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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Lock Up (1989)

Lock Up (1989)

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Released 24-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-xXx; Vertical Limit
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 103:48
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Flynn
White Eagle
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Donald Sutherland
John Amos
Tom Sizemore
Darlanne Fluegel
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Bill Conti

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Lock Up is a tense and rather violent prison movie in which Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) appears to be the most unlucky guy in the world. Frank is a hard-working battler in jail for beating someone up, and with his time almost up he has a lot to look forward to, such as his girlfriend (Darlanne Fluegel) and his own garage.

    However, he is transferred from his current minimum security prison to the hell of a maximum security prison run by warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland) who holds a serious grudge against him. Drumgoole is out to pay back Frank for a past incident, and attempts anything and everything to hurt and provoke Frank into either killing or attempting to escape.

    I actually found this movie to be quite enjoyable, with many tense and exciting moments. It also has its share of feel-good moments, as are required in any prison movie that shows the bonding between the inmates. The character of Drumgoole, however, seemed a little over-the-top, and it is hard to believe that someone would go to such measures to pay someone back for a past embarrassing incident. I actually thought that Stallone performed fairly well, and Lock Up is certainly better than the later Rocky and Rambo movies.

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Transfer Quality


    For a movie that is getting on to 14 years old, the video transfer is quite good. The movie is presented in the same aspect ratio as its theatrical release (1.85:1), and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness level varies during the movie, but for the most part it is acceptable, with some moments where the sharpness is excellent. There is some grain present throughout the movie, but is not bad for a movie of this age. The black level, however, is not particularly good. There are quite a number of scenes during the night and in dark areas, and many of these appear greyish in nature. Some low level noise contributes to the poor look during darker scenes and shadow detail is also lacking.

    Colour is fairly natural throughout the movie with accurate skin tones. The movie has a rather bleak colour scheme with lots of depressing browns and greys, but this is probably intentional to convey the bleakness of the prison location of the movie. In fact, other colours, such as the red beanies of some of the prisoners, appear surprisingly bright against such a dull backdrop.

    Film artefacts such as black and white specks are minimal, with only one or two instances where I was distracted by them. I was pleasantly surprised to find no discernible instances of aliasing or edge enhancement during the movie.

    English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, and Portuguese subtitles are provided (has anyone actually done a survey to see if anyone out there actually uses these subtitles?). I had a look at the English subtitles and there were many occasions when they were shortened versions of what was actually being said, and one or two occasions when no subtitles were displayed for on-screen dialogue.

    This is a single layered disc, and therefore it has no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     An English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s) audio track is provided. Overall, the audio is lacklustre for an action movie and could have been better.

    Dialogue is clear (apart from the difficulty, at times, in understanding Sly) with no discernible audio synchronisation problems. I must say that I quite liked the music score by Bill Conti, with the quiet introductory theme in the opening credits being my favourite. The themes during the tense scenes suited them well, providing an extra sense of urgency.

    Some sound effects during the movie, such as many of the punching noises, sounded rather hollow and did not provide the impact that I assume would have been desired from these scenes. However, this is most likely due to the source material and is not a fault of the transfer itself.

    Surround activity was limited, although on a number of occasions the surrounds would spring to life with ambient noise such as the rain at 38:40, and the music score at 41:19. It would have been nice to see more surround activity to reflect the loud nature of the prison inmates and some of the action scenes.

    The subwoofer did not appear to have all that much to do during the movie. It did come to life on a small number of occasions to support the action scenes, but for the most part was inactive.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The only extras provided on this disc are the theatrical trailers for the movies xXx and Vertical Limit.

    The video and audio quality for the xXx trailer is excellent. The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, is 16x9 enhanced, and is crisp and highly detailed. This is coupled with sensational and continuous surround activity. The subwoofer also gets a serious workout with the large number of stunts and explosions depicted. This is what a modern trailer should be.

    The video quality of the Vertical Limit trailer is not up to the standard of the xXx trailer, with a few film artefacts popping up. However the audio is just as good. The video is also presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     It appears that the Region 4 version misses out on a Making Of featurette, some cast and crew notes, production notes, and Spanish subtitles. The Region 1 and Region 2 releases miss out on nothing. According to internet sources, these extra features are not all that interesting, so I would still recommend the Region 4 version.


    I found Lock Up to be quite an enjoyable movie, although it is hard to believe that a prison warden could have that much power and be that sadistic. The movie certainly has its exciting and tense moments, and the feel-good ending will make sure almost anyone watching the movie will go away with a smile.

    The video quality is quite good for a movie of this age, and sometimes surprises in its clarity. Of course, it is much better than the old VHS copy that I bought at a second hand store.

    The audio is satisfactory, but could have been better.

    The extras have nothing to do with the movie itself, but they are presented with excellent video and audio quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
SpeakersKef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System

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