a critiQal film review Lockout (2012)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: A falsely convicted ex-government agent (Pearce) has only one chance at freedom: rescue the President's daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at an outer space maximum security prison.

512 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 33s)

Luc Besson has made quite a name for himself in action movies. After helming breakout hit La Femme Nikita (1991), he followed up with the masterful The Professional (1994) and the irreverent The Fifth Element (1997). Now, another script of his gets the big-screen go ahead as Lockout, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, hit theaters this past April.

Not being able to get to the theaters much this summer, Lockout was one on many movies we needed to catch up on once they hit DVD. It jumped in line quickly when it arrived on NetFlix®, and I sat down soon after to find out if Guy Pearce could keep Luc Besson’s reputation going strong.

Guy Pearce isn’t the typical action hero. Sure, he managed to do a decent job in both The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and The Time Machine, but neither of those did big enough at the box office to keep him in big budget action flicks. Instead, he popped up in supporting roles in everything from The Hurt Locker to The King’s Speech.

Now that he’s back in the action star seat in Lockout, however, he shows viewers he has what it takes to stay there. Good with the action sequences and spot-on with dry humor, he is a gritty down-on-his-luck hero viewers will enjoy watching.

He’s got a decent cast around him, with Maggie Grace (Taken (2009)) and Peter Stormare (“Prison Break” (TV)) both contributing nicely. Unfortunately, the movie around them isn’t as good as it should be.

Maybe it’s the relatively new directors, or maybe it’s that the directors couldn’t quite get on the same page when it comes to the layout of the film. Lockout starts off decently (especially the beginning titles). As it begins, Pearce’s Snow being interviewed by Stormare’s Secret Service agent, and they guide the viewer’s through some flashbacks of what Snow is accused of.

Unfortunately, as the action starts picking up on the prison-in-space, however, Pearce’s Snow gets shuffled around through a few confusing sequences (one of which will convince the viewer that Snow was supposed to start out on the space station as a prisoner instead of being shuttled out there by the Secret Service), confusing the viewer.

Thankfully, this smooths out a bit once Snow arrives on the space station, but one contrived sequence segues into another throughout, with only the dialogue and the setting saving the film from total ridiculousness. There are some bright points which should get a positive response from the viewer, and there’s a bit of a Demolition Man (1993) vibe about the film, but unfortunately, that doesn’t last.

The special effects, like the film itself, vary, with the biggest action sequences during the beginning flashbacks look like a bad video game – chocky and a bit too sped up – but later sequences aboard the space station prison (even the outside shots) look much more realistic.

A bit more polishing, and Lockout could have been really good. As is, Guy and Maggie are fun to watch, but the viewer will never be able to shake the feeling it could have been a lot better.

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