Everything is Awkward
Some might say that I am locked up in this dungeon where all I do is read bad books and watch bad films. That’s not technically true as there are no locks on any doors here. There are just creatures as strange as Owlbears and as dangerous as zombies crawling around everywhere, making leaving a bit hard to do. But I have never felt as caged as I did while watching Locked Up.
First a clarification. There is a series on Netflix called Locked Up. I have never watched it so I am not sure if it has anything to do with this film or not. What I am reviewing is the film, not the series.
I think this was perhaps the most uncomfortable viewing experience I have ever had. Here’s a summary of the plot. An American teenager in Southeast Asia gets into a fight, in more or less self defense, bashes a girl’s skull with a pipe and ends up in what is supposed to be a reform school. The place is actually a prison and the women there are forced to do hard labor, be used as sex objects and fight each other, sometimes to the death. The teenager who is sent there has to win a fight in order to be released from the prison. That’s the whole plot, not much more I can expand on here. But I’ll get into the cringe for ya, cause believe me, you don’t want to watch this.
I’m going to start off with the normal things that I point out in a bad film. In a lot of them, these things can make a film so bad it’s good. In this one it just adds to the whole uncomfortable viewing experience.
The acting in this film could not have been more wooden if the actors were made out of popsicle sticks. The performances are so bad, it makes you want to reach through the screen and ask these women, “Are you ok? What life choices lead you here?” It’s really such bad acting that I can’t even consider it funny.
The score for this whole film is supposed to be ominous, in a creepy buildup to the climactic last fight but the pacing of the film is so slow that all it did was make my eyelids droop. I seriously nearly fell asleep several times trying to watch this.
The concept of this movie was not original but they could have had a creative take on it, considering the location they were shooting and the shift from these types of films usually being male led. They blew that chance by about twenty miles.
The fight choreography in this film is pretty much non-existent. The women who are supposed to be portrayed as deadly are often shown in a gym punching a bag. You can see that there is no power in the punches. And the actual fights move really slow. Maybe not quite Undercover Grandpa slow, but you watch and just think, maybe she could have ducked in the five seconds it took for that blow to hit her.
The climax is a let down even for the low expectations that build for this film. The death match fight lasts for under two minutes, is mostly pulling hair and kind of grappling around. But then to win the fight the main character pulls a move she never learned in the film or anything and it’s suddenly over. Then they escape. Yay!
There’s lots of scenes where the main character gets more and more tortured but then of course there’s a montage of her getting stronger before her big fight. It was incredibly dull to watch and I could never get behind the character enough to care. Plus all the exercises they show her doing are exercises you would expect any average, fit person to be able to do. Except for the one where she holds dumbells fully extended for two minutes. They don’t show her do that for two full minutes, but that’s damned hard.
There is an uncle that the main character has and he is sort of an advocate for her but pretty much ruins the whole part with the terrible acting. Also, the uncle seems to be like, yeah ok, she can have 2 years punishment here, I’m not even going to approach the American consulate which would be the sensible thing to do.
Now for the seriously cringe-worthy. I didn’t clock this exactly but my estimate is that about 70% of the film involves nudity. Now, I get films having nudity and I don’t think that automatically makes it bad, and in the right film, done in the right way, there’s not anything wrong with it. But in the context of this film. hooo boy, this is hard to watch.
For starters, the main character has a guardian, which I at least, take to mean she is under age. To clarify before I go on, all of the actors in this film were adults at the time of filming. But early on, the main character is told to disrobe and we get the complete view. This happens frequently and it is just as uncomfortable every time. It just made me imagine that sexual predators probably love this movie, and seriously made me hate the film. Like, I hate this movie with a passion. DO NOT WATCH THIS.
In addition to the plain nudity, there are instances of sexual violence. While these are as poorly acted as the rest of the film, these scenes are even harder to watch. It’s both ridiculous and head spinning. I just can’t even describe how despicably exploitative this film is, Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could have gotten away with not only making but releasing this film. The whole thing was such a bad idea,
Usually, I go on a bit longer in my reviews but for this one, I don’t want to give it any more attention than it rightly deserves. What it pretty much deserves is a warning label that you should stay as far away from it as you can get.
After this one, I need something with a bit of potential for fun. So, I am going to hop back onto the Troma train and give a watch to Space Zombie Bingo. Not sure who’s going to be calling the numbers but I’ve got my card, my markers and paid my entry fee. See you next time.