A Decent, If Far-Fetched, Prison Drama
Zachary Koenig | Forest Lake, MN | 07/10/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When you really think about it, there are not too many "prison films" that are below average in terms of overall quality. Just by myself, I can think of three (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest) that are spectacular. This film won't break that trend, but it just barely squeaks by in the task.
For a basic plot summary, Lock Up sees Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone), a minimum-security prisoner, transported to a "hard time" type facility by Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland), who is intent on torturing Leone for a past transgression. While in the slammer, Leone is pushed to the very brink of his sanity, and quite possibly beyond.
In terms of overall quality, this movie isn't all that bad at all. It has some decent drama, some funny/interesting characters, and at least a semblance of a romantic angle that will emotionally draw some people into the film. Of course, for action/Stallone buffs, there are plenty of fight scenes and muscle-bearing to satisfy you, too.
Here is the main problem that bogs this movie down to "average": the "relationship" between Leone and Drumgoole (the key players in the film) is so far-fetched as to be laughable. The Warden explicitly orders both the physical and emotional torture of Leone time and time again, to the point where I could not believe that even the most sadistic of Wardens could ever get away with something like that. Sutherland's character is turned into little more than a grinning, glaring, Nazi-like figure with no other dimensions.
Thus, if you are a big fan of this type of "behind bars" drama, this movie will likely do it for you. If not, though, it can be skipped due to its inane main plot and sparing emotional depth."