Lockdown, not to be confused with the Kevin Nash film Lockdown and so many others, has finally been released. Why do I say finally? Because production wrapped on it back in 2017. When a film that has marketable names in the cast sits on the shelf that long it’s usually a sign that it’s really awful or so artsy nobody knows what to do with it. And this ain’t no art film.
In a Los Angeles precinct Captain Davis (Bishop Stevens, The Horrific Evil Monsters, Girl on the Third Floor) is interrogating Cherry (Bai Ling, Night Caller, Hustle Down) a hooker turned armed robber. Elsewhere one of the cops makes the mistake of trying to pick up some cash he sees on the floor only to end up dead and relieved of his cell keys, gun, and uniform in one of the most ridiculous jailbreaks I’ve seen in a long time.
From here McMasters (Michael Wainwright, Bearry, The Crossing), Snake (Scott Engrotti, American Warfighter, Zombie Night), and Rajesh (Raj Kala, God of Dreams, #DigitalLivesMatter) take over the building and demand $4,000,000 dollars each. And for good measure some pizza and a refill of McMasters’ psych meds. FBI Agent Kinkaid (Michael Paré, The Wild Man: Skunk Ape, The Resonator: Miskatonic U) is called on to negotiate with them while a plan to rescue the hostages is worked out.
There’s so much wrong with Lockdown that it’s really hard to tell where to start. The ridiculous attempts at tough-guy dialogue are so bad it’s actually funny. This is yet another film where having characters constantly swearing is supposed to make them sound badass. Sorry, but it takes more than calling someone a “Goddamn motherfucker azzhole” to make a skinny actress like Bai Ling intimidating. And even a very intimidating-looking actor like Michael Wainwright comes off badly given lines like “If we don’t get what we want we will fuck her, gut her, kill her and then fuck her again.”
Lockdown’s writer Rod Smith (Mayday, Cognitive Psychosis), working from a story by director Massimiliano Cerchi (Satan Claus, The Penthouse) also wants us to believe that a station house full of cops would simply drop their weapons and allow themselves to be taken hostage without firing a shot. This despite the fact they outnumber and outgun the bad guys.
Eventually, Agent Rodriguez (Vincent Rivera, Cholo Zombies, The Second Coming of Christ) turns up to work with Kincaid and his assistant Kristen (Chanel Ryan, Circus of the Dead, House on Rodeo Gulch). That allows for more time to be spent watching people sitting around talking and tossing out huge chunks of expository dialogue in the process.
Sadly that’s what 95% of Lockdown’s running time is. People talking to or swearing at each other. Even Amityville Uprising’s zombies in a police station plot delivered more action than this disaster. Add in some truly embarrassing performances, especially from Bai Ling whose acting is so bad that it makes more than one scene inappropriately funny, and you have one of the worst films to come out so far this year.
If there is a bright spot in Lockdown it’s spotting a couple of familiar faces from the indie horror scene Charles Chudabala (Irrational Fear, 40uR) and Thomas Haley (Breakdown, Camp Twilight) in small roles. Too bad it didn’t turn out to be a better showcase for them.
What makes this trainwreck even worse than the usually actionless action film is the fact that at one point Cerchi, under his own name and the pseudonym Alvaro Passeri was making wildly entertaining off-the-wall films like Plankton, Hellinger, and Mummy Theme Park. Now he’s content to crap out films that are so bad their distributor doesn’t even mention them on its website.
Lionsgate has released Lockdown on DVD, VOD, and Digital platforms. But honestly, this should have stayed locked down rather than be inflicted on audiences, having to watch it is cruel and unusual punishment. FilmTagger has some suggestions for what you can watch instead.