In the opening credits of Felon, stuntman turned director Ric Roman Waugh is careful to let us know that the film is “based on actual events.” When have we ever known a former stuntman to lie?

When an accidental murder lands Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff) in California’s Corcoran State Prison, he struggles to adapt to the brutalities of prison life. Guards are corrupt, race decides everything and violence is the only route to peaceful negotiation. Some of the more intense scenes involve the inmates fighting to the death while the guards place wagers.

Felon is a convincing film. I wanted to believe that man’s inhumanity towards man is exposed when under the right circumstances; in this case, four cement walls, constant isolation and daily supervision. Still, I found it rather laughable that a stable, loving father like Wade Porter could be seamlessly transformed into a savagely violent beast in no more than fifteen months.

Grade: C

Felon releases in select theaters July 18.