Lockout Movie Review
POW! A rugged man tied to a chair is punched in the face. When questioned again, he calmly gives a cocky smart-aleck remark about sleeping with his assailant’s wife. BAM! Hit again. As his head is knocked off screen the actor’s name appears – Guy Pearce. The cocky beaten man’s head bobs back on screen wiping the credit name clean and the action repeats until we see LOCKOUT. If the opening tells you anything, it’s that LOCKOUT is going to be a ridiculously fun ride and Guy Pearce is awesome.
Set in the future, the prisoners of an outer space maximum-security prison, revolt taking over the prison with hostages. One such hostage happens to be the President of the United States’ daughter (Maggie Grace). The government’s only solution is to strike a deal with one hardcore bad mother… Snow (Guy Pearce), recently wrongfully accused of murder. Snow must infiltrate the space penitentiary, get through the insane inmates, find the President’s daughter then flee through an escape pod without being killed. Once he accomplishes this, the government plans to blow up the space slammer along with the expendable hostages to kingdom come.
To criticize a film like LOCKOUT is a futility of its own. An idea originally conceived by Luc Besson, the filmmakers know exactly what kind of movie they are making. Characters make bad choices and do stupid things just so the action can progress. But why it works here and not in other films is because good or bad everyone does them and they are totally unnecessary in a mocking fashion. A logical reason could have easily been explained but they chose to go the silly cheesy route on purpose and I can respect that decision.
However, when making a B-movie your audience narrows and I personally would like to have seen more creativity rather than ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK knockoff. While some of the prisoners were pretty over the top creepy it would have been nice to play them up with more diversity and choreograph a few extra interesting one on one fight scenes. But easily the best part of LOCKOUT and what props up the fun level is Guy Pearce (MEMENTO, PROMETHEUS). In fact, I might venture to say with any other actor the entire film might fail. Maintaining a tough, fearless cocky attitude, Guy Pearce presents a mix of sarcastic selfishness with classic good guy strength that rivals some of our best action hero personalities. I think his performance alone almost warrants a sequel for the character, but I’m not sure the film reaches that caliber.
Despite some flaws, LOCKOUT is still high-octane fun full of fast energy and absurd action. It’s not near as good as THE FIFTH ELEMENT but still better than COWBOYS & ALIENS and Pearce delivers the appropriate humor and grit to make it worthwhile. Clearly LOCKOUT isn’t for everyone but if you enjoy entertaining Sci-fi films with B-movie mentality, I highly recommend this crazy futuristic outer space prison film.