Lock Up (film)
|Directed by||John Flynn|
|Produced by||Charles Gordon
|Written by||Richard Smith
William Allen Young
|Music by||Bill Conti|
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Editing by||Don Brochu
Robert A. Ferretti
Michael N. Knue
Barry B. Leirer
White Eagle Pictures
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures
|Running time||115 minutes|
|Box office||$22,099,847 (US)|
Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone), a skilled mechanic and football player, is a model prisoner nearing the end of his sentence in Norwood, a low-security prison. One night while sleeping in his cell, guards arrive and forcibly take Leone to maximum security Gateway Prison inside a prison transport van.
Once inside the "new" prison courtyard, Leone is hauled out of the van and made to stand in front of blinding floodlights and a ring of guards armed with shotguns. As Leone pleads with his captors and shouts,"You made a mistake!" a figure emerges from the shadows and a chilling voice responds, "There's no mistake. Welcome to Gateway, Leone." Frank immediately recognizes the voice and face as belonging to that of his former warden, tormenter and nemesis, Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland).
"Drumgoole?" asks a shocked Leone, to which the head of the guards (Captain Meissner) retorts, "That's WARDEN Drumgoole, Convict!" Leone is then dragged into the bowels of his new "home" whereupon Meissner explains that Leone will be issued only "one bar of soap per month" and "one roll of toilet paper per week" and that the prison has six "counts" per day. If Leone misses two counts, Meissner will "personally put [him] in the House of Pain." After warning Leone never to disobey orders, Meissner locks Leone in his cell and refuses to remove his handcuffs or belly-chain. Meissner tells the guards, "Let him get used to 'em." In anger and frustration, Leone yanks at the chains to no avail as other prisoners taunt and tease their new arrival. "You better watch your back, man!"
Drumgoole then calmly and slowly explains that Leone will serve hard time—it is revealed that Leone was the only person to escape from Treadmore and did so on Drumgoole's watch. Leone escaped because his mentor and friend was dying; Leone was refused even one hour to see him. Leone went to the press about the warden's treatment of his prisoners, resulting in Drumgoole's transfer to Gateway and Leone serving in minimum security before his transfer. Now, it is Drumgoole's turn to give Leone a little taste of what he endured as a result of his public shaming and humiliation. "This is hell-- and I'm going to give you the guided tour," promises the sadistic and vengeance-seeking Drumgoole.
Leone befriends fellow prisoners Dallas (Tom Sizemore), Eclipse (Frank McRae) and First-Base (Larry Romano). The foursome refurbish a Ford Mustang, which Eclipse nicknames "Maybelline." After Leone reluctantly allows First-Base to start the car he refuses to turn it off and drives the Mustang out of the garage, Drumgoole has them watch as Chink and other inmates destroy the car. As punishment, Leone is confined to solitary confinement in a small, roach-infested chamber for six weeks. Every hour, on the hour, Leone is forced awake by an ear-splitting buzzer and a blinding flash of light. Under Drumgoole's twisted orders, Leone must immediately stand, face a camera mounted inside his cell and clearly state his name and prisoner number. The hourly check-ins make it impossible for the already exhausted Leone to sleep any longer than one hour at a time. Eventually, the demented Drumgoole ratchets up Leone's torture by ordering his guards to cut the prisoner's ration of water and food by half. Finally, driven to near delirium from a lack of sleep, freezing "punishment" showers and an absence of any blankets or even a bed to sleep on, Leone forgets his name and number as he shivers before the cell camera. Drumgoole, watching Leone's suffering via the same camera, smiles grimly and the next scene cuts to show several guards armed with night sticks barging into Leone's cell. After weeks in the hole, Leone is brutally beaten by the guards who place phonebooks over Leone's quivering form in order to beat him while at the same time not leaving any marks on his body. Finally, Captain Meissner (John Amos) stops the vicious attack and orders the guards to exit Leone's prison cell. Meissner also learns that the warden ordered the assault.
Later, we find a recovered Leone about to eat his meal inside the prison cafeteria. Leone is interrupted, however, when another Gateway prisoner named Chink Weber (Sonny Landham) arrives and stands next to Leone. Chink proudly shows off his belt buckle (a Ford Mustang symbol), which he had snatched from the battered Mustang's grill earlier. Chink taunts Leone and asks him if being in the hole stole his guts and his appetite. Chink then lowers his face next to Leone's and growls, "It ain't over you son of a bitch!" Webber then snatches Leone's tray of food and walks away.
Drumgoole apparently has ordered that letters addressed to Leone from his girlfriend Melissa (Darlanne Fluegel), be stashed away, but Braden (William Allen Young), the prison's sole conscientious guard, gives them to Leone. The warden wants an excuse to slap Leone with more time, so he allows Chink and his bullying friends to kill First-Base in the gym. Leone fights and defeats Chink, but doesn't kill him because he knows that's precisely what Drumgoole wants. Then one of Chink's friends stabs Leone from behind with a shank.
Leone recovers in the prison infirmary where Wiley (John Lilla) claims to be an old friend from Treadmore. He says that Drumgoole actually has agreed to reduce Wiley's jail time if he will rape and murder Melissa. Leone goes berserk. Dallas offers to help Leone escape and plays along but eventually delivers Leone right into Drumgoole's hands.
Drumgoole says he does not make deals with prisoners; Dallas will rejoin the prison population, who now know he is a "stool pigeon." Dallas attacks Drumgoole, whose guards pummel and almost kill the snitch. The warden leaves his men to subdue Leone, who is enraged when he finds out that Drumgoole wanted him to try to escape so he would receive a mandatory 10-year sentence for the second escape attempt.
Wiley shows up as one of Drumgoole's guards. The guards attempt to shove Leone's face into a cloud of hot steam, but Leone pulls one of the guards into the steam instead. He knocks out Wiley and fights Manly (Jordan Lund), defeating him. He then goes to help Dallas, who is dying, but apologetic. Leone is then attacked from behind by Manly, but Dallas electrocutes himself and Manly with a high-voltage cable.
Enraged, Leone steals into Drumgoole's office and takes him to the room with the electric chair. Leone activates the generator and secures his hand to the switch. Captain Meissner, Braden and their men point their guns at Leone, but if he is shot he will trip the switch and kill Drumgoole. The warden confesses to his plot to increase Leone's jail time. Frank pulls the switch, but nothing happens because Leone removed the main fuse. Meissner's men cuff Frank, whom the warden orders taken to the hole. Meissner and Braden take Drumgoole into custody, though the warden insists that he merely played along with Leone.
Meissner makes a judicial inquiry into the matter, and Leone serves only the jail time required of him in the first place. Frank leaves prison to the cheers of his fellow inmates. He meets up with Eclipse one last time, and receives a Cuban cigar which supposedly was given to Eclipse by Fidel Castro. Leone parts ways with Meissner, saying that he will miss the tough captain's "incredible smile." Frank exits Gateway and embraces the waiting Melissa.
- Sylvester Stallone as Frank
- Donald Sutherland as Warden Drumgoole
- John Amos as Meissner
- Sonny Landham as Chink
- Tom Sizemore as Dallas
- Frank McRae as Eclipse
- Darlanne Fluegel as Melissa
- William Allen Young as Braden
- Larry Romano as First Base
- Jordan Lund as Manly
- John Lilla as Wiley
- Dean Duval as Ernie
- Jerry Strivelli as Louie Munafo
- David Anthony Marshall as Mastrone
- Frank Pesce as Johnson
The film was nominated for three Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor for Sylvester Stallone and Worst Supporting Actor for Donald Sutherland, but failed to win any of those categories.
Box Office 
Lock Up did poorly at the American box office, making $22,099,847.
- "Lock Up (1989) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- "Muscular Madness From Stallone in 'Lock Up'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- "Lock Up". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- "Lock Up - Rotten Tomatoes". rottentomatoes.com. IGN Entertainment. October 2007. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "Box Office Cold to Stallone's 'Lock Up' Role". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-29.