Chicago kid Mick O’Brien (Sean Penn) is sent to a juvenile prison for vehicular manslaughter. Unfortunately, the person he has killed is the kid brother of his nemesis Paco Moreno (Esai Morales), who vows revenge by raping Mick’s girlfriend (Ally Sheedy).
Paco is caught and sent to the same prison where he reworks his revenge plan, and Mick has no choice but to defend himself and fight for survival.
The prison guards preside sincerely but ineffectually over a reign of terror enforced by the toughest kids in the prison. Violence and sexual crimes are commonplace. The strongest survive.
This situation is complicated, of course, by the fact that everyone in the prison immediately knows that Mick and Paco will have to fight to the death over their feud of honour.
Littered with violence and flashy direction from Rick Rosenthal (Halloween II), this can be hard to stomach but does boast an early strong, neurotic performance from Penn, who has since gone on to impress both in front of and behind the camera.
Eric Gurry steals scenes as Penn’s crafty bunkmate, Horowitz.
Robert Lee Rush