Lock Up (1989) 4k Release

Directed By: John Flynn

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, John Amos, Sonny Landham, Frank McCrae, Darlanne Fluegel, Tom Sizemore, Larry Romano

Synopsis: “This is hell and I’m going to give you a guided tour!”

With these chilling words, the warden (Donald Sutherland) welcomes Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) to Gateway Prison, a nightmare jail where every minute is hard time. The warden wants vengeance for the past; Leone wants only to survive the present. Their explosive battle of wills is the electrifying heart of one of Stallone’s most heroic thrillers, LOCK UP. Stallone gives a monumental performance as Leone, a convict driven to break his own cherished code by a warden who will stop at nothing to get him. Sutherland portrays the sadistic prison head in this riveting white-knuckle ride to hell and back.

Review: This was a complete throwback for me, I had not seen Lock Up in years, so when the opportunity came my way to review the 4k release I couldn’t resist.

I honestly couldn’t remember much about this or about Stallones character. I found Leone a character to root for right from the start. Also having Bill Conti doing the music made Leone feel like a cousin of Rocky’s. With Leone being such a nice guy and model prisoner you can only guess its a matter of time before someone throws a spanner in the works. That spanner thrower comes in the form of warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland) who had a previous run in with Leone and blames him for ruining his career. Donald Sutherland was perfect casting and Drumgoole is a character you hate through and through, he is such a sly and weasely man with no morales. Drumgoole makes sure prison big bad Chink Weber (Sonny Landham) gives Leone the worst of the worse treatment in order to make him snap and extended his sentence.

In the midst of a prison drama there is some light hearted moments that bring a smile to your face. It comes in the form of watching Leone and some of the guys he has befriended build a Ford Mustang up from scratch, we get a Rocky-esque montage of them building up the car which is enjoyable and really adds a sense of lightness and joy to the movie. Obviously that joyeous moment is short lived it did lift spirits.

I found myself really feeling sorry for Leone as the most part of the film is watching such a likeable character get tormented, bullied and tortured for the whole movie. Even though the audience knows Leone can handle his own, he never rises to the occasion and basically takes everything he gets, only to get back up and brush it all off, which starts to earn him respect from inmates and also some guards can see he is clearly being psychologically and physically tortured for Drumgoole’s amusement.

I loved the movie and found myself rooting for Leone the whole time, Sylvester Stallone has always been able to add that little bit extra to characters he portrays, it’s not often Stallone would phone-in a performance, he is always showing us while being a top action star he is also a terrific actor who has the ability to bring characters too life.

The new restoration was a joy to watch, I own the DVD copy so viewing this I was blown away but how clear and crisp everything was. The picture is unbelievable you can see every sweat bead dripping down a characters face, the dark shots you know longer need to start adjusting your TV settings for, the lighting in dark rooms where there is only a haunting red light on in the background to give an eery effect finally come through and give us clearer idea of the hell that was intended to be seen. Which wasn’t all that clear on previous copies.

We’re also treated to upgraded audio which makes everything come together in a truly epic way. Bill Conti’s score blasting away while Sly and the guys are fixing the car was a true highlight and seeing the red Mustang in 4K and hearing the engine roar was almost like you were there with them.

Studio Canal have truly out done themselves with this remastered version of Lock Up and I hope that they continue to upgrade more classic movies from the back catalogue of movie gems that are now dated in sound and picture. Too make this restoration even more complete we are treated to some awesome special special features which include

°Making Of
°Sylvester Stallone Profile
°Behind the Scenes
°Sylvester Stallone
°Donald Sutherland
°Sonny Landham
°John Amos


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