Lockout: Space just got more exciting
3.5/ 5 Stars
They may not always be the most sophisticated pieces of cinematic art, but the explosive violence and gruff heroes of action movies hold a special place in the history of film. There have been many classics such as Escape from New York and Total Recall that have captured many hearts, and while Lockout isn’t quite on par with these two giants, it gets the one thing every action movie needs to get right: It’s entertaining.
Taking place in 2079, the orbital maximum security prison MS-1 has been taken over by its dangerous, and mostly psychopathic, prisoners. To make matters worse, the president’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) was onboard during a mission of good will. Not wanting to risk her death in an all-out assault, the U.S. Secret Service sends Snow (Guy Pearce), an ex-CIA agent who has been wrongfully accused of espionage, to sneak aboard and rescue her. Snow has a mission of his own, however, as the one man who knows how to clear his name is also hidden on MS-1.
I know many other critics are going to accuse this “rescue the president’s daughter” plot as cliché and dated, but I think it’s nice to have a little throwback to the action movies of the 80s every once in a while. The villains get over-the-top, the hero plays by his own rules, things explode and it’s just so much fun to watch. That being said, I did have several problems with the way this situation played out. Many of the situations occurred due to a simple case of luck or idiocy, which I see as bad writing in most cases, and the hero was way too uninvolved in the film’s climax to make it as exciting as it should have been.
Probably one of the most important components of any action movie is the hero, and Guy Pearce all but carries the movie as the likable and wise-cracking Snow. His one liners got a chuckle out of me every time, and we get a great deal of character from him. Maggie Grace as Emilie did a fine job as well, but her character was a little pompous and annoying in the beginning. This could be character development, but her attitude made it a little hard for me at times to care whether or not Snow saved her. Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun make some ok villains and play off each other well as the “leader” and the “insane psychopath,” but often I couldn’t really understand the latter’s thick accent. The supporting cast is alright, but no one really stood out.
Aside from Snow’s arm lying across his chest before magically appearing at his waist while waiting in his jail cell, there weren’t any noticeable errors in the continuity or in the special effects. The film flowed at a decent pace too, but it seemed a little too rushed at the end. The script was serviceable for an 80s action flick, but if it wasn’t for the aforementioned idiocy of some of the characters there wouldn’t have been a movie.
Though it may not have been the most original movie out there, I enjoyed Lockout like I enjoyed the action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kurt Russell. This film is perfect for a guy’s night out, when all that matters are explosions, funny one-liners and attractive women.