From the Vault: Wedlock (1991) Simon Fitzjohn April 27, 2014 From The Vault 2945 “We’ve got the best ball and chain there is – your ass.” That line, voiced by prison warden Holliday (Stephen Tobolowsky) tells you everything you need to know about Wedlock – a trashy, camp, violent and thoroughly entertaining romp. Released back in 1991, when Rutger Hauer could still be called upon as a bankable star (well, sort of), this really is the sort of stuff they don’t seem to make any more. Hauer stars as Frank Warren, a tech-wizard turned thief who stages an elaborate diamond heist in the film’s opening scenes. All sounds good, only for Warren’s partners in crime, Noelle and Sam (Joan Chen and James Remar) to set him up and leave him for dead. Hauer survives, only to be shipped off to a futuristic prison where inmates are fitted with hi-tech collars. Turns out the inmates all have a prison partner, and if their collars stray further than 100 yards away from each other, their collars explode turning their brains to mush. The real catch though, is that no one knows who their partner is, leaving a system where no one dares escape, or allow anyone else to. Wouldn’t you know though,Warren finds out who his partner is – Tracy Riggs (Mimi Rogers) and together they bust loose and go on the run, chased down by both Tobolowsky’s goons and Noelle and Sam, who are eager to locate the $25 million he stashed away. Directed by Lewis Teague, who made his name on horror fare like Alligator, Cujo and Cat’s Eye, Wedlock starts with a bang and pretty much goes from there. There are plenty of impressively staged action sequences, with that vibe of ‘casual violence’ that infused so much late 80s and early 90s action cinema. There is also a substantial amount of comedy in the script – some unintentional, but most of it oh-so intentional. Hauer plays his role with relish, although the supposed romantic liaison between him and Rogers is remarkably restrained. The collars themselves, pretty much the selling point of the flick, are innovative enough and in many ways are the precursor to the Battle Royale weapons. And don’t even get me started on Basil Wallace’s prison heavy ‘Emerald’, a character so camp that he appears to have walked in from the set of some dodgy 70s euroflick. That being said, that merely adds to the fun factor that leaves Wedlock a massively enjoyable 90-minute ride.