DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

HANGFIRE (director: Peter Maris; screenwriter: Brian D. Jeffries; cinematographer: Mark Morris; editor: Alex Renskoff/Peter Maris; music:  Jim Price; cast: George Kennedy (Warden E. Barles), Lee De Broux (Kuttner), James Tolkan (Patch), Kim Delaney (Maria Slayton), Yaphet Kotto (Police Lieutenant ), Jan-Michael Vincent (Lieutenant Colonel Johnson), Brad Davis (Sheriff Ike Slayton), Ken Foree (Billy), Lyle Alzado (Albert), Lou Ferrigno (Smitty), Peter Lupis (Sgt. Conlan); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Brad Krevoy/Steve Stabler; RCA; 1991)

"Routine, watchable and efficient prison escape film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Routine, watchable and efficient prison escape film. Peter Maris ("Alien Species"/"Ministry of Vengeance") competently directs.

Dangerous serial killer rapist Kuttner (Lee De Broux) leads a New Mexico prison break when a tanker truck crashes on the prison grounds. Kuttner takes with him several other cons. They hijack a crowded prison bus and take over the village of Sonora, holding its fifty residents as hostage. The National Guard is called in, as is the state police lieutenant (Yaphet Kotto). The no-nonsense gung-ho commander (Jan-Michael Vincent) and the local sheriff (Brad Davis, died shortly after the film's release) are Nam vets, which somehow makes this stand-off a metaphor about the Gulf War to the critics. Heroics by the local lawmen, the sheriff and his Nam army pal (Ken Force), results in the conflict drawn to a safe conclusion and the rescue of the sheriff's hostage-held prison psychologist wife (Kim Delaney). In contrast, the National Guard is depicted as inept.

The warden is played by George Kennedy. Strongmen Lyle Alzado, Peter Lupis and Lou Ferrigno have cameos.

REVIEWED ON 4/8/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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