Locked Down (2010)
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While this movie is a cliché of the genre (guy in prison fights to survive in illegal prison matches), it isn't unoriginality that necessarily spoils it because even original ideas can be executed badly. By the same token, old ideas can be done well. If you like clear, methodical, workman-like exchanges in your fight scenes you might not be happy with the "music video-editing-and-effects-type" of fighting employed here. Mind you, I think the music in this movie is good, and I like music videos --BUT-- this was a bit much. The whole film in retrospect seemed to me like one very long music video even though there were actually scenes without music. I wonder why?
Further, because of the way certain things were thoughtlessly thrown into this movie it seems to me that the people who made it were being exploitive and were probably using a formula directed at the younger crowd: hard rock and rap, visual effects (lots of slow mo & fast mo), and a little T&A thrown into the mix for good measure. So. Music, ass-whippings, and ass. A formula for success, no? "Not necessarily" is what this movie proves.
Instead of loud music, video editing and effects, the fight scenes should have been bare and workman-like; just 2 guys in a cage, mano a mano, showing their technique and the size of their balls with the only sound coming from their contacts and the crowd watching. This, by itself, with the same tired story-line would have been a great improvement. That said, the movie is not "worthless". It can provide "light entertainment" for the individual who just wants to kickback and not think too much. As well, if you can't get enough of music videos and don't mind your movie essentially turning into one, you could get something from this.
The guy wrongly convicted
The sadistic guard
The clueless or corrupt warden
The prison bully
The helpful cell-mate
The mess hall encounter
The showdown at the end
Can anyone put the list above to music? It should be a song by now. Love, Boloxxxi.
By the way, I noted that IMDb has a bio on Tony, and after a bit of checking, I have concluded that it's mostly (if not entirely) fictitious.
He claims to be a world champion Karateka, but doesn't include what organization, style or any other details. The bio is done by some company in England that I am pretty sure is his own as they have not reviewed anyone else on IMDb. He's got videos on You Tube titled "World Champion" consisting of a few seconds of blurry action in some sort of local karate tournament, with rave reviews by people that I can only assume are himself. All in all... really cheap.
Which brings me to the last point. Action. All the fighting looks like it's done by drunk bears. Repetitive screaming and waving your arms around is not martial arts.
On the other hand... if you really like bad movies, this is likely the worst, so it's got that going for it.
If you have seen Undisputed 2 you have seen this movie as well.
Undisputed 2 is much better.
The acting is just bad... The speech is not smooth, it is as if they are still reading their lines, the fight scenes for the most part are not fluid and hugely tell tell signs of choreograph; I don't even know why they even both to pull punches any decent fighter can see it moving in slow motion with plenty of time to counter.
Don't bother to watch this movie if only for your favorite MMA fighter, they just have a short intro cameo.
basically it is a CRAPPY version of undisputed 2.
Yes more of the budget could have been allocated towards enhancing the production value but ultimately this hits all the key notes of an 80's formula martial arts film......a simple story that creates the backdrop from which to thread together the escalating fight sequences which attract viewers to this genre.
If you're looking for a serious action film in the frame of "Bourne Identity" or even "The Expendables" then this isn't for you........if however you're in the mood for cheap thrills and casual amusement then this could be a ride worth taking.
Vinnie Jones continues to deliver his trademark edgy persona as Tony Schiena uses the platform to showcase his potential to grow into a genuine Action Star in the guise of Viggo Mortensen.
Then you don't even have one single picture of the hero on the cover... not even on the back cover... LOL. As a fighter he was OK, but his acting was indeed not really good, even if he has that deep voice. I saw worst but saw way better. Vinnie Jones is believable in the role of the big bad, he do an OK job. As for the MMA fighters... there basically cannon fodder... Anyway lets say the plot is super classic, yet correct, the fights are decent yet they could had been way better... add some TnA scenes for the young Males, and you have a fighting movie in the "tournament style" that i would call decent yet not impressive.
The plot, like many of these pictures, is nothing special: Danny (Tony Schiena) is a respected cop whose set up and taken to prison. In this prison, underground cage fights are being orchestrated by an ruthless crime lord named Anton Vargas (Vinnie Jones), and it's not long until Danny is forced to participate. Good thing for him that he's got a trainer in his cellmate Irving (Voice Actor Dave Fennoy.) Can Danny make it out alive? Can his innocence be proved? Why are so many Mixed Martial Arts stars promoted, yet only given small roles?
Before I get to the good and bad, I think it should be noted that MMA stars Kimbo Slice and Rashad Evans are on the DVD and Blu-Ray covers. This is notable because the image of Kimbo used is the same one used for the box art of "Circle of Pain", only it's now kinda in the background. I don't know whether I should shake my head at how cheap this is, or if I should applaud it.
Now, onto the nitty gritty. For the bad, well, there's plenty bad about this movie. While the production values have improved, the action scenes are now shot with super slow motion and music video techniques, which is kind of annoying. Also, Bai Ling is in it, but not for very long, and she was obviously cast just so she can get naked. Plus, she clearly seems like she doesn't want to be in this, and that she'd rather be doing something that's at least a little more dignified.
Apart from that, it's the usual complaints you hear about these "Tapout Presents" movies - mostly wooden performances, the fact that Mixed Martial Arts stars are promoted as being in it, yet not given much to do other than fight and curse (though that's for the best, as Kimbo Slice delivers his dialog with all the conviction of a 12 year old), throwing in more gratuitous than usual sex and nudity (why do these things keep briefly turn into something resembling a soft core Cinemax movie?), a horrible script, more clichés than most action movies, terrible Nu-Metal, Pseudo-Grunge and Hip Hop blaring in the soundtrack, etc. Then there's Tony Schiena himself. It's obvious that the director and producers (all 22 of them - yes, a total of 22 people are credited as producers) want him to be some kind of action star, but he's just not that convincing as a bad ass or an actor to achieve such status.
Now, for the few positives. As I mentioned, the production values have improved, as it now more resembles a movie than it does a music video or soft core flick in those regards - director Zirilli actually makes something out of his limited budget, and makes something that looks more expensive than it probably was. Also, the score actually resembles a film score for a change, and what do you know, there's more than one good to passable performance in this. Of course, it's Vinnie Jones who steals the show, clearly having a ball with his role, though Fennoy actually delivers a good performance as well, doing the best with what's ultimately a really clichéd role, and Sarah Ann Schultz does a decent enough job.
I can't recommended "Locked Down" to anyone other than really undemanding fans of action/exploitation garbage. That out of the way, it's the best "Tapout Presents" movie thus far - though that's really not saying much - and it gives me at least a (most likely false) sense of hope that they'll pull off something that's at least somewhat watchable someday. It's very unlikely that will happen, but a man can hope.
Okay, so the lead was a little stiff and needed more dimension, but I saw him as a Dirty Harry-type, or Christian Bale's Batman. Vinnie Jones was great - he stole every scene he was in and he's just a great bad ass. The MMA fighters were intense and provided a better performance than I expected. Plus, I got my dose of T&A in all the right places.
If you want a re-invention of the prison fight film, then perhaps you may not rate Locked Down at the top (though it's still worth a rental if you're a fan of the genre by any stretch). But if you want your blood, action and vengeance served to you without reservations, then Locked Down is your ticket. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.