What Is It With Hollywood and Prisons These Days?!
by Alex Billington
April 9, 2007
Trends have always had their place in Hollywood every single year. Last year one of the big ones was magicians (which is still not over). Not even counting the dud comedy from last year, Let's Go to Prison, there are two new plot details for big upcoming features that are both set in prison.
The first is a remake of Death Race 2000 now called Death Race 3000 directed by Alien vs Predator's Paul W.S. Anderson. The second is the superhero script from David Goyer about the Green Arrow getting sent to a super max prison. Don't get me wrong, prison movies can be awesome, just look at the original Escape from New York, but a whole Hollywood trend of them? That doesn't seem good…
In David Goyer's Super Max, the superhero Green Arrow gets wrongly accused and sent to prison, and must fight his way out. My first reaction: doesn't sound too good. And getting even worse, in Paul W.S. Anderson's Death Race 3000, in all takes place in a prison complex called Terminal Island. The race track is there and they pit high risk prisoners against each other with their tricked out cars. My first reaction: sounds like a destruction of the original. Is this a political statement on the overcrowding and lack-of-government-action towards prisons in California or is it just a bored flock of screenwriters?
Then there's the Don Cheadle upcoming project called Marching Powder about a real-life drug dealer who spent five years as a tour guide in the notorious San Pedro Prison in Bolivia.
Then there's the Will Smith upcoming project called Cooked about a chef who went to prison for dealing cocaine and in there developed a passion for cooking.
Oh and you can't forget the Escape from New York remake, which is all about New York City being one big prison, and possibly starring the one-and-only 300 star Gerard Butler.
And in just a few weeks we have a prison-like film called The Condemned, another wrestling movie like The Marine. In this one, instead of letting them wait on death row, they throw a bunch of prisoners on an island and let them battle it out to death on live television. However, this movie, is not a political statement, except that Hollywood should stop endorsing such terrible films like this!
Some trends can be good, some trends can be bad. As far as magicians go last year, that was a great trend with both The Prestige and The Illusionist, two of last year's best movies. Let's just hope the movie industry hasn't worn down prisons into boring, plot-filling settings. So far the first two movies mentioned above seem like they're unnecessarily set in a prison. Why - for what entertainment value? Hopefully some good will be found from scripts that have the right amount of solid development put into them. For now, we have yet to see.