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Ghost Canyon

'Lock Up: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital]
(Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, John Amos, Sonny Landham, Tom Sizemore, et al / 2-Disc + Digital / R / (1989) 2019 / Lionsgate Films)

Overview: "This is hell and I’m going to give you a guided tour!” With these chilling words, the warden (Donald Sutherland) welcomes Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) to Gateway Prison, a nightmare jail where every minute is hard time.

The warden wants vengeance for the past; Leone wants only to survive the present. Their explosive battle of wills is the electrifying heart of one of Stallone’s most heroic thrillers, 'Lock Up'.

Stallone gives a monumental performance as Leone, a convict driven to break his own cherished code by a warden who will stop at nothing to get him.

Sutherland portrays the sadistic prison head in this riveting white-knuckle ride to hell and back.

Blu-ray Verdict: Lionsgate Films is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the recently announced ‘Lock Up' in the new 4K home video format on September 10th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Lock Up: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Lock Up' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy.

Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color.

None more so that the Reds and oranges throughout this 4K presentation that are very nicely suffused (the cherry red Mustang that plays into the plot is one very notable example).

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material.

Notably within most all the prison sequences that now attain a slight green grading isn't as evident in the 1080p presentation. There are also some interesting, if brief, pops of color in what is often a kind of wintry, tamped down palette, including a short but effective orange tinted flashback Frank experiences when he's in isolation.

As for the audio, well, we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

Additionally, the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray feature Dolby Atmos® immersive audio mixed specifically for the home, to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, Sylvester Stallone plays a mechanic serving time in a minimum-security prison. He's been a model prisoner, liked by everybody, and even allowed to leave the prison on furlough.

One night he's awakened in his bed by armed guards and forcibly taken to a maximum security prison, headed by a sadistic warden (Donald Sutherland) with an ax to grind with Sly.

He's told he will have to serve out the remainder of his sentence there and Sutherland makes it clear life will be hell for him.

Sly's terrific. He's always been an underrated actor. Sutherland, as he often does, overacts and uses at least three different accents before settling on one.

Since Sutherland is hardly a physical threat to Stallone, but his performance as the soul-crushing Warden is superlative. At every point in the film, you want to hate this evil character.

They also added Sonny Landham as the tough-ass prisoner who torments our hero with the always-brilliant Tom Sizemore in as a snitch.

John Amos plays a guard who seems bad but turns out to be okay. My favorite character was probably Frank McRae as a huge prisoner who comes to Sly's aid ("F train, son. F train.").

What would an '80s Stallone movie be without a montage? There's a fun one here as Sly bonds with his fellow cons restoring an old car.

The supplementary characters are hilarious. but especially within that particular scene. The young 20 year-old Chink Weber, who never had the opportunity to drive a Ford Mustang, and tearfully begs Stallone to give him just ten seconds' to rev up a beat up old car in the prison garage, as he may never have the opportunity again, is stand out cheesy brilliance!

Despite being a prison flick, it's not really like the exploitation prison movies of the '70s and early '80s. Implausible to the extreme but also entertaining to the max!

In closing, not dramatic or brutal enough to be considered a serious drama, without enough action to call it an action flick, it's somewhere in between the two; but if you can ignore the implausibility of the plot, 'Lock Up' is very enjoyable.

As for the slew of Special Features included, well, sadly whilst they are all ostensibly 1080p, they are clearly upscaled from older archival video. So, grainy they might well be, but still as informative now as they were back then.

Such as both the 'Making Of' (HD: 6:35) and 'Behind the Scenes' (HD: 8:13) featurettes that both reveal the extensive ways that Stallone ensures the fight scenes are as real as possible.

The better of the two is the latter which complete with its cheesy late '80s narrative immediately makes you aware that 'Lock Up' was not only filmed within the confines of a REAL prison, but the snow scenes were real too!

In the interviews with Stallone, an obviously much younger, less grizzled Stallone, of course, he comes across as both articulate and less "slurry" - one assumes this is down to having not taken as many punches at that time as both Rambo or Rocky though!

The detailed scenes involving the game of American Football in the yard are choreographed to the extreme also, but it's the interviews (albeit just 20 seconds worth) and behind-the-scenes moments with Donald Sutherland that make these featurettes as golden today as they once were.

For he comes across, as I'm sure he is in real life, as a quite, passive, non-confrontational actor who even, whilst off set being filmed, apologizes to the camera man doing the hand held filming as he's called onto set!

s for the other interviews, well, sorry, but I'd hardly call them that, more like quick snippets of bystander chat, for the interview with Donald Sutherland is the aforementioned 21 seconds, with Sonny Landham is 42 seconds, with John Amos is just 17 seconds, and with Darlanne Fluegel at another massive 42 seconds! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• “Making of” Featurette
• “About Sylvester Stallone” Featurette
• Interview with Sylvester Stallone
• Interview with Donald Southerland
• Interview with Sonny Landham
• Interview with John Amos
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Original Trailer

Original 'Lock Up' Trailer