Psychotic “sci-fi” high on intensity and edgy, witty dialog – rattling ride!
Boom – that’s how I’m describing Lockout, a dark piece which practically resembles a futuristic Alcatraz or San Quentin gone haywire when its inhabitants find a way to raise cane, and make it their temple-of-doom – need I say more!?
MS-1 is an experimental, futuristic prison in space where the 500 most dangerous criminals on this big blue marble are incarcerated in an artificial sleep – stasis! Leading a humanitarian mission, the daughter of the U.S. president, Emilie (Maggie Grace) arrives on board the station; just as an unexpectedly violent act breaks out. Emilie and the crew of MS-1 are taken hostage by its rowdy, rough-neck inmates. The president decides to send Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) – in exchange for serving time pertaining to complex issues – to MS-1 with a sole mission sketchy enough to raise eye-brows, but approved for one thing and one thing only – saving Emilie and no one else.
The coolest thing about this entire film isn’t its premise, or that it takes place during 2079, or its grungy, subtle B-movie indie-like texture, yet, accompanied by A-list creators – no! What makes this flick cool is Guy Pearce. This guy has reached a level of swag among any genre that he has the ability to even make being interrogated look cool! An opening scene sets the film’s pace by presenting a hero/antihero wrapped up in cut-up biceps, smoking, wisecracking, quick-witted man who’s confident enough to accept anything and everything coming in his direction.
Plastered with an interesting twist during the 3rd act and casting brilliance with Snow, the rest of the film seems to be blanketed by clichés, a so-so tag-along-victim and/or hostage, and the obvious dynamic-devilish-duos of villains, Lockout never tries to exceed anything other than what it is. Light – dare I say low – on CGI, the fact that one’s implanted with the thought of an outer space prison does the job alone? Yes, there aren’t any fancy robots or zapping lasers flying all over the place. A couple of scenes do cover the story’s setting, but it’s less than what one would imagine considering its back-drops of metal hallways and zilch gravity shafts.
There were scenes in Lockout I found quite interesting and others I questioned. I found most of my questioning during times where only specific prisoners – while a few hundred were running around – were the only ones joining in on a hostile takeover. Hello!? Aren’t 500 of Earth’s worst housed there? If so, why are only a handful viciously enough to represent the worst in a futuristic society, and others just prancing around like back-stage crew workers? It didn’t really come off believable, but hey…it’s the movies! It didn’t hurt the film in my opinion, but it’s a lingering would-be continuity issue that played over and over in my head.
Directed by Stephen Saint-Leger and James Mather (also sharing penning credits along Luc Besson), Lockout may have been carved out of templates, with strengths swaying from time to time, but who cares…?! Its got a badass character portrayed by Guy Pearce, and also serves as a darkly, sci-fi that holds its own among others which encompass good/bad guy protagonists taking on all odds with the grittiest of attitudes, and making a name for themselves.
Grade: B- / Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
STARRING: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare
DIRECTOR(S): James Mather & Stephen St. Leger
"Lockout: Movie Review"