Watched this one last week, before my main TV set went bust.
Plot Summary - When a robber invades the home of good guy Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff), Wade chases him outside, hits him with a baseball bat when it looks like the guy is reaching in his pocket for a gun, and ends up killing him. Unfortunately for Wade, it ends up the dead thief had no weapon and since he killed him outside, Wade is arrested for murder. He agrees to a plea bargain, pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and is sentenced to three years in the penitentiary - off to a maximum security prison he goes. But on the bus there, he immediately gets mixed up with a guy who stabs another man, then forcing Wade to take the knife and claim he found it under his seat. Our man must cooperate or face getting "whacked" in prison - yeah, it's a rough crowd he's soon to find out. Because of the knife incident he's placed into a high-security cell and is soon given a cellmate, a mass murderer named John Smith (Val Kilmer). Okay - this prison is a real animal house, full of "monsters" - divided into gangs by race, Wade must join up with the Aryan gang for protection. One hour a day in the yard, where all these men do is get into fights while the guards (headed by one particularly bad one) stand above watching and placing bets, then finally start shooting the prisoners who are in the fight with pellets. This goes on through the whole movie. While in his cell, Wade becomes friends with his killer cellmate - but back home, Wade's fiancee and little son are struggling to make ends meet and live life without him. And living in this violent environment causes Wade to start to turn from new fish to tough, as he starts to brutalize men just like the others.
Review - Okay - any man thinking about committing a big crime will probably rethink that idea when they see what it's like in this terrible prison! Violent and brutal, not a nice place. This film makes for quite an interesting watch - with somewhat unusual photography, it looked like maybe it was shot with video tape instead of film which gave the film a very realistic feel, felt sort of like a documentary sometimes. Yeah, I like a good prison movie - I like that peek into another world, so-to-speak. Rating - 8/10 stars