Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The name of the movie is ‘Locked Down’ and it’s a Tapout productions joint. With that knowledge, class, what do we know before we slip out the shiny disk and slide it into our DVD player? Three things. We know we are going to see some suspect fight sequences, we know that we are going to be blessed with MMA stars who can’t really act and we know that we are going to see some titties. And we also are going to see the latest in Tapout haute couture. I’m getting sick of begging for stuff because nobody ever gives me nuthin’ but one would think as voraciously as I support Tapout and their extremely suspect beatemups that somebody would send me some gear. A hoodie? A skully perhaps? I get nothing.

As ‘Locked Down’ opens we witness a drug deal going down. While a stripper is performing for some homeless looking dudes in a warehouse. And the Bad guy is wearing a Tapout branded skull cap. Hardcore Super-Tough undercover cop Danny Bolen (Tony Schiena) is about to make the purchase when something goes wrong. A suspect fight scene will occur with the bad guy plummeting to his death after an 8 foot fall. There’s all kinds of things this cat could’ve done to avoid dying but somebody wrote down he had to die so he’s dead now.

Now with this gig complete Danny is ready to decompress and have dinner with his girl (Katlyn Wong). She’s not hungry… for food. That’s what she said. It’s a Tapout joint and some intense softcore sex shall ensue. After sex his girl starts bitching at Danny and letting him know that ‘She Doesn’t Know Who He Is Anymore!’ Then she leaves him in the middle of night. That blows of course but we are happy she chose to engage in nasty sex before doing all that whining and sniping before departing.

Next thing you know the S.W.A.T team busts up in Danny’s crib, find a stash of planted dope and drugs, and cart Danny away to the hoosegow. Danny yells at his boss (Curtis Moore) something along the lines of ‘You know I wouldn’t do this!’ Apparently he doesn’t know, Danny, and now my man is pulling twenty five at Blackwater University.

Blackwater penitentiary will suck for Danny since everybody he put away resides there, in particular the brutal mobster Anton Vargas (Vinnie Jones). Anton runs illegal cage matches from this prison, with the complete blessing of the guards and the warden, and he wants his arch enemy to fight for him. Danny says no, Danny gets shanked for his transgression, Danny is fighting now. One thing Danny has going for him is that his cell mate is that most cherished movie character, the wise all-knowing Negro. Today his name is Irving and he is played by a man named Dave Fennoy who normally makes his coin doing voice-over work. Once you hear him speak, you will understand why. With that voice the man could talk the Habit off a nun.

So Vargas is running his entire mobster operation from this prison, Danny now knows who has framed him and has a pretty IA investigator (Sarah Ann Schultz) working on the outside to get him released, but before that can happen he will face his greatest challenge. A mano-a-mano battle against the brutal killing machine known as Axl (Lance Cartwright). And his wise mentor will not be there because he’s gone Shawshank on us. You will be amazed how they squeezed so many titties into a movie that takes place in a men’s prison.

So here we are, right off the heels of the last Tapout joint we saw ‘Circle of Pain’, which has the same director, same star, a lot of the same cast and yet another big shot of Kimbo Slice on the cover even though he’s in this movie about as much as me and you are in this movie. So, like the last time, we won’t be mentioning Kimbo anymore.

These movies are almost indecipherable from one another to be honest with you but for whatever reason ‘Locked Down’ felt a little more palatable than the others. Maybe it was the combination of ‘Undisputed’ meets ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ meets ‘Gratuitous Nudity’ but I halfway enjoyed sitting through this one. Tony Schiena was more engaged this time around and Vinnie Jones was in this movie doing what Vinnie Jones does. Mind you the last time we saw Tony and Vinnie in a movie together it was in a little ditty that called itself ‘The #1 Girl’ which is in the list of the five worst movies I’ve ever seen and this movie was so much better than that movie that there’s not even a measuring stick available to compare the two. And Dave Fennoy is a star in waiting. Somebody give this old smooth talking dude a TV show or something.

Now as a coherent piece of cinematic art and storytelling ‘Locked Down’ still falls well short of the Mendoza Line, but this is expected at this point. You would think that money and drugs stuffed under a mattress that has no prints from the suspect could be easily thrown out of court, but it’s silly to think that deep in regards to a movie like this. You would think that Bai Ling with her suspect English skills and slight stature wouldn’t make for much of a guard at a men’s prison facility, but we had to get her in this movie and naked somehow. What!?!? Bai Ling Naked? Also, when going Shawshank, it’s best to make your escape in the summer as opposed to attempt escaping in three feet snow. Just throwing that out there for you, Irving the wise Black Dude. Worst Shawshank attempt ever. Next time you feel the need to use the word ‘Fuck Monkey’ in your movie… don’t. Next time you feel the need to call a character ‘Blackie Chan’… don’t.

Like a fighter who has been in the ring too long, the Tapout line of movies have worked my mid-section to the point where almost anything they do seems tolerable to me now. This cannot be a positive turn of events.

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