Lock Up
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $22.99 // September 10, 2019
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted September 3, 2019
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The Movie:

I seem to remember at one point that after Sylvester Stallone had done the Rocky and Rambo movies that he wanted to broaden his acting range and was taking on, well, not necessarily daring material, but different in tone compared to those that had made him a ton of cash. That's where Lock Up comes into play.

Written by Richard Smith and Jeb Stuart, the latter of whom was part of the screenwriting team that did Die Hard, John Flynn (Best Seller) directed the film where Sly plays Frank Leone, a mechanic and inmate currently serving time in a low security prison. He is transferred to a maximum security, the work of a vengeful prison warden (Donald Sutherland, Without Limits) who Frank served time under, but left and then cited the warden's dreadful conditions for inmates. The film then becomes a battle between the Stallone and Sutherland characters, emotional, psychological and eventually physical.

At the time, Lock Up certainly was some departure from Stallone's previous oeuvre, and his acting did come off as capable. It helped that he was surrounded with capable supporters like Sutherland, as well as John Amos (Coming to America), who played the head prison guard, and Sonny Landham (Predator) , who played Stallone's prison adversary. Darlanne Fluegel (Running Scared) played the romantic interest, and you can even spot a young and very thin Tom Sizemore (Heat) as the braggadocious inmate Dallas. Routes like this were ones that Arnold Schwarzenegger did with Raw Deal, where you get a decent and established ensemble so the star didn't get thrown into the deep end and generally it worked.

Setting up a stage like this, ultimately things generally return to what's made the star the star and in Lock Up, it's a goofy, pretty implausible struggle for Stallone's character to find out the truth behind his situation and to have his antagonist admit his misdeeds so he can get closure and look towards his goal (in this case, getting back to Fluegel). Sly gets a chance to be Sly in Lock Up, albeit it a muted way that still manages to cheat on the time spent with the character for the first hour and 20 minutes, and leaves a humble attempt at respectability wasted.

Sure, it would have been nice to see Stallone break into some emotional earnestness earlier in his career rather than embrace the October of his work now while still getting the chance to be a badass. And while the attempt and even effort is somewhat commendable, it doesn't detract from the fact that Lock Up was a good cinematic walk spoiled.

The Ultra HD:
The Video:

It's been awhile since I've seen Lock Up and didn't come away from it thinking it was a high definition wonder or anything. Nevertheless, the 4K UHD appears in 1.85:1 widescreen and the Dolby Vision presentation is not bad. Black levels are deep and inky during the many darker moments in the film, the light shining at Frank during his time in solitary blares in your eyes, and image detail is as good as the source material it comes from. Image contrast is better than expected and overall the UHD does breathe a certain vitality into the film.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds solid. Dialogue is consistent and requires little adjustment, the cell doors clanging shut have a touch of low end engagement, and broader sequences like the football game in the mud even have a touch of surround activity and convey some immersion. The final battle sequence have steam pulse through the channels and while the source material is a little hollow, the overall experience of the disc is fine.


A series of quick featurettes that appeared on the 2010 blu-ray, starting with a making of (6:34) on the film which is a typical EPK and includes cast thoughts on the story and characters. There is a brief interview with Stallone (3:10) where he gets to expand on those thoughts, and a "Behind the Scenes" featurette (8:12) is more of a fly on the wall during the production. Interview segments with Stallone (5:04), Sutherland (:20), Landham (:41), Amos (:17), Fluegel (:41) following, and the trailer (2:23) completes the package.

Final Thoughts:

Well, the decision to give Lock Up a 4K treatment was certainly curious, but the film looks and sounds good on the platform, even if the movie itself is subpar. The extras are a port though there is some video quality breakdown on some of the interview segments. If you're that into seeing unsatisfactory films in an ultra high-definition platform then…go to this I guess? Otherwise, check out something else and be happy with your choices.

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