PLOT: Sixty years in the future, a sardonic ex- special agent- Snow (Guy Pearce) is framed for treason, but before he can start his thirty-year sentence on MS-One, a supermax prison orbiting the Earth, the presidentís daughter (Maggie Grace) is taken hostage by escaped inmates, whoíve seized control. His mission: get the girl off MS-One.
REVIEW: LOCKOUT feels like a relic from the nineties, and I mean that in the best way possible. So did TAKEN and that rocked. I miss old-school, middle of the road action movies, which we got by the barrel-full back in the eighties and nineties, but now are getting rarer and rarer on the big-screen. Luckily, Luc Bessonís EuropaCorp is still around to satiate the appetites of action junkies such as myself, and on that level LOCKOUT is a whole lot of fun.
Granted, itís relatively low-rent, who cares? Not every action flick has to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and itís great to see an actor like Guy Pearce, whoís about as reliable as they come, get a rare chance to play the lead in an action film. Having been around for a while, Pearce fits the ďbeen-around-the-blockĒ, super-cynical part of Snow to a tee. At forty-five, the guy is still in great shape, and acquits himself very well in the numerous hand-to-hand scraps- and itís nice to see a MAN in the lead for a change, rather than some twenty-year old weíre supposed to take seriously as a bad-ass.
The wisecracking Snow is a part that seems to have been tailor-made for Pearce, with his constant wisecracking reminding me of a space-bound John McClane, although Iím sure he also owes more than a little to Kurt Russellís Snake Plissken. In fact, LOCKOUT is very reminiscent of the not-so hot ESCAPE FROM L.A, although this stops short of being a rip-off of a film that wasnít that great to begin with.
Still, the script for LOCKOUT, by co-directors Stephen St. Leger, and James Mather- in collaboration with Luc Besson is pretty derivative and by-the-numbers, and I imagine that without Pearce, LOCKOUT might not work as well as it does. The villains are pretty cardboard, being led by two psychotic Scottish brothers (Vincent Regan & Joseph Gilgun), but neither makes much of an impression. The rest of the inmates are just faceless baddies for Pearce to shoot-at. The folks back on Earth arenít much better, although Peter Stormare seems to be having fun in the Lee Van Cleef/ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK part.
However, I liked Maggie Grace a lot in what amounts to a spunkier take on her part from TAKEN, as the presidentís daughter. Grace is gorgeous, has decent chemistry with Pearce, and most importantly is a likable figure throughout. Like Pearce, she seems to be having a good time, and having the two trade quips keeps the film from ever getting too serious, lest we forget that the only purpose here is to have a good time. Itís nice to see an action film that doesnít pretend to be anything other than what it is.
Of course, LOCKOUT is strictly B-fare, but again- thatís not a deal breaker for me. Sure, the CGI is very shoddy (an early motorcycle chase almost drowns in CGI-cheesiness), and the premise is paper thin, but it didnít keep me from having a good time. One thing that needs to be addressed is the PG-13 rating, which is disappointing. However, the cut that I saw, and happens to be the version hitting theaters in Canada (thanks to a different distributor) seems to be the R-rated version, complete with gory headshots, and F-bombs. I canít say how different the PG-13 version is, but to me, even in its uncut form, LOCKOUT seemed relatively tame- so other than a few quick gore shots, and a funny one-liner, the differences probably wonít be huge. Even still- LOCKOUT is a fun ninety-minute action flick, and certainly good enough to tide you over until the summer onslaught starts with THE AVENGERS.
|Extra Tidbit:||Guy Pearce would make a cool DAREDEVIL.|