Lockout isn’t a bad movie but it’s hardly a memorable one. It’s yet another sci-fi thriller which fades into the background with the other wannabes. The visual effects is pretty bad especially early-on and the characters are one-dimensional but at the same time, at only 90-minutes (sans credits), it’s at an OK time-waster, nothing more, however.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Thriller
Sony | Unrated – 95 min. – $30.99 | July 17, 2012
Directed by: Stephen Saint Leger & James Mather
Writer(s): Luc Besson (original idea), Stephen Saint Leger & James Mather & Luc Besson (written by)
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare
Theatrical Release Date: April 13, 2012
Features: Featurettes, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 2.75/5
I’m not sure what it is about science fiction movies but more often than not, they have a lot of potential but the execution is usually lacking. The latest is Lockout, a film that strives to be a breezy action flick along the lines of Die Hard but instead is bogged down in mediocrity and copying every other sci-fi flick that’s come down the pike in the last 50 years. The story is simple, the acting forgettable, the characters are one-dimensional and the visual effects are at best average, even downright poor in one instance.
Lockout opens with our star for the evening, Guy Pearce playing ex-CIA operative Snow as he’s getting pummeled by a big bad government guy as Secret Service Director Scott Langral (PETER STORMARE) tries to get information about an incident in which a government employee was murdered. Langral in fact has evidence with video showing Snow doing the shooting. Now he wants the victim’s briefcase which contains vital and top secret information.
Through a flashback, we see the incident mostly unfold in which Snow makes his Bourne-like escape through the rooftops and side streets of a futuristic New York City. The sequence is done quite poorly where the effects looked like it was something out of a video game… from 10 years ago. CGI’d cars get flipped end over end (hell, even Michael Bay shoots that shit for real) as Snow, riding a version of the Batpod with one wheel, makes his escape, handing the briefcase off to friend, Mace who in turn takes it to a subway station locker before he himself is captured and incarcerated.
Anyway, with the evidence against Snow, and apparently no due process or a trial, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years at an outer space cryogenic prison called MS One (it has some bugs but will receive multiple patches to correct them) where the inmates are put in a suspended sleep.
Meanwhile, we also meet the damsel-in-distress, Emilie Warnock played by Maggie Grace who seems to be resuming her role from Taken I think… She’s the First Daughter to the President of the United States on a trip to this prison on a humanitarian basis to dig into how the prisoners are treated and the side effects of their cold sleep which has been told includes bouts of dementia and other behavioral elements. While there, she interviews one of the inmates – a crazy SOB named Hydell (JOSEPH GILGUN) – who is there for rape and has a fetish for smells and takes a liking to Emilie. After a confrontation with her bodyguard who, for some reason, was on the other side of the glass instead (why didn’t the inmates side have a few guards???), Hydell manages to get a backup piece where upon all chaos is unleashed. Hydell manages to get inside the control room and forces an engineer to open all the pods, releasing hundreds of raging inmates who take control of the prison.
Now the First Daughter is a captive with a bunch of psychos and maniacs, who is the government to call to rescue her? Yep, apparently the only man for the job is Snow, though he has a secondary purpose: to also find Mace and get the location of the locker and code to where he hid the briefcase. It’s a simple mission to get in, get Emilie and get out, but she’s a tough cookie and doesn’t take right away to his brute/rude manors. Surely these two kids won’t find common ground and eventually become love interests, right? RIGHT???
Alright, first things first: Lockout isn’t a terrible movie. There, I said it. It’s not very good and in the grand scheme of things, pretty mediocre in terms of the plot, but its fine as a 90-minute time-waster that won’t get revisited anytime soon (and no doubt headed for airing on SyFy or G4 in 5-6 years). The main problem I had is not that the characters are unlikeable but that they have limited personality and little time to really get developed. All of that would be OK if the story and action was intense but instead it’s safe and predictable, not unlike Luc Besson’s last outing (as writer) Colombiana, a film which is only memorable for Zoe Saldana’s performance rather than the half-baked plot.
The other problem I had was where is the creativity? If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve probably also seen this vision of the distant future where they have nifty and sleek vehicles, a shiny, modernistic side intermixed with dark and dirty parts of town. To be fair, we’re mostly on the outer space prison but even there they seem to pay homage to other, and often better, sci-fi films. Like the characters and plot, there’s nothing here to latch onto other than the people running the place are dumbasses.
I suppose that’s the biggest thing going against this movie: logic. When it comes to science fiction, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is necessary in order to enjoy it even on the most basic level. However, the actions the characters take, and are put in, makes absolutely no sense and seemingly are done just to create suspense and/or thrills; though this seems to be a trademark in most of Luc Besson’s films (see: Colombiana, Transporter2-3, etc.)…
The performances are decent even when the respective characters are one-dimensional. Guy Pearce once again is Mr. Reliable and kind of melds into the background in most of his supporting roles, but in the lead he gives some life to Snow while Maggie Grace is at least not entirely a DiD and tends to hold her own. Sure, the romance between the two is a bit forced but at least they’re likeable. In the villains roles, neither Vincent Regan nor Joseph Gilgun are particularly memorable but I suppose they served their roles well enough as catalysts to the protagonists.
Now, admittedly despite the many issues I had with the picture, Lockout still manages to be somewhat entertaining even if it’s completely forgettable and merely a 85-minute timewaster if you have nothing better to watch.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.75/5
Breaking Into Lockout (11:07) – This is a really basic ‘making-of’ featurette where various members of the crew and cast chat about the movie, characters and such. Outside of some behind-the-scenes footage, it doesn’t offer up much useful or interesting information.
A Vision of the Future (10:14) offers up a look at designing the futuristic world in the art direction department. For a technical featurette, it’s not too bad and is a tad better than the paint-by-numbers one that came before.
UV Digital Copy
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Lockout is presented in its original theatrical anamorphic 2.40 widescreen and outside of the typical amount of artifacts one would find on a DVD, it’s a perfectly fine transfer. The picture offers up some nice black levels and the color array seems to be on par with what was intended.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track is quite strong with plenty of action to provide for a well-rounded aural experience while the quieter, more dialogue driven elements is crisp and clear from the center channel.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Lockout isn’t a bad movie but it’s hardly a memorable one. It’s yet another sci-fi thriller which fades into the background with the other wannabes. The visual effects is pretty bad especially early-on (the stuff in space was at least decent) and the characters are one-dimensional but at the same time, at only 90-minutes (sans credits), it’s at an OK time-waster, nothing more, however.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman