If you've seen one prison movie, you've seen them all, right? Wrong! Go make your popcorn and listen because I'm trying to "do you a solid" here. What about the movies, "Escape from Alcatraz" or "The Great Escape," you might ask? I hear you, but set aside Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen for a moment, because once you've seen "Cell 211," you may just realize you've been "talking out of the side of your neck."
It is Juan Oliver's first day as a prison guard at a maximum, high-security facility. While the old guards show him around and joke about the inmates, a riot breaks out in another part of the prison. A guard is knocked down as an inmate grabs his keys. More and more angry inmates spill out of their cells. Fires are set as guards in riot gear try to contain the prisoners. But when Juan is hit on the head by falling debris and loses consciousness, the guards panic! With a band of angry inmates coming right at them, they drag their new comrade in a cell, slam the door and run.
Juan awakens in a dark cell to the smell of urine and sounds of chaos. Confused, his head throbbing, face down and grit in his teeth, Juan realizes his only hope of survival--either become an inmate and live or die a prison guard on his first day at work!
Juan soon comes face to face with Malamadre, the "baddest of the bad" who has the power to get whatever he wants. Surrounded by prisoners with fists in the air, Malamadre booms out his plan for a total takeover. Hoping to win Malamadre's trust and buy himself more time, Juan ventures to point out a hole in the plan. The room falls dead silent. Juan knows the prison layout, its security devices and the politics of negotiating, but will this knowledge help him? Or, is it just a matter of time before he is found out? To make things even more problematic, the media arrives and starts broadcasting outside the prison. The inmates gather around the TV jeering and whistling at the pretty female newscaster who is interviewing some guards from earlier in the day. Hey, check out this bitch! Shhhhh... But wait, man, that new guard looks like... naw, Malamadre's pet boy? No way! Yeah, but look, Dude... as all eyes turn toward Juan.