Lockout (2012) – Review

3 Stars

Lockout is a gloriously goofy action flick with an appealing cast, loads of kinetic energy and a well worn plot retrofitted for the sci-fi crowd. Aussie thespian Guy Pierce, newly bulked and sporting a cocky attitude, is the peculiarly named, Snow. A former CIA operative turned political prisoner in the futuristic society of Washington, DC circa 2017. On a maximum security prison located in space the worlds worst criminals rest in cryo-sleep. During a humanitarian mission to the facility, the first daughter is taken hostage by a group of murderous inmates. Snow is sent to the orbiting space station to rescue the President’s daughter and retrieve a brief case that could hold the clue to a political assassination went awry.

I must admit upfront, I have an affinity with the wise cracking anti hero forced into action for selfish reasons, who eventually prescribes to the idea that helping others is more important. This is an extremely well produced genre exercise from prolific Luc Besson, credited here as co-writer along with his producing duties, the crisp direction by new comers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger is reminiscent of the work by Stuart Gordon on the similarly themed Fortress. There is a great action set piece at about the midway point, as two men fight in a gravity suspension chamber, that ends with the piercing of an eyeball to save a life. These touches are clever reminders that the filmmakers are knowingly attempting to elevate b-movie material and cliches into something beyond camp. This is not a movie that lingers on small details like logic and science, instead it chooses to embrace its absurd plot and runs with it.

Those that read the synopsis, and see the poster are likely to know right away if this is the movie for them. I argue that no amount of positive reviews would sway, a potential viewer’s knee jerk reaction. Adventurous audience members with a predilection for ‘one man army’ action films and fans of 1980s tough guys cinema are likely to relish, this slick homage to all that is macho. Lockout is a brawny and bustling piece of entertainment, with a lively script loaded with one-liners and interesting obstacles. It also borrows freely from some many other films that it would take up my entire column listing the titles. Most casual observes will immediately recognize the striking similarity to John Carpenter’s Escape films. Others will relish this glossy throwback for what it is, mindless entertainment with a few gross-out scenes, a witty hero and some decent special effects.

Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Stars: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare

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