CANNON MONTH: Penitentiary III (1987)

Five years after we last saw Martel “Too Sweet” Gordone (Leon Issac Kennedy), he’s back in jail after being framed for murder. And by set up, Too Sweet is given some PCP in his water bottle during a boxing match and he turns his opponent El Cid’s (Madison Campudoni) brains into so much jelly.

Who would set up our hero in such a way? Serenghetti (Anthony Geary, yes, Luke from General Hospital) who makes a team of fighters in the big house that once a year challenges the warden’s (Ric Mancini) team of fighters.

The last thing Too Sweet wants to do is ever box again with blood on his hands, so he sends The Midnight Thud to assault our hero and take his manhood. Fog surrounds the jail cell, we hear bestial growling and then realize that Thud is played by Raymond Kessler, who you may know better as small size wrestler The Haiti Kid. Yes, a small but feral beast is unleashed for eight minutes of battle and wow. Just wow.

By the end of the movie, the crack smoking Thud — he smokes so much that he kills the rats in his cell — trains Too Sweet through yoga as he goes for revenge, as his cellmate Roscoe (Steve Antin, Rick from The Last American Virgin and the brother of New York Doll Robin Antin) has been beaten unmericful by another PCP fighter See Veer (Danny Trejo).

This movie has it all and by all, I mean Rick Zumwalt (Bull Hurey in Over the Top) as a prison guard, Magic Schwarz (Stone Cold, Mad Dog Joe DeCurso in Grunt! The Wrestling Movie) as Hugo the final boss, Too Sweet in a leather codpiece/Bruce Lee outfit, Geary having a luxury cell with a French chef and a trans lover, Zap from American Gladiators, female boxers decided to stop fighting and instead start kissing and boxing matches that feel more like pro wrestling.

Jamaa Fanaka directed and wrote all three movies in this series as well as Welcome Home Brother Charles and Street Wars. Somehow, this series went for urgent melodrama to a Mr. T appearance to this and I’m there for all of it.

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