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Lockdown

The movie poster for Lockdown.
Directed by John Luessenhop
Produced by Mark Burg
Jeff Clanagan
Oren Koules
Stevie Lockett
Written by Preston A. Whitmore II
Starring Richard T. Jones
Gabriel Casseus
De'Aundre Bonds
Melissa De Sousa
Bill Nunn
Clifton Powell
Sticky Fingaz
Joe Torry
and Master P
as "Cleanup"
Music by John Frizzell
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) September 15, 2000 (International release), February 14, 2003 (US release)
Running time 105 min.
Language English

Lockdown is a 2000 drama film, starring Richard T. Jones, Clifton Powell, and Master P.

Plot

Avery Montgomery (Jones) is taking time off from college to spend time with his girlfriend Krista (Melissa De Sousa), help raise their young son, and spend time on his other love in life, swimming. Despite the lack of black swimmers, Avery ignores the odds and stereotypes and develops to a championship level, possibly Olympic ability, and as a result of a particularly impressive win he gets the opportunity for a possible scholarship after a post race chat with a college scout.

Cashmere (Casseus), despite his lack of moral center and his lifestyle as a crack dealer and thug, happens to be one of Avery's best friends since childhood. Despite the fact that their personalities and lifestyles are quite different, Avery being a levelheaded straightedge that stays out of trouble, they are able to keep a separation and not let it affect their friendship, as Cashmere has always been enough of a friend to keep his private life away from Avery and Dre (Bonds), the other part of the trio who has also been a part since childhood.

Earlier in the day before the swim meet, Cashmere had a run in with Broadway, another dealer who works under Cashmere in the hierarchy (in a hierarchy system of drug dealing, like in Cashmere's system, people employ dealers to work under them and those dealers are handed a certain amount of product and are expected to return with the corresponding amount of money, similar to a business keeping the cash register even.) Cashmere is expected to bring back five $10 rocks. $50 is also expected or else he gets beat up or killed. Broadway happened to be short in his return and it angered Cashmere, who proceeds to knock the wind out of Broadway, kick him down a flight of metal stairs, and pulls out a gun to assert his power.

Broadway, knowing he can't fight a gun, gives up and runs off, but vows to get revenge and, after an attempted robbery later in the day where he shoots and kills a young girl at a drive through, he wipes off the gun and tosses it into the backseat of Cashmere's open convertible when he is out of the car, which looks similar enough to his for a possible mistaken identity case.

After the swim meet, Cashmere and Dre, who were there to cheer him on, prod Avery to come out and celebrate his big victory with them, Avery, who wants to spend some time with Krista instead, initially resists but when even she tells him to go out he changes his mind and hops in the car and they drive off. At a certain point, Dre, who is riding in the backseat, finds the gun, and questions Cashmere about violating their unwritten rule. Cashmere has no idea what he is talking about, and the three men realize that they have a strange gun, in their possession, and had no idea where it came from and what it could have been used for.

As they were arguing over how to get rid of it, some cops who spotted them and, thinking their car looked similar to Broadway's car, came up behind them and pulled them over. One of them, a female officer, orders them out of the car at gunpoint, which they comply to, but a few moments later Cashmere's pitbull runs toward the officer, who shoots him dead, in self defense. Cashmere pulls out his gun in anger, and manages to cock it and point it at the officer before being shot in the shoulder and knocked down.

After being convicted in court of unnamed charges, the three are sent to the same medium security prison to serve their sentences. Each man experiences different events: Cashmere, who beats up his cellmate, and Dre, who gets beat up and raped by his cellmate named "Graffiti" (David "Shark" Fralik), who controls much of the prison's drug flow. Graffiti's rival, "Cleanup" (Master P) is another trafficker who used Cashmere used to work for.

A man named Malachi Young (Clifton Powell) is a mentally and physically tough inmate who, through his strength, toughness, and seniority, has earned enough respect for the right to go "solo" (not needing other inmates for protection or company) and is Avery's new cellmate. Avery, meanwhile, who has most likely never been in any type of trouble in his life, let alone in prison, has a lot of internal anger over being locked down for no reason. When Avery and Malachi meet, Avery tries to punch Malachi to take out his anger like Cashmere did, and Malachi, who has been in prison for 18 years and sees the hit coming, ducks, slamming Avery against the bars and pinning him, so he cannot move. Malachi closes in inches from Avery's face and, spitting the fire of a man locked down 18 years, tells Avery that he's solo, has no desire to hurt or otherwise harm him and, as long has Avery doesn't ever bring drama back to his life inside, they develop a connection between each other as Malachi raises Avery under his protection.

Meanwhile, Charles Pierce, the College Scout who Avery met on his fateful night, also happened to be an accomplished lawyer and knew without being told that Avery was wrongfully convicted and decided to help his release efforts. Avery was resentful and resistant at first, towards both Pierce and Krista (at one point yelling at her to never come back because it "would do them both better") but eventually accepted both their visitations and that they could only help. One day, Dre, who was out around the prison, comes back to his cell to find an angry Graffiti waiting for him to return. Dre, who just started to build up some resistance to the fighting and Graffiti's 'authority", becomes angry with him and then, when Graffiti tries to slap him around to put him back in his place, Dre jumps all over Graffiti, punching him, kicking him and trying to strangle him. Graffiti, who's twice his size, eventually gets the upper hand back and starts to beat him up bad. Then Avery who happened to be on his way to see Dre, despite Malachi's warnings not to (because a bitch is property and you don't mess with another inmates property which can mean even the simple smalltalk Avery wanted) sees him getting beat to death and jumps in to protect him. Avery, who is strong, muscular and Graffiti's size, jumps on him and beats him to a pulp, but not before a bunch of Graffiti's guys jump on Avery and Malachi has to save him, beating up several of them and throwing one over the second floor railing onto a table.

As the three friends move in their separate directions, they get further and further apart. Cashmere grows under the protection and connections of Cleanup, even if in a negative way, and continues to sell for him. Avery grows under Malachi (who is very similar to him when he first started) who teaches him how to deal with being locked down and Avery, despite some setbacks, adjusts relatively well. Dre is the worst off, continuing to be raped by Graffiti and his Aryan friends, he starts to go on a mental and physical downslide, including, as an escape, starting to shoot the heroin he got as a so called "perk" of selling it for Graffiti, getting addicted beyond the point of no return, and eventually, Cleanup, who, like all prison traffickers, is looking to eliminate his rival and for somebody to do the dirty work, bribes the now-junkie into stabbing him to death for a bag. While he was in the middle of his murderous frenzy, a corrupt guard named Perez (who was in business with Graffiti) hits Dre so hard with his nightstick that he crushes his skull and kills him.

Malachi, Avery, Graffiti, Dre and the others involved had to go to a disciplinary hearing, in which Malachi, in the ultimate act of unselfishness and sacrifice, after being allowed to go in first, even though he has almost nothing to do with most the incident, takes responsibility for the entire thing to spare avery a dirty discipline record and assault charge, and then in an unexplained and unnecessary move, flies into a rage in front of the board, screaming and throwing chairs around the room and getting shipped out to another prison for his actions, but at this point Avery has gleaned enough that he can now be solo like Malachi and it won't be a huge loss for him. Avery then gets a new cellmate who tries the same greeting to Avery and Avery gives him the same response he got from Malachi and he becomes his mentor.

Meanwhile, somebody has been snitching and busting cleanup's drug mules and he comes to the conclusion that Avery is the snitch which is not true but he assumes anyways and wants Cashmere to take care of him, and during a riot in the prison yard (which happens to break out at the same time Charles Pierce brought prison officials a dying declaration from Broadway right before he hanged himself in prison doing his own time, which meant averys immediate release) goes up to Avery and stabs him, Avery fights through the stab wound and tries to fight Cashmere off for his life and Cleanup, seeing he's not doing the proper job, tries to do the deed himself but while Avery is now fighting off cleanup, Cashmere who still had love for Avery despite their differences inside comes up behind Cleanup and stabs him to death.

Avery, after a minute of wondering if he could still trust him, then realizes that it was all in the game and even though he didn't see the broadway letter yet, realized inside that Cashmere who he originally blamed for getting him locked up, didn't do anything either after all, Meanwhile, an angry rifle toting guard up in the tower orders Cashmere, who is still holding the shank, to drop it, and Cashmere either because he somehow didn't hear it or just out of spite, keeps holding it and just as he and Avery are about to embrace the guard unloads a shot into his back, killing him instantly.

Prison Officials get to Avery before anything else can potentially happen and he gets released into the waiting arms of Krista and his son, who he lives happily ever after with.

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