Lock Up Reviews
Lock Up (1989)
D: John Flynn
W: Richard Smith, Jeb Stuart, Henry Rosenbaum
C: Donald E. Thorin
S: Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, John Amos, Darlanne Fluegel, Frank McRae, Sonny Landham, Tom Sizemore, Larry Romano, William Allen Young , Jordan Lund, Tony Lip, Danny Trejo
R: Highly under-rated prison drama with Stallone in top form as Frank Leone, a model prisoner nearing the end of his sentence. Warden Drumgoole (Sutherland) has Frank transferred to to maximum security Gateway Prison, where he plans on putting Frank through hell for a past jail break under his watch. While at Gateway, Frank befriends Dallas, Eclipse and First Base, a 20 year old inmate who was sentenced to life in prison. Drumgoole enlists Chink Weber (Landham) as his yard boss. Chink goads Frank and tries to break his spirit, but Frank refuses to play Drumgoole's game, vowing to serve his time and reunite with his girlfriend. While incarcerated, Frank is routinely abused by the prison guards, who are headed by Captain Meissner. Frank spends time in the garage, where he and others help Eclipse restore a vintage sports car. After Third Base takes the car for a joyride through the yard, Drumgoole has the car destroyed and gives Frank 6 weeks of solitary confinement. Afterwards, Frank
attempts to escape, convinced that his girlfriends life is in jeopardy.
This is an extremely well-made prison-drama. The script is well-constructed and John Flynn's direction is right on the money. Stallone, in one of his best roles, delivers the goods and gets excellent support right across the board. Sutherland is memorable as the sadistic warden, McRae as the veteran inmate, Sizemore as the loud mouth and Amos stands out as Captain Meissner, who looks at Drumgoole's methods in disgust. The other asset here is Bill Conti's effective score, which balances the drama with the plight of the protagonist. We also get a trademark Stallone montage to The Ides of March classic, "Vehicle". For all the poor reviews out there, I have to stick with my gut reaction here. This is a top-knotch genre pic with heart and conviction.