The 80s and 90s were the best decades for cheesy martial arts movies. I was a kid glued to the stuff. Bloodsport, Kickboxer, No Retreat No Surrender etc... and so Jean Claude Van Damme was a bloody legend to me. Surprisingly his best movie didn't come until 2003 when he teamed up with director Ringo Lam to make In Hell. This was a real sleeper movie at the time. Most of us were expecting another el-cheapo straight to video piece of shit but instead were treated to a hard-ass, no holds barred prison film. Most of the movie sticks to formula and all of the usual prison movie conventions are still there... but there's an authenticity to its aesthetic. Set in Russia and presumedly filmed there (I'll have to look into that), director Lam has made use of real locations and stripped the script back to it's gritty bare bones and avoids it being too Hollywood. The fight scenes are brutal and the acting is surprisingly good. Van Damme has made a shit load of movies (some good, many bad) but I personally consider In Hell to be his best. He's given an emotional character arc to work with that relies more on drama than it does action. If you're into macho fight flicks then this one will give you more than you bargained for.