James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
As predicted, Pearceís Snow is easily the best part of LOCKOUT. Heís rough and tough yet relatably human. Heís irreverent and a smartass, which gives the actor plenty of room to show off his knack for delivering one-liners. And Pearce makes a great action star, taking a beating just as well as he can dish it out. This is exactly the kind of role thatís perfect for him and dare I say heís worth the price of admission. Itís just a shame the rest of the movie isnít as good as he is.
The main issue is that LOCKOUT is inexplicably PG-13. This is a film just aching to be rated R, with brutal violence, unrestrained cursing and unapologetic grittiness. For Godís sake, itís set on a space prison filled with the worldís most violent criminals (made even more savage as a result of hypersleep) and they canít even curse! You can really feel the writers and the actors straining to just go for it, but they canít. And the result feels watered down and not allowed to live up to its potential. The unrated cut seems to add in one or two extra killshots, but nothing a pre-teen couldnít handle.
Of course if a movie is solid in other departments it can still overcome its rating. But LOCKOUT also suffers at the script level. In their bid to go old-school, writer-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger simply took every action clichť, from plot points to lines directly lifted from much better movies, and threw it in a blender. Obviously this is just a loose remake of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, but it doesnít bring anything new to the table or even copy it that successfully. In fact, itís embarrassingly stupid how the story progresses and the banter between Snow and the Presidentís daughter is almost unbearable. Itís not Pearce or Maggie Graceís fault, just the writing.
And for a futuristic action movie, it just feels small; looking like the whole thing was filmed on a few choice sets. With a budget of $20 million thatís to be expected, but thereís definitely ways to make the most out of what you have and to do it in exciting ways. (See THE RAID.) Things like the anti-gravity fight and the continuous-shot motorcycle chase shouldíve been cooler in execution, not just theory. (Not to mention the latter has some of the worst CGI Iíve ever seen.)
A Vision of the Future (10:13): Various members of the art and FX department discuss creating future technology, designing the sets and working with green screen. The previz on the uni-bike sequence looks exactly the same as the finished product.
Previews and an UltraViolet Digital Copy are also included.
Extra Tidbit: Peter Stormare should not try a Southern accent again.