Something strange happened at the box office in 1988. Rambo III, which was then considered the most expensive movie ever made, underwhelmed at the U.S box office, being out-grossed on Memorial Day weekend by Crocodile Dundee II. In the end, it made only a fraction of what its predecessors, Rambo: First Blood Part II, had made, and as a result, it was a costly box office disappointment for Sylvester Stallone. What was more troubling what that before Rambo III, he had starred in Over the Top, which was a gigantic failure for Cannon Films, helping to sink the studio as one of three big flops they had that year, the others being Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Masters of the Universe. For Stallone, it must have seemed that his stardom was in jeopardy, and while he would indeed star in another legitimate box office hit in 1989, first he would star in a low-key action drama that today ranks as one of his most obscure vehicles, Lock Up.

In it, Stallone plays a prisoner named Frank Leone. He’s on the verge of completing a long stint in jail, and he’s a model prisoner, looking forward to his release so he can begin life with his long-suffering, stalwart girlfriend Melissa, played by the late Darlene Fluegel. However, a vengeful former warden named Drumgoole has other plans. Leone once escaped jail under his watch, ruining his career, and how he’s arranged a transfer for Leone to his hellish prison, Gateway, where he plans to torture Leone into somehow extending his sentence.

The movie was not a hit, but it has a following among Stallone’s many fans (us included), so join us as we dig into one of Sly’s least celebrated vehicles. This episode of Sylvester Stallone Revisited is written and narrated by Chris Bumbray and edited by Bill Mazzola.

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