Kyle LeBlanc is an American working overseas in Russia. When he hears his wife being attacked over the phone, Kyle rushes home to find that hes too late. The man who killed his wife is found not guilty on lack of evidence. So Kyle takes the law into his own hands, and kills the man to avenge his wifes death. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole. The Russian prison he is sent to is tough, and the warden amuses himself by putting on fights where he fills his pockets with money by betting on the fights. Kyle begins to break and go crazy, so he is forced into these fights because the warden knows he is a sure thing. Kyles cellmate 451 begins to make him think what he fighting for. With that, Kyle knows now he must fight another battle the fight for inner peace. It is the only way he can become the man he once was.
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VANDAMME HAS HAD HIS UPS AND DOWNS JUST LIKE ANY MOVIESTAR BUT WITH HIS RECENT OUTING 'IN HELL'I CAN HONESTLY SAY THIS FILM REALLY PACKS A PUNCH. THE FILM ENTAILS SOME REALLY GRUESOME FIGHT SCENES WITH A CLEVER AND BELIEVABLE PLOT.IF YOUR A FAN OF JEAN CLAUDE DO NOT GO WITHOUT THIS FILM .SIMPLY A MUST HAVE TITLE, KEEP EM COMIN JC.
I wrote off Jean-Claude years ago as a has been, but after seeing his impressive performance in IN HELL I might have to reevaluate The Muscles from Brussels.Director Ringo Lam who's visited the prison genre twice before with the two classic PRISON ON FIRE films this time has Jean-Claude Van Damme as a steelworker in Bulgaria who is sentenced to life in prison without parole for avenging his wife's murder.Mild mannered at first - you can tell by the way his shirt completely covers his muscles - Jean-Claude is eventually taken to the breaking point and forced to wear tank tops and release some Van Dammage on the crooked guards who pimp out the prettier prisoners and also run an illegal death match fighting league between some of the more bloodthirsty prisoners.The fighting, not to mention that there's also a good story, is what really sets this movie apart from most Van Damme movies. There's no flying and spinning around like a helicopter or exploding a stack of bricks with your big toe here. Its all gritty realistic bloody knuckle street fighting. The best example of that is at one point where Van Damme looks lost and has to turn around twice before he notices his opponent laying on the ground behind him. Anybody who's been in a real fight knows how easy it is to get disoriented.If Van Damme made more films like this he might get back in the movie theaters.
I used to be a big Van Damme's fan, and still love Blood Sport, Cyborg, and other "old" movies. His new movies are getting worse and worse with each new release though. First he dropped down to the level of Jackie Chan's movies, the Chinese-produced ones. Now he went even one lower, to a B-/C+, third-rate production. The plot is completely cliche, the acting is very amature, and on top of that - once again - Van Damme does No martial arts type fighting whatsoever. I never thought Van Damme was a good actor, but I admire his form, speed, and style in martial arts. Now he is trying to be a "real actor" I guess, which he is not and will never be. All in all, my recommendation is - don't waste your time. Even being a hardcore Van Damme fan I just can't recommend this to anyone at all. Although it seems like a great number of people disagree with me.
In Hell, you will find a different Jean-Claude Van Damme. Absent are theoverused splits, jump kicks off walls, flips, and his infamous,head-snapping, ballet-like 360* degree jumping spin kicks (I still likethem). Instead you find him just using ordinary street fightingtechniques,wrestling and getting slammed around half the time. Everyone knows the oldsaying that a person is the sum of his or her experiences. Well, Van Dammeproves it.Kyle LeBlanc (Van Damme)is an American resident alien worker at a Russianengineering plant who plans a vacation with his wife. Tragically, thingscome crashing down that same evening when his wife is brutally murdered.After the trial results in the killer's acquittal, Kyle, in a fit of rage,guns him down and the guard (by accident). The Russian court unjustlyfindshim guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment. This is one example ofhow often too many times politics is thrown into the legal system,Americanor Russian. Once Kyle sets foot in Kravai (the most notoriously brutal andcorrupt prison in Russia), he instantly bears witness to man's inhumanitytoward's his fellow man. After being accosted by both violent inmates andsadistic guards, Van Damme slowly turns into a savage monster. The evilwarden and his cohorts notices that and forces him to participate in anillegal fighting program. Van Damme not only has to fight for his life,butto also retain his humanity and sanity.I think for a DTV movie Van Damme proved he could be a great actor. He didnot play the one-dimensional shallow superhero. In Hell shows us howcrueltycan build and at the same time undo a man physically, mentally andspiritually. Here is man who just about reaches the end of his rope, yethehas something to fight for: the memory of his wife still shines on him, inthe form of a moth. NFL great Lawrence Taylor does a great job as 451,giving the film the philosophical context. Taylor's 451 reminds me of anancient proverb: those that harm can teach. While 451 was outwardly aremorseless psychopath, he had in fact held on to what humanity he hadleft(you will find out how 451 ended in Kravai later). While In Hell is not asilver screen film, it still a great film.
After a long time we have seen a touching and sensational movie of JeanClaude van Damme. The fighting style is totally changed by Van Damme . Hefills the color of realism in his fights, the actual way a normal person(Engineer Kyle Lord ) should fight. Lawrence Taylor(451) was good in hisacting skills.The character of the giant which dies in the end was also a goodone.The direction was normal by Ringo Lam.The film shows extreme violencewhichtakes place in a jail which is like a kind of hell where there is no valueof a human life and u have to fight your way through .An A grade movie you will not be bored in this 20 million budgetflick
I've never actually sat down and seen a Van Damme movie before, mostly because I'm not an action or martial arts fan. But for some reason I chose to see this movie. I must say Van Damme is a good actor and this movie really touched me. I love every second of it. I loved the way they did the flashbacks, the fight scenes, and the plot was great too. This is my first Van Damme movie but I can now guarantee it wont be my last. I cannot wait to see what he does next. If you're a Van Damme fan or not you need to see this movie.
Something happened to Van Damme in the new millennium which very few film goers,other than his hardcore fans,really picked up on.Many of his films became much edgier and in the last decade he has produced some of the best and more compelling films of his career;and In Hell(released June/03) is no exception.This hard edged film starring Van Damme and directed by the eccentric Ringo Lam,is their third collaboration together.The film starts out nice and easy but gets grittier and grittier as the film progresses with terribly graphic and violent action,and populated by some pretty dysfunctional characters.The plot involves Van Damme as Kyle,an American who works in Russia with a pretty wife.On his way home from work one evening while talking to his better half on the cell phone,their connection is disrupted on her end when she is confronted by an unknown assailant.Kyle hears the struggle and races through the streets to get home.He finds his wife on the floor dead and the perp still in the house.Kyle gives chase but he is cut short by the police who mistake him for the perp.They do end up catching the assailant who goes on trial for the murder of Kyle's wife,but gets off scott-free.Kyle is so despondent at the verdict that outside the courtroom he grabs a security guards gun and shoots the man dead.This leads to Kyle's trial for murder,and of course he gets sent to a Russian prison.It is a terribly tough environment for inmates in the institution and Kyle,along with other new inmates,quickly learn their place in the prison pecking order.A young man that enters with Kyle is immediately pegged as the "pigeon",shall we say,for one particular prisoners' "delights".Kyle is himself constantly picked on and more often than not,he is sent into confinement in a cold,damp cell through which the prison waste flows.He loses himself eventually,even tries to commit suicide unsuccessfully but after a few visits by a moth(who he believes is his wife),he decides to take on the prison system on its terms and begins to train to fight while in confinement and out.Fight after fight ensues and Kyle becomes the prisons favourite,bet on by all the prison staff,including the warden.When his young friend eventually succumbs to one too many "encounters",it wakes him up and he decides not to fight a special inmate transferred in from another prison.He is put in chains outside day and night for his disobedience and the prison inmates finally rebel and all refuse to fight.Kyle does not give in and when he is returned to his cell,his cell mate tells him he can get him out and hands him a book listing every murder that the prison staff have committed over the two decades he has been there.Kyle,in order for the escape plan to go through,must fight one more time.The warden has told his guards to kill Kyle after the fight,and when the dust settles and Kyle's nemesis is defeated,he is escorted to a large garage to be driven out of the prison.It is here his cell mate jumps one of the guards which enables Kyle to take care of the other.It's a prison staff car and he makes a clean break out of the prison.His cell mate confronts the warden,tears his tongue out and drinks the wardens blood from a decanter.Due to his diary Kyle gives to the authorities,the prison is shut down two months later.When you read this scenario you might think,oh great here's another movie where Van Damme karate chops and kicks his way through more film footage.Not the case.What makes this totally UN-Van Damme-ish is the fact that for the first 45 minutes he is constantly getting the crap beat out of him.And when he finally realizes its' better to join them than to beat them,there are few if any fancy karate kicks or spins that you usually associate with him.He's like his fellow prisoners and just uses his fists.There is a startling scene where Van Damme(with scraggy long hair,not like his usual looks),is fighting the man that not only continually hounded HIM,but constantly raped his young friend.The man has got Van Damme down and there is no way he's winning as he is being dragged around the grounds in a delirium.Just when you think the guy is going to deliver Van Damme a final blow,Van Damme pulls it out from somewhere,gets the guy down,jumps on him and chews on the guys neck.The guards pull him off and he turns over screaming with blood all over his face,as if it had brought him back to life,like a vampire.Startling and gross,yes,and doubled in impact(double impact...hmmmm)because it's again not what we expect from him.Technically speaking this DVD comes in BOTH widescreen and fullscreen,unlike the Amazon blurb which just lists fullscreen.It is also available in Dolby 2.1 or 5.1 sound,with or without subtitles.There is also a 15 minute featurette on the making of the movie.By and large the film is clear and crisp but it does at times get a bit grainy.All in all this film is one of the most Un-Van Damm-ish movies you will ever see,especially when it involves the amount of physical action this does.It starts out nice and easy but gets edgier and grittier as the film roles along with alot of "ewww" and turn your head moments when the action gets white hot.This is just one of many of Van Damme's better films from the last decade.He has improved so much over the years as an actor and a director.The trouble is the larger general audience seems to be oblivious to this fact.Maybe his upcoming appearance/exposure in the Expendables 2 will hopefully correct some of that.
After Derailed I thought Van Damme would fade into action film bliss but....He returns with In Hell. How many movies have been made about a guy fighting all odds in prision(20,30??) I really cant say much more than the other reviews, He goes to prision, gets born again hard, and starts kickin booty. I have been wondering why all his new flicks go straight to viedo now I know. This film was bad. We fell asleep during his escape scene. One more thing Van Damme looks bad in this film like life has beat him down once to often...beat him bad.
Van Damme has at least been lucky after ending up in the direct-to-videomarket to end up with a company (Millenium) that puts something resemblingserious money into his movies, though the results still haven't been exactlygreat. REPLICANT was okay, though he hit a new low with DERAILED. Now it'sIN HELL. One thing I will say right away is that this effort has the bestproduction values to date. It's a dirty, filthy, crumbling environment, thisRussian prison... which is probably closer to the truth than we may want tothink. However, the CGI is pretty mixed - acceptable for the moth, but thosejet fighters on the other hand...As a piece of entertainment, the rest of the movie is mixed as well. Thefight scenes are pretty brutal and fairly well-staged, though some viewerswill no doubt be disappointed that the movie seems to be somewhat lacking inaction (fights or anything else.) It's more of a drama instead of an actionmovie. While the movie still had a chance of working in this direction, itseems to have suffered in the editing room, with important plot detailsseemingly removed while scenes that serve essentially no purpose have beenleft in. Often the movie seems to be purposely going slow in order to get along enough running time. There are also some really hokey bits, such as theclaptrap Van Damme's cellmate keeps spouting off.And as for Van Damme himself... well, he pretty much plays it the same wayhe usually does whenever he has dialogue. But he doesn't have that muchdialogue here; it's more of a physical role, and in that aspect I will admithe isn't that bad. Still, remembering his performance from REPLICANT (whichshowed he could give a decent performance if really pushed), it'sdisappointing to see he didn't try as hard here.
There was a time when Jean-Claude Van Damme was truly a person to bereckoned with at the box office. I know that seems hard to believe nowwhen you see a different straight to video film from him every otherweek. That isn't to say that his action films aren't still solid.Regardless of what you think of his acting ability you have to give himkudos for being a great action star and very talented in martial arts.I haven't seen a lot or any of his films since they actually went totheaters so I decided it was time to check one out. In Hell seemed likeit had a good solid story, sounded interesting and it was comparable toother similar prison films I had seen and enjoyed. In Hell was reallyalmost more of a gritty dark drama than an action film. The concept ofthe prison forcing the prisoners into death fighting seems like theperfect idea for an action flick but the fights are few and farbetween. The problem is without the constant action parts of the filmcome across as campy and cheesy. However, some of the parts in theprison are well done and appropriately disturbing but at the same timea little repetitive to other prison films.This is a bit of stretch for action star Jean Claude Van Damme. I thinknow that he is ageing he is looking for some depth to his characters.Kyle LeBlanc is not in jail unjustly. He did murder a man, the man thatbrutally killed his wife. He goes through a lot in prison and Van Dammedoes that best he can with his script but I do think a more seasoneddramatic actor could have really sunk their teeth into this. LawrenceTaylor plays the mysterious '451' who is some sort of strange violentpoet that also narrates some of the moments in prison. Taylor and VanDamme have decent chemistry opposite each other and Taylor's characteradds a nice twist to the story as well. David Leitch gives a very solidperformance as the young naive Paul who is basically torn apartphysically and emotionally by the prison and who Van Damme's characterfeels so but never bothers to help. The rest of the cast play theirroles appropriately. The corrupt jail guards and warden and the variouscrazy characters from inside the prison but no one stands out beyondthis main cast. Their characters fulfill their purpose but don't stickwith you when its all done and said.I think Hong Kong director Ringo Lam is very talented. I saw one of hisother straight to video films called Triangle that was actually ariveting mystery so he does know how to tell a story. In Hell wasn'texactly low budget at a 17 million dollar budget which does show in themoney used for the setting and it was filmed in Bulgaria. If nothingelse the prison makes a great and gritty dark disturbing location. Iwas only disappointed in the amount of action for what is considered an'action film' and certain aspects of the film and characters werecheesy in comparison to some of the other solid parts of the film. Itis still entertaining and well made and if you like a dark drama thencheck it out!! It certainly isn't your usual Jean Claude Van Dammeflick. 7/10
Van Damme's new film "In Hell" is a powerful, brutal and brilliant prisondrama. Director Ringo Lam shows no mercy in creating a realistic prisonenvironment, where there is no escape from the misery andsadism.The violence is painfully real and it matches the dark atmosphere of thefilm's setting. Van Damme has given us his best film ever. I have beenworried for Van Damme ever since he made Universal Soldier-The Return. Heseems to have been shunned by Hollywood and considered to be "Box-Office"poison. After Universal soldier-The return who can blame America forturningits back on him. Now, Van Damme is making these European direct to videofilms, all released by Millennium pictures. With "In Hell" Van Damme isforgiven for making "Derailed". In Hell is his best film and my favouriteall time film. It's a story of victimisation behind bars. A story of amanbecoming something that he despises. A story of madness and redemption. Icongratulate Van Damme and Ringo Lam. They make a great team.
This review is from: In Hell (DVD) I've read some critical reviews of this movie, and I realize the frustration. People who pick up a Van Damme movie expect high-kicking martial arts, and 'In Hell' is not 'Bloodsport'. Naive viewers are inclined to downgrade the effectiveness of this film as a result, but let's try something different. Imagine for a moment that Van Damme is just a regular guy who suffers the agony of hearing his wife being murdered over a telephone line. He snaps--justly so. Now he's in prison. We're not talking an American prison with cable television and internet access. This is a Russian prison where Russians don't take kindly to Americans. The ensuing hour is a bloodbath of man vs. man in animal vs. animal display. Van Damme is not a martial artist, but he is a man pushed over the edge of sanity, and he snaps only to become more bloodthirsty than he ever was in Cyborg.Ringo Lam is a brilliant director who's lost in the translation of B-movie Hell, but his vision is startlingly clear. 'In Hell' is his best film yet (and Maximum Risk was pretty impressive). Lawrence Taylor co-stars and shines as an insanely sane prisoner on a quest for justice. If you're a Jean-Claude fan, DO NOT pass this film up. 'The Order' sucked as did 'Derailed', 'Knock Off' and 'US2'. On a serious note, Ringo Lam brings you 'Maximum Risk', 'Replicant' and now 'In Hell'.
Kyle LeBlanc(Van Damme) is sentenced to life in prison for the murderof a man who he knew to be the killer of his wife. To make thingsworst, he was an American working in Russia and in this particularRussian prison, the prisoners fight for the wardens amusement.The movie is definitely the best Van Damme movie I have ever seen,which as I have said in the summary, is not saying much. He usuallystars in incredibly bad movies, but this one is different. Its a muchbetter role of him, although I was unconvinced that he was just somesort of American civilian. The movie actually would have had a greatidea for the movie, if the idea hadn't been taken by a movie called TheShawshank Redemption ten years prior. But the movie was surprisinglyentertaining. I was quite entertained by the mindless fighting scenes.Overall, I really wan't to recommend this movie due to the great fightscenes although I can't because of the massive amount of flaws and badacting. Sorry Mr. Van Damme, you tried.I do not recommend this movie.
Contrary to what Mr. Van Damme says in the "Making of In Hell" (DVD), thiswas not his best film. The action was adequate, the best technique being anawkward Ippon Seio thrown by the initial antagonist in the film. I recognize that this film seeks to be more of a drama than an actionfilm. Frankly, I think that it did not go far enough. It was stuck betweentwo genres. What makes this film intriguing is the appearance of former newYork Giants running back Lawrence Taylor (LT). He does a splendid job,especially considering that he is not a professional actor. Van Damme puts forth a good effort in trying to delve into the dark realmsof his character's psyche. I will concede that the scenes is isolation withthe moth bouncing in and out of the light was a touch of genius. I alsoapplaud Van Damme's effort to try something new. My advice to Mr. Van Damme is to keep on trying to push the boundaries ofthe martial arts genre. I am his biggest fan, and I like seeing him try newthings. However, alongside this new found pursuit, I would strongly suggesthe aim for another Hollywood "blockbuster". His next movie should aim to hittheatres big time. He needs the large budget and a strong supporting cast.He needs to hit it big again. There is nothing wrong with films that gostraight to video/dvd, but I feel that he needs to redeem himself with afilm that will hit a larger viewing audience. He deserves the adulation ofthe common movie-goer, if only just somewhat. Foe us specialists in thisgenre, it will nice to see him assert himself again.
Im not into vandamme, but I did enjoy this movie. It was done very well, I really felt for him. The fighting was very realistic and as a fan of UFC I enjoyed it. I showed the world how real people fight. No spinning kicks or death touches but dirty...savage like punching, strangles, and holds.
Jean Claude is back for the better . After have made some low z movies, he is back with this good movie . we see him more "human" than usualand we are in his side at once than the movie starts and it is VERYIMPORTANT , I saw some other movies lately than I didn't care much forwhat was going on , but in this movie you want to know what will happento him.After have cross the desert , it sounds like He has take someexperience of life and , and we can see it try to act more better , Igive a 7 , the movie deserve it .I like this movie and I wish he will make others from this same brand ,I recommend also REPLICANT , a satisfying SF thriller movie with JeanClaude from the same movie company.
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this film, as it was a veryhard hitting and brutal drama, which I didn't expect from a Van Dammefilm.Certain scenes I found profoundly disturbing, but also very gripping andcompelling. I think this film deserved more praise than it recieved onit'srelease, but fans of Van Damme will like it anyway!!! It may also come asasurprise to a more varied movie goer, like it did to me.
With Ringo Lam directing and Jean-Claude Van Damme starring, I wasexpecting In Hell to be a cheesy, slam-bang, all-out fight-fest full ofstereotypical hard-nut characters smashing the crap out of each otherat every opportunity; what I actually got was a surprisingly grim andunflinchingly brutal prison drama, albeit full of stereotypicalhard-nut characters smashing the crap out of each other at everyopportunity.Lam directs with style, Van Damme is actually pretty good in a rolethat requires him to act for a change, and for a while the going isgood, but the film is eventually sunk by a script that develops ideasabove its station: in a blatant attempt to elevate the film toShawshank/Midnight Express status, Van Damme's character, Kyle LeBlanc,takes a journey through his own personal hell, unbelievably becomes asymbol of hope and inspiration for the other prisoners, and risks hislife to protect a mentally handicapped killer against the corruptguards; all the while, clichÃ©d brute with a brain, prisoner 451(Lawrence Taylor), delivers a solemn, philosophical voice-over.None of this 'emotional drama' is particularly convincing (especiallythe previously utterly ruthless Russian mafioso coming to admire theAmerican), but the best (or worst) is saved for last when Kyle drivesstraight out of the prison's front gate in what must be the dumbestjail-break in cinematic history.
I'm really sick of reading these negative 2 to 1 star reviews of this film by people who are pissed there are no high flying kicks. HELLO this is NOT a popcorn action film, it's more of a drama with REALISTIC depictions of prison fighting. It's like watching Keanu Reeves in "Something's Gotta Give," a romantic comedy, then being pissed he wasnt busting out guns or kicking people like in the Matrix. Give the movie a bad rating because it fails in some way, NOT because you think it should have more chop-socky fighting. All that aside, I was very surprised by this film. After the unwatchable "Order" and tear-jerkingly horrendous "Derailed," I had lost hope for Van Damme, but "In Hell" is possibly one of his best films and one of the most effective prison dramas in the last few years. The cinematography and directing is great, thanks to Ringo Lam, a very underrated Hong Kong director, and the acting is very good as well. Van Damme has grown as an actor, and it shows in this film. Also look for a cameo by actor Paulo Tocha(Paco, the arrogant kickboxer from Bloodsport) as Victor.Van Damme is Kyle, a man jailed in a Russian prison for killing the murderer of his wife. The wardens set up illegal fights inside the prison, and Van Damme struggles to survive inside while maintaining his humanity. The fights are brutal and VERY realistic. They mirror real fights you would see in the streets or in UFC and other full contact events, which means elements of grappling and ground fighting are heavily utilized. This adds that much more to the realism of the film and shows Van Damme's versatility as a martial artist. In Derailed we saw some Ju-Jitsu and grappling from Van Damme, but he showcases these skills more heavily in this film.Do not rent or buy this film if you are looking for mindless action and high flying split kicks like in other Van Damme movies, but DO rent or buy it if you want to see a gritty and well directed prison drama with some realistic and brutal fights.
I may be the only person on Earth who saw all the recent Van Dammemovies (Derailed, The Replicant, The Order, Legionnaire, UniversalSoldier 2, Coyote Moon). Torture you ask? Well, his movies aren't thatbad.In fact the only Van Damme movie I never saw is "Cyborg".Here is the story of this movie:In this movie, Van Damme is an American worker who live in Russia. Acriminal kills his wife and Van Damme catch the guy and go to court,but the guy is freed and insult Van Damme.So Van Damme gets mad and kill the guy in the middle of the courthouse.He is then sent in maximum security Russian prison.The prison is really corrupt and the life conditions are extremely bad(especially for Van Damme). I won't say the rest of the story, but letssay there is a lot of deaths (what do you expect from a Van Damme movieanyway?)Surprinsingly in this movie, the usual Van Dammes kicks are not used.He fights while using a more "streetfighter" style, with grappling andstuff like that.Also the story is more realistic compared to his other movies.This movie was surprinsingly good.