Friday, 12 August 2011

Review - Lock Up (1989 - Dir. John Flynn)

And so we come to the final instalment of The 80s Prison Season. Phew. I've decided to finish with Lock Up because it's got one of the most corrupt Warden/Guard combos in film history. Plus, I had to end on a severely cheesy note and this contains more cheese than a Cheese String (not hard considering they're made from barely edible plastic that's been rubbed between pensioners' toes).

Sylvester Stallone plays Frank Leone, a Vauxhall Conference league criminal, who is doing porridge in a low security prison. Not for long though, because he mysteriously gets transferred to a high security facility run by Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland). It transpires that Frank escaped from the Warden's previous prison and wrecked his career. Drumgoole is mildly tetchy about these occurrences to say the least. 

Easily the best thing about the film, Drumgoole and his two main guard cohorts break many human rights and obviously enjoy it. They nearly gas Frank in a delousing chamber. They deprive Frank of sleep and then batter him with truncheons for a bit. They allow the death of Frank's friend at the hands of Mr Big, Chink Weber (Sonny Landham - Predator). They threaten to rape and murder Frank's girlfriend just to goad him into trying to escape. As you can see, you wouldn't recommend them for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Stallone is as you'd expect. He gives an absolutely cringeworthy speech mid-way through and is involved in most of the cheesier moments, the American football game being a prime example. For all its cheese, there are some darker moments. Someone gets killed in a weights room, obviously, but not Death By Shank. It is a harsher death than you would expect, due to the tone of the rest of the film. 

Lock Up has loads of the features from the Prison Checklist and is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours, if only for the sadistic guard performances. 

If you want to try and work out what the next two seasons are, here are a couple of clues. Both seasons have direct links to Lock Up through the actors. One of them is John Amos who played the harsh but ultimately fair Captain Meissner. Hmm, intriguing.

If you like this you could also try:
An Innocent Man, Bad Boys, Tango and Cash.

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