With Guy Pearce (The Proposition, LA Confidential) bulked up as special forces spy-hard Snow, sentenced as a traitor, his shot at redemption comes with the order to rescue the President’s daughter from the orbital super-max prison over-run by Earth’s worst criminals.
Spies. Guns. Psychos. Prison. Space. That’s it.
Technically it’s a lock-in… oh never mind. Once you start picking at it, the whole thing unravels…
Pearce does the Eastwood/Kurt Russell thing, smoking and wise-cracking as he creatively disposes of the bad guys. Hard-working gang leader Vincent Regan (Troy) does the gruff Scottish (presumably cheaper than) Gerard Butler thing, while repulsive Lennie James – dialogue without sub-titles – is his psychotic younger brother. The Scots really should raise a protest motion at the UN over this kind of stereotyping.
Lockout has some trademark Besson tropes. Smart, funny, throwaway lines; big, bonkers action set-pieces; paper-thin characters – with the exception of Pearce and his leading lady – and a plot that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
The set-up of the President’s daughter as a prison visitor the day the lunatics take over is, of course, typically Hollywood. Later on, I was thinking no government spending billions on a space station the size of Statton Island is even going to consider blowing it up. It’s a cryo-stasis prison; no food, no water, and it’s in space. Duh!!! But then, why go to the expense of a cryo-prison in space?!?! Any hole in the ground will do. And if you’re going to summarily execute the lot of them, why bother with a prison?
Pearce is clearly having a whale of a time. Token black actor Jackie Ido plays the friendly Die Hard side-kick.
The actor who emerges with surprising credit is Maggie Grace, as Emily Warnock, who genuinely develops into a new person by the end.
If you’re a genre movie fan, this is a superior genre movie from a devil-may-care film-maker not afraid to be derivative of everybodies movies including his own (hey, it never stopped John Carpenter). It’s no Fifth Element or Leon, but it is a welcome return to form after some dire American outings (Taxi) by Besson. RC
Directors: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Writers: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger, Luc Besson
Cert (UK): 15
Runtime: 95 mins
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Cast: Guy Pearce, Jacky Ido, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan
Related: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)