Henri Charr’s “Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars” (aka “Banished Behind Bars”) is one of the most nineties straight to video movies ever released. It’s a rip off of “Bad Boys” that pits nothing but gorgeous blond women against one another in a women’s prison and forces them to fight it out for control and petty grudges. Henri Charr’s crime thriller is surprisingly convoluted, but one that also gets a free pass for being one of the last of its kind before the early aughts indie resurgence of women in prison films.
As children April and May were sold off by their drug addicted stepfather Sam, to strangers in exchange for drug money. Their dad murders their mother during an abusive fit prompting a long running grudge from young April. Years later, May has grown in to a law abiding woman raised by well off parents, while April is an outlaw, biker, and vicious criminal. While traveling through America from England, May is taken by long lost sister April and introduced to her pretty reckless lifestyle. Though April is committed to crime, partying, and sex, May still loves her dearly, and April is intent on helping her seal old wounds.
April tracks down their long lost stepfather intent on killing him for murdering their mother and selling them off. After he’s accidentally shot while resisting, April flees, leaving May to take the wrap for the crime. May is sent to prison, refusing to sell out her older sister, and runs afoul a group of other female prisoners, all of whom want to murder her. To provide back up, April commits a crime prompting her own imprisonment, and she soon begins teaming up with May to help defend herself, and prevent an inevitable murder. All the while May garners the affections of a lawyer who is anxiously trying to free her before any attempt is made on her life.
Like most films of this ilk, “Cellblock Sisters” garners your typical gratuitous nudity, a ton of lesbian overtones, and even one or two pointless soft core sex scenes. To Charr’s credit he at least tries to deliver an action packed and entertaining prison thriller, with a ton of beautiful, made up, and blow dried women mashing elbows and beating on one another in showers. One of the many redeeming factors that keep “Banished Behind Bars” from being a solid PM Entertainment Entry is the performance by Gail Harris. As the rough neck biker April, she achieves a level of viciousness and charisma that makes her a very entertaining anti-hero.
It’s a shame “Banished Behind Bars” is out of print and very obscure, as it deserves a special DVD or Blu-Ray release very soon as it’s solid and action packed women in prison cinema.