Another little B-movie featuring Rutger Hauer. The guy from my home country that actually made it big in the US… or well, at least seems to be holding steady employment. The 80’s and early 90’s were the best years for Rutger as he headlined lots of action movies that were true B-movies. Wedlock is one of them and has Hauer in the role of diamond thief Frank Warren. Frank is double crossed on the job by fiancé Noelle and best friend Sam as they shoot him. Frank is sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment in an experimental new prison where every inmate is provided with a special collar linked to that of another inmate. When these collars are outside of a 100 years of each other they explode. The prisoners are unaware of who their “wedlock” partner is so escaping is seemingly hopeless.
Wedlock is a fun little movie that, while it makes not all of the concept, has some pretty fun moments where Frank and his wedlock partner Tracy have to go to great lengths to keep within 100 years from each other while being on the run from the authorities. At one point Tracy is being taken away in an escalator and Frank has to abseil from a building. Those are the little moments that Wedlock is the most fun. They could’ve made the movie a true nail biter if they had written a lot of these scenes and gave us characters we actually cared about.
Of course both Frank and Tracy aren’t really evil, they’re the criminals that have a sad back story. Tracy was framed by the father of her rich boyfriend into having a large amount of heroin while Frank never meant to hurt anybody while robbing some diamonds. He was just there to open the safe… he’s as innocent as the getaway driver. The true villains here are his double crossing friend and fiancé as well as the warden. How come wardens in prison movies are always as evil as hell? They never shy away from abusing their power and most of the times break more laws than the average inmate did. Since the diamonds from the heist Frank partook in were never recovered the warden is trying to torture Frank into giving him the location. When that doesn’t work he goes to a more convoluted plan.
Wedlock is by no means a great movie, but it is an enjoyable one. Hauer is less badass this time around as his character is more of a nerd who has to use his wits instead of his muscle. This also means that he can’t be as gruff as he usually portrays his characters. Because of this his non-American roots are evident. In general I never found him to be utterly convincing in American roles due to his accent. Most of the time he gets away with it, but because his character is so soft spoken in this movie it’s obvious that he probably practices his dialogue to be spoken without an accents making it feel forced. A lot of his dialogue doesn’t fell natural, but rather as if he was reading it from a cue card next to the camera.
A lot of fun from a movie like this comes from recognizing actors from a time they were young and their careers were just beginning. Stephen Tobolowsky from Glee and Californication is the warden, while Dexter’s dad Harry (James Remar) plays Sam. Joan Chen re-teams with Hauer after starring in The Salute of the Jugger while smaller parts are played by Danny Trejo, Basil Wallace and Glenn Plummer.
Wedlock lingers between being a good B-movie and being a bad A-movie. It’s preposterous and the concept has got some serious holes in it, but I must confess I was never bored. It’s a nice little movie and ideal for killing 90 minutes of your time if you’ve got nothing better to do.