Writer/director Micah Lyons’ Lockdown (also known as COVID-19: Invasion) is an old-school 1980s style action flick in the vein of Rambo and countless others. It’s a one-man versus a small army tale, except it is set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world. The year is 2035, and Covid-19 has ravaged the planet, leaving only twenty-nine million people on the whole earth. All of this sounds pretty cool in theory, but not so much in execution.
The plot revolves around a group of gun-toting, hillbilly-like characters led by Rex (Kevin Nash) and his son Slater (Swayde McCoy). They’ve decided that killing homeless people is the only way to end the pandemic since they are “drug users” who engage in risky behavior, thus making them more susceptible to becoming sick. Meanwhile, Dean (David D. Ford) goes on a mission to save his homeless sister Courtney (Stephanie Kae Smith) while facing Slater’s posse in the process.
A text crawl during the end credits proclaims that the filmmakers had no script when they started shooting. That explains a lot because parts of the plot and dialogue seem half-baked, but it’s also a strange thing to boast about unless you know that you’ve got an amazing movie on your hands. Films like Casablanca are legendary for being a smashing success despite not having a finished script. Also, I’m sad to say that Lockdown is no Casablanca.
“…to save his homeless sister Courtney while facing Slater’s posse in the process.”
The text also tells us that the movie was shot during the height of the pandemic, so I’m sure that it wasn’t an easy shoot. But, at the very least, kudos to Lyons for getting a film made during such strange and trying times. The backdrop scenery is quite Walking Dead-esque, with the sprawling forest and trees providing a nice touch. The visualization of nature taking back the planet after humanity has dwindled is nothing new for viewers of post-apocalyptic fare, but it does lend an authentic aspect that I found lacking in other areas.
Most of the acting, dialogue, and action are substandard. That’s a shame for an action film that features Kevin Nash of WCW fame, albeit in a small role. Other actors in Lockdown try and fail to realistically pull off some wrestling moves, which begs the question, why didn’t the filmmakers let a real wrestler do it instead? Lines like, “Are you serious?” “As a heart attack” are the highlights. The fight scenes are sloppy and laughable for the most part, as are the moments meant to be dramatic or emotional. One character is possibly sick with Covid-19, so they put giant black makeup under the character’s eyes to denote this, making them look more like a football player than an ill person.
Look, I grew up loving the 80s and 90′ action films of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, Van Damme, and Seagal, and it’s evident to see that Lockdown wants to be in that same mold. But comparing those actors’ iconic films to this is like watching a fighter who never trained going up against “Iron” Mike Tyson in his prime. The action is just too amateurish to wow genre aficionados. The most effective scenes are actually the ones that imply the action off-camera, similar to how Spielberg utilized the shark in Jaws, but Lyons didn’t use that trick often enough.
Lyons would’ve been better served to have waited until he had a solid script and was able to raise enough of a budget to let action veterans like Kevin Nash do their thing. As it stands, Lockdown is just not engaging on any front. A sequel is teased during the movie, but I’d rather they do not play it again.
"…the most effective scenes are actually the ones that imply the action off-camera..."