Lockout (2012)
Lockout (2012)

Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: April 13th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger Actors: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Peter Stormare, Jacky Ido, Anne-Solenne Hatt

 


 

“L

ockout” doesn’t try to be much more than the silly sci-fi action film it was clearly meant to be. This is both a boon and a curse as it allows the movie to succeed in providing explosive adventure, but also suppresses the surging potential beneath its unpolished exterior. Though the plot borrows a little too heavily from better films, several of the fresh ideas presented are too ingenious to be wasted here and Guy Pearce’s endearingly crude antihero steals the show to such a degree it’s a shame he had no competition.

The year is 2079 and former CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce) finds himself falsely accused of murder and set up for treason against the United States. Facing a decades-long sentence at the maximum-security Earth-orbiting space prison MS-One, Snow spies his only chance at clearing his name when the President’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) is taken hostage by escaped convicts aboard that very facility. Accepting a suicide mission to sneak onto MS-One and rescue Emilie, Snow must fend off not only maniacal criminals Alex (Vincent Regan) and Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), but also the backstabbing government agent (Peter Stormare) calling the shots from the ground.

Guy Pearce’s Snow is a crass Snake Plissken crossed with expletive-spewing John Spartan, but even more cocky and sporting a bawdier sense of humor. Quicker with a crude retort than with a gun, Pearce chews the scenery regardless of how offbeat the dialogue gets or how ludicrous the events playing out around him become. Snow deserves to be in a better film and Pearce tries his damnedest to save “Lockout” from its monotonous plot. There are a lot of faults to overcome, but Pearce is aided by a few capable character actors and a quirky antagonist whose unpredictable, raving rants almost work to overshadow the cardboard cutouts that serve as the rest of the villainy.

“Lockout” has enough clever concepts, plot twists, and scurrilous rogue heroes to mask a borderline plagiaristic premise, but such virtues can’t withstand the atrociously subpar special effects. A futuristic setting could have easily been conveyed without the need for CG cars, space stations and starships, let alone the subsequent special effects-saturated car chases and spaceship firefights that only prolong the screen time of such tragically dismal visuals. If the budget doesn’t allow for Industrial Light & Magic or even a company with a tenth of that skill level, perhaps utilizing computer generated vehicles, people, and entire action sequences isn’t such a good idea. The reflections on hostage negotiation, survival, and trust push past the recycled plotline, as does Guy Pearce’s spirited performance, but it’s debatable whether or not these few highlights compensate for the heavy dosages of repetition and mediocrity.

– Joel Massie

  • 6/10