Not your typical women-in-prison exploitation scuzzfest
Concrete Jungle, Sweet young Elizabeth (a fine and sympathetic performance by Tracey E. Bregman) gets sent to a brutal women’s penitentiary after she gets caught carrying coke for no-count drug dealer boyfriend Danny (a nicely slimy turn by Peter Brown). While behind bars Elizabeth runs afoul of both ruthless top con Cat (a deliciously vicious and predatory portrayal by Barbara Luna) and stern corrupt warden Fletcher (well played with cold conviction by Jill St. John).
Director Tom DeSimone not only keeps the compelling story moving at a constant pace and stages a few exciting cat fights with aplomb, but also offers a gritty tone along with a pretty grim and fairly realistic depiction of the harsh world of prison that for the most part avoids the more trashy and exploitative aspects of the babes-behind-bars genre. Bregman makes for an appealing wide-eyed innocent heroine who becomes tougher and smarter as the plot unfolds; she receives sturdy support from June Barrett as the lethal Icy, Aimee Eccles as the mean Spider, Sondra Currie as the friendly Katherine, Robert Miano as loathsome rapist guard Stone, Niki Dantine as pathetic junkie Margo, and Nita Talbot as earnest social worker Shelly Meyers. Andrew W. Friend’s slick cinematography provides an impressive polished look. A sold and satisfying little B-flick.