Blu-ray Review: LOCKED DOWN - Amazing HD Transfer But Still Only For Fight Fans

Vinnie Jones has enjoyed varying degrees of success since trading a career in professional football for acting. After an auspicious debut in the early breakout hits from Guy Richie to high profile roles in Hollywood action fests such as Gone In 60 Seconds and X-Men: The Last Stand, Jones seems to currently be dwelling in straight to DVD territory which is where we find him in Locked Down, a prison based action film released on Blu-ray and DVD this week. A shamed cop must fight to defend his integrity after being incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit, and forced to compete as an underground cage fighter. Danny (Tony Schiena) was a good cop, but now he's serving hard time. His reputation tarnished after an investigation went awry, Danny does his best not to draw attention to himself while he's on the inside. Unfortunately for Danny, the ringleaders of the local cage fighting circuit, led by Anton Vargas (Vinnie Jones), are determined to lure him into the ring by whatever means necessary. Enlisting the aid of a retired mixed martial arts champion named Irving (Danny Fennoy), the reluctant contender concocts a scheme to destroy the fighting circuit from the inside, and finally reclaim his honour in the process. From the very first scene there is no doubting that this film is brought to us by Tapout, a US based specialist in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) clothing. The product placement in the film goes beyond anything I have ever seen. Every character is dressed in Tapout sports wear and every scene is peppered with products from the entire range facing label forward towards the camera. Essentially the film comes across as a shameless advertising opportunity for the company. No prison cliché is left out of this unoriginal retread of the prison genre; from the z-list Morgan Freeman-alike cell mate/ mentor and the sadistic guard with a grudge to the person on the outside trying to prove Danny€™s innocence. We have the usual fights in the cafeteria and laundry room all being watched over by the prison€™s Mr Big, in this case Vinnie Jones, looking tired and out of shape while the younger, more muscle-bound characters take care of the majority of the action. The target audience interested in the film are unlikely to be too worried about the films plotline and more concerned about the quality of the fighting and violence on offer and in that respect the film delivers a reasonable hour and a half of entertainment. Within the first 10 minutes of the film we€™ve had our first MMA prison fight, a warehouse gun battle and a couple of naked ladies which will be enough to lure in the average 13 year old. The fight scenes are generally pretty good, well choreographed affairs and will keep most martial arts fans happy. Leading man, Tony Schiena is not particularly memorable, his acting ability is comparable to a plank of wood and sub-John Cena, I was really surprised to learn he is an actor first and a martial artist second, as he is a much better fighter. Vinnie Jones goes through the motions in his usual hard man role but is sidelined in a more supporting role along with Bai Ling who gives a typically outrageous performance as a rather unlikely prison guard. The rest of the cast is made up of established MMA and UFC fighters including Kimbo Slice, Rashad Evans and Cheick Kongo who like Schiena are a lot better when left to get on with the fight scenes and gratuitous beatings. All in all the film is unlikely to appeal to anyone without an interest in martial arts and violent movies and on that front the film provides plenty to enjoy with its fights scenes and training montages. However if you are looking for a film with substance, originality and good acting you will need to look elsewhere as this is definitely not the film for you.

Quality

The 1080p 1.78:1 transfer for the film actually looks incredible. The picture is crystal clear and one of the finest I€™ve seen since HD came into play. The fine detail in the image is particularly evident in the skin tones where you can literally see every pore and the orange prison overalls contrast nicely with the grey walls. There is no grain at all and looks especially clean in the outdoor scenes while coping just as well in the dimly lit interior scenes. The sound is a fairly typical 5.1 DTS HD mix, with the bass of the hip-hop and metal soundtrack really utilising the low end and the action scenes making full use of the surround speakers. Overall the Blu-ray is a very good presentation.

Extras

No extras at all for the UK release, missing the commentary, featurettes and interviews from the US release. Locked Down was released this week on Blu-ray.
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