Genre Guesstimation – Lock Up (1989)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre has been chosen by Jay of Life Vs. Film  We will be reviewing our favorite Prison Films.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Mar by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Jay!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Prison Films…

lock-up“You got your rules. We got ours. ” – Frank

Number of Times Seen – 2 (Cable in the 80’s and 5 Mar 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A convict in a minimum security prison is transferred to a maximum security one where the warden has it in for him.

My Take on it – This is a film that I saw years and years ago and didn’t remember anything about it.

Apparently, the reason for that is the fact that this film is really really bad.

The plot is extremely silly and has too many inconsistencies that are hard to overlook.

They must have tried to capitalize on Sylvester Stallone’s popularity at the time, but just doesn’t translate very well when viewing it nearly three decades later.

The characters all feel like ready made stereotypes for these kind of movies and they all remain rigidly in those cookie-cutter roles the whole time never wavering in any direction.

The two main characters of the film played by Stallone and Donald Sutherland are both quite laughable and it’s extremely hard taking either of them very seriously.

All that being said, it was nice to see lots of familiar faces here with John Amos, Sonny Landham, Tom Sizemore, Frank McRae and even 80’s staple girlfriend Darlanne Fluegel all appearing here.

Their presence doesn’t help the fact tho that this film’s plot is poorly executed and it still surprises me that a studio would be wiling to pay money to have this film made.  (see Trivia section below).

Bottom Line – Terrible movie because the plot is so silly.  Tries to capitalize on Stallone’s fame at the time, but 28 years later it just doesn’t work well at all.  Most of the characters feel like cookie cutter roles and the two main characters (played by Stallone and Sutherland) are basically laughable.  Nice to see familiar faces in supporting roles, but overall, it doesn’t help the fact that this film is just completely off it’s rocker.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Director John Flynn has said of this movie, in a 2005 interview with Harvey F. Chartrand for Shock Cinema: “Lock Up (1989) is a strange lesson in how Hollywood movies are made. Stallone had a ‘window’ which means the guy was available for a certain window of time. Larry Gordon [Lawrence Gordon] had a terrible script set in a prison. Stallone calls James Woods and asks if I’m any good as a director. Woods says yeah, he’s a good director and you ought to work with him. So we have a director and a star, but no script. All we have is a theme – a guy escaping from prison. So we hire Jeb Stuart, who was then one of the hottest writers in Hollywood, to rewrite the script and we go off looking for prison locations. Now we have a star, a theme, a shooting date, a budget, a studio, but we still have no script. So we all go back to New York City, and move into a hotel where Larry ‘tortures’ Jeb and Henry Rosenbaum into writing a script in record time. Meanwhile, I’m going around scouting prisons. We finally found one in Rahway, New Jersey. Jeb and Henry were writing the script as we were making the movie. New pages would come in every day. There was one day when I was on the third tier of a cell-block in Rahway Penitentiary and I had nothing to shoot. I had my movie star, all these extras and a great location – and the pages were on their way. So we sat around and bullshitted with the prisoners. Stallone is a smart guy and a very underrated actor. If I ever needed a better line, he’d come up with one. Stallone is a really hard worker. I had no problem whatsoever with him”. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Not at all.  This film was too cheesy and pretty much a waste of time.

Rating – Razzie Worthy


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3 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – Lock Up (1989)

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur March Finale – White Heat (1949) – Life Vs. Film |

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1989 |

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