
Criticism aside, this is an interesting little slow burn of an action movie, two things that don't usually cross paths. In some ways, this is a bummer because I just always wanna see JCVD crushing shit, but in this case it did give time for a pretty solid story to…
JCVD watched the Green Mile and got ‘inspired’?
This is an odd one. Van Damme is an...engineer?...who's working in Russia for some reason. He's on his way home to take his wife on vacation when a scumbag breaks in, rapes and kills her. Because the murderer's family pays off the judge, he walks away scott-free, so Van Damme grabs a cop's gun and murders him as he's walking out of the courtroom.
So JCVD is in a scummy Russian prison, spending some time in the hole (which is a concrete room with an open sewer literally running through it) and even making a few friends. The guards want him to fight, and he doesn't want to.
But it's not am "underground fight league" movie, which is the reason…
Not top-tier JCVD but a decent brutal prison movie with a bit more to it than just fighting.
Van Damme is not good at acting at all.
LT film with support from JCVD
i just watched a shitty cropped version of this on youtube because i suddenly remembered that my brother and i used to watch in hell on a loop when we were <10, as if it were disney’s latest hit. i’d say our mother should have watched us better, but she was watching it with us.
that said, it’s not as good as i remember it being, and i completely forgot about the techno fight music. jesus christ.
My fave JCVD movie with the bonus of LT being in it.
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