‘Lockout’ a major letdown

by Trevan McGee on April 13, 2012

in Print Reviews,Reviews

Much like The Raid Redemption, Lockout, the newest offering from EuroCorp, purveyor of medium budget action fare, is a stupid Sci-Fi movie that can’t see past its own cliches far enough to contribute anything to the genre.

LOCKOUT-movie-poster-2012There is nothing in the film that hasn’t been seen before and better elsewhere. Current advertisements liken it to Die Hard and Blade Runner, and to their credit, if you combined the elements that don’t’ work from both films (the kitschy banter of the later Die Hard movies and the soft, inexplicable science of Blade Runner), you’d get a close approximation.

Guy Pearce stars as Snow, a tough-talking ex-military man who always has a quip at the ready who is captured at the film’s outset after an information exchange goes horribly wrong. Just before he’s about to be put into suspended animation, he’s offered a mission that will earn him his freedom — save the president’s daughter. Seriously. Maggie Grace plays said daughter, Emilie Warnock a humanitarian on a visit to a massive prison facility floating just out of Earth’s orbit. While investigating the treatment of prisoners, a massive breakout occurs that turns the station into one giant hostage situation.

He and Ms. Warnock form an unlikely and flirtatious partnership, where she teaches him a thing or two about compassion and his incorrigible behavior eventually wins her over. Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun play two particularly nasty, yet forgettable prisoners at the heart of the revolt. And just to keep the film moving forward, the station begins to fall out of the sky, so there’s a time limit on the rescue mission. It is an almost checklist-style approach to action filmmaking.

But even if you haven’t seen Escape From New York, Die Hard, Rambo or even The Warriors (and shame on you if you haven’t), Lockout still disappoints. The dialog is unbelievable, even if the characters react to it naturally. The special effects, particularly during an early chase scene, are atrocious. And the characters aren’t enjoyable. The villains aren’t vile or sympathetic.

Somebody's seen 'Taxi Driver.'

The hero talks a big game, but is apparently only good at taking extreme punishment. Even the female protagonist, the movie’s moral compass, has nothing to do or say for herself.

Truly the only thing close to a redeeming element to the film is Pearce and Grace’s chemistry, but even that is buried under all of the shortcomings listed in the above paragraph. It’s disappointing to see Pearce in trash like this, but a quick look at his IMDB page makes it clear he hasn’t had a memorable film role in some time. He was great in HBO’s Mildred Pierce and his brief roles in The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker and The Road, though.

Actors have to pay bills like everyone else and because of that, let’s hope that the check for Lockout helps Pearce keep the lights on and the water running. But save your money. After all, The Avengers and Prometheus are just around the corner.

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