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on 9 August 2005
Can a movie either be hard-core pornography, mainstream entertainment, or somewhere in between? Perhaps this is what director Jörg Andreas was thinking when he made Locked Up, a German film that is titillatingly explicit, but just doesn't quite go "all the way." Set in an unidentifiable German prison, Locked Up features an absolute bevy of buff, angry, and vulnerable Nordic young men, most of who look as though they have just walked off a German porn film or have wondered in from the local gay leather bar.
Filmed entirely on digital video and on what was obviously a limited budget, and also full of frontal nudity, Locked Up, although not actually "pornographic," has several carefully composed masturbatory shots, that are certainly designed to push the envelope. There's also a rather graphic male rape scene, and lots of heavily worked out muscled guys that are more than willing to "drop their draws" for effect.
Viewers should make a point of watching the extras because they are indeed a revelation: Two of the deleted scenes are brief, but decidedly pornographic - although penetration is never shown. And an extensive interview with the two lead actors, Marcel Schlutt and Mike Sale, confirm that director Jörg Andreas was, indeed, attempting to shoot some kind of quasi soft-core porno film.
The movie opens as newly incarcerated Dennis (Schlutt) is being ordered to strip naked so that the prison guard can give him a full-body and rubber-gloved cavity search - which we actually see - and it is in this scene that we get our first full and unobstructed view of the actors' goods. Dennis has just been incarcerated for credit card fraud, but he's basically a sensitive young man who is absolutely at a loss in this environment of mean, angry muscle men.
One afternoon, while gazing out of his cell window, Dennis spies a hunky, shirtless black man digging a trench. He's immediately captivated and eventually is able to make contact with him. The man's name is Mike (Mike Sale) and he is currently doing fifteen years for murdering his wife. The attraction between them both is instant and it's not long before Dennis is making clandestine trips to Mike's gaol cell. But unknown to them, their sexy assignations are being watched over by the prying eyes of a voyeuristic and kinky security guard.
Can a true relationship survive in prison, where most of the inmates are white, and where racism and homophobia are rife? Will the prison authorities eventually discover them? Mike still has six years to go of his sentence after Dennis is released, but the two of them have fallen in love - they even want to share a cell together - so what are they going to do? There's also a subplot thrown in which involves corrupt guards sell drugs to "kingpin" inmates, who, in turn, have their vulnerable lackeys spread it around.
But the plot isn't really Locked Up's strong point; because all that's really being explored is sex, and more sex, along with a bit of kinky brutality that is thrown in for good measure. The movie is all about one's muscles, and one's nether regions, so consequently we have provocative gym routines, the requisite naked showers, and furtive trysts between cellmates and their security guards. It seems as though, in this prison, absolutely everybody wants to get in on the action!
In Locked Up prison life looks more like life in a three star hotel. Inmates take their dinner in their cells rather than in the mess hall, and Mike is even allowed to keep two caged parakeets, where they are prominently displayed when he shares tin cups of coffee with Marcel. There isn't really much work going on, although there's one scene that shows Marcel hot wiring some electrical plates, but most of the time the inmates seem to be either jumping hoops on the basket ball court or fanatically working out in the fully equipped gym.
But what Locked Up fails to deliver in style in sophistication, and even realism, it certainly delivers in muscle. Schlutt is suitably boyishly hot and he has a great body. It's just a pity that he's not that animated; he spends most of his time either looking either sad or orgasmic, with no range between the two. Mike Sale's also looks great but his performance is awkward, and his line delivery is several notches below the average cue card read. It's obvious that he has little or no experience as an actor. The rest of the cast is made up of big, burly clones, complete with the requisite buzz cuts, and I suspect that most of them were probably recruited from the German porn scene.
Perhaps Locked Up is supposed to be symbolic of every gay man's fantasy? Well, maybe it does; it all depends on where you're coming from. One thing is clear though - the film is badly acted with some of the most appalling dialogue, and as far as prison stories go, not a single cliché is overlooked.
However, regardless of Locked Up's obvious shortcomings, in a strangely voyeuristic oblique way, I still liked the film. Even though I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "guilty pleasure," it was certainly provocative and provided a few good unintentional laughs. Mike Leonard August 05.
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on 24 November 2010
It's a shame that there are too many negative reviews. Sure the movie isn't a masterpiece of cinematography, but the majority of the Gay themed movies are just like that. Cute actors, nice characters, but overall something is always missing. In most cases, there's no excuse for the terrible acting, directing, et cetera... But this movie certainly has an excuse!!!
I became aware of this movie after watching Eingelocht, (yeah, for those who don't know it by now it's porn!), most of the CAZZO film releases are good, you might say they are all little masterpieces of gay pornography as far as porn goes. So it's almost like a real movie with pornographic scenes. When I saw the trailer for Locked Up, I was quite surprised to see familiar faces. You can't forget the main character, he's so cute! So I decided to give it a chance & bought the movie on DVD. The movie on its own isn't that good, I confess, but with the original Eingelocht (which I also have on DVD) it's watchable! It completes the whole picture. It's almost like an extra DVD, but published separately.
Well, what I want to say is that you cannot blame the makers, for taking a chance & publishing this as a separate DVD release. You can see that the actors are doing their best, but everybody know not all porn actors are "really" actors & they don't really act. But at least they are trying. The good thing is, they look great at trying!
In general it depends on you! First watch Eingelocht & then give this move a chance. You'll be pleasantly surprised as well as satisfied! You could do it vice versa [watch Locked up & then Eingelocht], that way you could see the actors you liked going all the way & you don't have to imagine the rest.
^.^ ENJOY! ^.^
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on 9 May 2006
A gay man's relish past it's sell by date... sexy young man banged to rights, abused, raped and finds love in his recreational period. This is a German laguage film with sub-titles and some english dialogue.

This film is amateur and has been made on the cheap. Essentially one derelict run down old prison provides nearly all the locations, and it looks it. For a full on porn film this would be fine, but attempting to be an erotic drama it falls short. In desperate need of a decent sound score to paper over the cracks. Cinematography is well done as is the lighting. However the acting is so wooden the prison doors are giving better performances.

The post production interviews of the two leading men provides for more interesting characters than the film does. Marcel Schutt's (Dennis) debut in a feature film is helped by his natural good looks and charm. However the obvious problems that he and Mike Sale (Mike) had at the begining of shooting sound the most interesting part of this movie. Mike Sale is completely uncredible as an 'American' lost in a German prison and more wooden than the Black Forest.

The obligotary shower room rape scene benfits from cutting to Kevin's reactions. The scene will tick the fantasists boxes and the shooting angles are not your typical porn film. But the scene fails to shock in the way this storyline did in 'Scum' all those years ago.

The best performance goes to David Parstein as Kevin, the wing 'bitch', used and abused. Kevin trys to befriend Dennis and help him while lusting after him. But is Kevin helping Dennis out or stealing the stash of drugs that have been hidden in his cell when he talks him into telling him where they are? The resulting overdose kills Kevin the most interesting character with the most believable performance.

If you have a real fantasy for prison scenarios you will enjoy this film. If you are expecting a pithy drama or an explicit porn film you will be dissapointed. I wouldn't buy this film again, and if it wasn't returned to me after lending it to a friend I wouldn't be heart broken...
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on 26 November 2007
I bought this recently at an airport dvd retail outlet as i was bored and the cover and synopsis pursuaded me to part with some hard earned cash. Talk about being Ripped Off. I was amazed to come home and find it was available on amazon, at more than half price I hasten to add. So before watching it out of curiosity I read all of the reviews, just to give me an idea of what to expect. Clearly the 'no's' have it as almost all of the other reviews are fairly accurate, although a four star rating is absurdly generous and should be discounted...the reviewer must have a thing for black guys and/or a prison fetish. I won't re-iterate, therefore, what the other reviewers have said other than to say that Marcel Schutt is the only reason this film gets any rating at all from me, as he is extremely cute and I forgive him his appalling acting as his cast interview shows that he has some artistic credibility and sincerity. But it is Mike, his 'romantic interest'and aforementioned black guy, who takes this film to giddying depths. He admits during the cast interview that his motivation for making the film was the money and I would opine that he was lucky the director didn't ask for it back - as I would have done so without any hesitation. His scenes had me cringing as they were so appallingly 'acted'. Another reviewer mentioned the soundtrack..this too is utterly appalling and all the way through it is interspersed with what sounds like one of those klaxons you get at football matches. In fact this film is so bad that it is almost worth watching for everything thats wrong with it, only I wouldn't wish anyone to waste their money or time on it. And don't be fooled into thinking there's lots of hunky guys working out and showering etc etc as those scenes are pathetic. There's more homo erotiscism on daytime TV.
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on 30 April 2006
TLA have released some superb gay films: `Yossi & Jagger', `Latter Days', `Harry & Max', to name but a few. Alas, 'Locked Up' is not one of them.

The central problem that this film was unable to reconcile is whether you can combine an in-depth storyline with hardcore porn. In my view, the reason this is implausible is that that audience expectation for each is entirely different. If you truly want to see a captivating gay love story set in a prison environment, then order the powerful and heart-breaking `Bent' immediately. If you actually want erotica in a prison environment, then buy yourself an R-18. Either way, don't bother with `Locked Up'. It fails as legitimate feature film since there is only a superficial plot and absolutely no depth or character development. It also fails as erotica simply because it is a mainstream release and therefore it's like watching a porn film without the porn: why would you bother? An early reviewer suggested that director Jorg Andreas may have been trying to reconcile this conundrum via `Locked Up', and noted that the characters seemed like extras from a German porn film. Well, there's a good reason for that: `Locked Up' was originally released as hardcore porn - it has simply been edited for mainstream audiences. It's not the first time this has been done (anyone remember another Cazzo film, Bruce LaBruce's `Skin Flick'?) and won't be the last, but it certainly helps explain the lack of plot.

The only reason this film gets 2 stars is because of the rape scene, which is well executed, and the DVD extras. The latter consists of a couple of deleted scenes, a couple of highly amusing outtakes, and a 26 minute long interview with the two principal cast members, Dennis (Marcel Schlutt) and Mike (Mike Sale). These cast interviews are very watchable (more entertaining than the film itself, in fact - particularly when Marcel and Mike trash each other's sexual performance), and are actually very revealing, as they demonstrate that Marcel Schlutt actually has a personality (unlike his character in the film). He has a great deal of charm and magnetism, and it's a shame that his first major `feature film' was `Locked Up' since these qualities were entirely buried; it would be great to see him in some other roles. You can also gain some insight into the talent-challenged Mike Sale, (who at one point compares himself to Julia Roberts - yes, sure; except for the looks, talent and personality, they're identical). The most jaw-dropping moment in `Locked Up' is, ironically, when Mike Sale's character announces that he is American - in the most harmonious Home Counties accent you've ever heard (close you're eyes, I swear you'd think it was Will Young speaking).

I will not trouble to view this film again. The concept certainly seems potentially intriguing, but ultimately it will fail to satisfy whichever of the two purposes for which you would want to watch it.
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on 23 March 2015
Very odd this one, despite the awful acting, the unbelievable lines and how they are delivered, and the unconvincing set (or maybe jails in Germany are like that?), I can't help but say I really enjoyed this film, in a watching a car crash in slow motion type of way, definitely a guilty secret. Not knowing anything about the film I came to the conclusion that they must have been shooting a hard core porn film and this was an attempt at putting something together that would pass for the mainstream market, and a little googling proved me right. I imagine thats why the extras are much more explicit than the main film. Extremely sexually charged, you can feel the energy between the mostly handsome horny guys on both sides of the prison.
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on 5 May 2014
Some reviews are very critical towards this movie. I guess it depends what are your expectations. If you are after pornography this will literally not fill your cup. And if you are expecting moody, artistic feature look somewhere else.

This is a very low budget film with amateur acting, poor directing and ghastly background music.

That said, it has an interesting story, Marcel Schlutt is a great choice for a lead character - if this was a better movie his performance would be memorable. Probably not deliberately but some situations and acting are very silly so it was quite entertaining. Watch it with open mind!
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on 6 July 2014
This film was made by CAZZO STUDIO'S who specialise in R18 ( XXX ) gay porn films - which this certainly isn't! There is no acting ability to speak of, by any of the cast - in fact they all seem dis-interested in the whole affair; the only time there appears to be any motivation, is during the brief sex scenes, which believe me aren't worth their effort! It's fair to say that the best performance in the film is by the lady who plays Marcel Schlutt's mother, who visits him in prison and sits on the other side of the glass partition fearing for her son's safety from sex-starved hardened criminals. Laughable!!
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on 3 December 2009
Seriously DO NOT BUY THIS! AWFUL acting and NO REAL SEX AT ALL!. The best this film offers is some nice kissing. But Mike Sales character is supposed to be "american" yet has a very British accent! The other Lead played by Marcel Shlutt is very easy on the eye! He is simply beutiful! BUT The movie is actually a Hardcore porn that I have actually seen on various internet sites before and has been edited as softcore for a mainstream release. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME! No budget, no script, no acting, no sex no NOTHING! This was a total waste fo money. DO NOT BUY!
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on 15 March 2007
Although there are a few moderately erotic sequences, and the much mentioned rape scene is pretty graphic, this film lacks credibility at almost every level.

Most striking of these is the prison itself which seems more like a hostel. Does any prison allow the inmates to have so much potentially lethal items in their cells, or let them wander about freely from one wing to another with virtually no supervision?

The guards seem to be there simply as a necessary aside, a token of authority.

Overall, the film is weak - not one I'd wish to watch again.
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