Today: April 16, 2024

Lock Up

This autumn, StudioCanal releases a brand new, uncut 4k restoration of the ‘80s cult action thriller, Lock Up, starring Sylvester Stallone at the height of his Rocky his fame.

Stallone plays Frank Leone, a model prisoner reaching the end of his sentence, who suddenly finds himself transferred to a maximum-security facility, where the prison warden, Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland), aims to settle old scores.

As would be expected from an ‘80s action-er, there’s a lot of macho-posturing and pantomime villains. But, alongside that, are some genuinely moving portrayals and well-rounded characters. Stallone plays it straight, giving a fine performance as a man who is an old school con, living by the code, and prepared to take his knocks. 

Leone’s is a world where men accept violence, buttoned-up emotions, and paying their dues as part of their existence. While it’s interesting to see such characters given more depth than is usual in this type of film, the director (John Flynn) seems to be in love with the idea of violence as a transformative experience and the cameras linger just a little too much over the torture scenes for this to be an all-together comfortable watch.

StudioCanal’s restoration is nicely-done and  limited Steelbook edition (exclusive to is joy to behold. But, sadly, Lock Up is a real mixed-bag of a film which will appeal more to Stallone fans than movie buffs.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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