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In Hell
In Hell
Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lawrence Taylor (II), Lloyd Battista, Carlos Gómez (II), Manol Manolov
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 38min

Inside the most corrupt prison in Europe's Eastern Block, the warden pits prisoners against each other in fights to the death for profit. The brutality transforms the inmates into dreaded monsters. The contender is Kyle Le...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lawrence Taylor (II), Lloyd Battista, Carlos Gómez (II), Manol Manolov
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/25/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: French
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Member Movie Reviews

Elizabeth S. from MULKEYTOWN, IL
Reviewed on 1/12/2011...
Excellent, unbelievable movie!

Movie Reviews

Brett Heitkam | Lena, IL United States | 02/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In Hell is one of the best JCVD movies from his recent direct to video offerings. In the film, he plays Kyle LeBlanc, a French-American man living and working in Russia with his American wife, who soon gets brutally murdered. Kyle is then sent to a Russian prison after he murders the man who killed his wife. Of course, this prison is no cakewalk...actually it makes Oswald State Prison from the HBO show "Oz" literally look like Disney World. The warden and guards are all corrupt and the prisoners who have money get all the perks. The warden also sets up a human cockfighting arena on the prison grounds where he has two prisoners fight (most of the time fight to the death) and he and his friends take bets on the winners. Of course, JCVD sets out to make his way through this corrupt system, help his new prison friends, and get revenge for his wife's death.

The film is very dark, brutal, and bloody, but it is beautifully filmed. There is one scene in particular when Kyle is thrown in "the hole" for misbehaving. In that scene, after Kyle loses hope and tries to hang himself, a moth flies down from the window/rafters above him and the camera beautifully follows it down as it flutters toward Kyle, and then it lands on the handle of the spoon that is in his untouched bowl of gruel, as if to say, "Eat. Get stronger, and you will be able to free yourself from this place." I know it sounds really corny, but it is really a lovely scene and not something that you typically see in JCVD films.

The DVD transfer is awesome. Picture and sound quality are good and you get widescreen and fullscreen to choose from.

Definitely a movie to see, whether you like Van Damme or not. It's a movie for anyone who has ever lost anyone they loved or had their life inexplicably turned upside down and had to fight to get things right."
Worth Buying 4 1/2 Stars
David Borowski | USA | 12/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Well I guess I'll do a review too.Reading the plot outline to IN HELL, it would be easy to assume that it's just another typical Jean-Claude Van Damme fancy kicks, buttock shots, big guns festival. But much to my surprise, it wound up being a deep, gritty, poignant, intense and mature picture instead. Who knew? After the abysmal DERAILED (his worst film along with STREETFIGHTER), the Muscles from Brussels returns to top form in what is his best movie since REPLICANT and probably his strongest performance ever. This bitter pill punched hard with its unrestrained display of human ugliness, gripping symbolism and brutal violence which itself was dipped in philosophy and a sadness stricken aura. The films "ace" though was that it played it mainly as an engaging character-driven piece about one mans loss of his soul and his tortuous journey in prison to regain it. Thankfully, J-C was up to the task. I felt his characters pain, gulped a few times and was rooting for the main man the whole way. Visually, the movie also came out a big winner with its strong showing of exquisite photography, stylish/creative shots and an intoxicating morbid atmosphere. Think David Fincher (SEVEN) like. And the fight sequences, you may ask? Well, we're treated to a different flavor than the usual Van Damme here. Gone are the "show off" aerial kicks that wouldn't hold up in a real fight and present is a more grounded style of fighting that reinforced the films realism and emotional impact. Sadly, parts of the script weren't up to par. Without the minor plot holes, the various prison movie cliches, the obvious devices to communicate substance and the tacky "ghost" appearance, the flick would've reached a higher level of quality. But in the end, I was still genuinely moved, impressed and highly entertained by IN HELL. It transcended its faults and affected me on many levels. Way to go, Jean-Claude"
Van Damme is on the way up! 3.5 Stars
A.M.Boughey | Rochester, MN | 03/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As others have noted, both this and "Wake of Death" have shown a change in direction for Van Damme, choosing to delve more into complex roles, drama, and believable acting, rather than two dimensional fight movies. Not that I suspect we will be seeing him on the nomination list at the Oscars any time soon, but here again he turns in a credible performance. After being jailed for avenging his wifes murder, he is subjected to a brutal Eastern Block prison regime, where the dollar rules, the guards and warden are corrupt, and you sleep with one eye open. We see the gradual deterioration of an outwardly "normal" man, whose only means of survival is to become one of the cruel and violent inmates he has come to despise. The fight sequences are short, snappy, brutal and bloody (no box splits, or flying spinning back kicks here) and the viewer is immersed into the savage world of gangs, violence, and desperation. "In Hell" is an apt title, but the film has some surprising twists, and different outcome to what one might expect, and is well directed and well scripted throughout. Hardly an original story, but the European makeover adds another dimension to a standard prison flick of say "Lock Up" or many others. On the whole, I recommend this movie, and hope to see Van Damme continue to develop his characters in this way. I've always enjoyed his other, and often more aimless fight movies so felt a teeny bit agrieved at the lack of martial arts, but overall the movie is pretty darn good. Enjoy!"