It’s like ‘My Date With the President’s Daughter’ except its in space and filled with more serial killers and rapists.
A former government agent Snow (Guy Pearce) wrongly accused of a crime gets a shot at freedom — if he can engineer a high-risk mission to outer space in order to rescue the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a prison where the inmates are in control.
Right from checking out the trailers, I knew that this was basically ‘Escape from New York’ in space. Hell, it could have even passed as a sequel from John Carpenter himself but it at least still deserves more credit than that. Ok, maybe not that much but come on it’s April!
What this film did and did well was that it was an action movie that kept a pretty quick pace going on throughout the whole time. It went from point A to point B without feeling the need to muck it up or try and bring in some soft moments so we could feel something for these characters. It gets the job done in a slick pace that doesn’t feel like they’re holding you over for too long either.
Just about anybody could correctly guess the entire story based on the trailers/commercials or if you have ever seen an action film from the 90’s, but I think that’s the charm underneath it all. It’s not trying to be anything else other than dumb, mindless entertainment that is pretty much meant to be watched for the sake of passing time. Also, the fact that the script doesn’t take itself too seriously and actually allows plenty upon plenty of jokes to come up also added a lot of the fun to this film as well. Basically, you get what you pay for: action mixed with sci-fi, that doesn’t need to be watched or enjoyed with a brain intact.
The film itself only cost about 30 million dollhairs to make (which may not sound all that cheap but when you think about how much ‘John Carter’ went up for, then you’ll understand) but for some reason I feel like a lot more money could have been used on this. Not all of the visuals are bad, actually they are quite good but the times when they are bad, they are noticeably bad. There is a scene in the beginning where Snow is riding away on this motorcycle while some peeps are shooting at him and it honestly looks like a freakin’ video game cut scene. The SFX looked clumsy and it was almost as if the film didn’t have enough money to fix the scene up, so they just left it in there hoping people wouldn’t notice it’s horrible look. Sorry dudes, I’m a pretty observant guy.
It was also sort of strange that in a that consists of 500 prison inmates on the loose, that the most dangerous threat to these protagonists was the space ship that they were all in. The inmates obviously get their times to shine and show that they can be pretty bad-ass and killer when they have to (that’s what got them in there in the first place), but too much of the film was focused on the problems that Snow had to deal with when it came to the actual space ship itself. It would constantly shut-on and shut-off, change room temperature, come close to blowing up, and a whole bunch of nonsense that sort of took away from the dangerous level of all of these bad guys in the first place. Maybe the other problem also had to do with the fact that whenever the two main bad guys talked, I couldn’t get past their thick, Scottish accents. Then again, that’s probably my fault so don’t mind me.
Guy Pearce has been one of those actors that you can depend on no matter what the material is, and it was pretty cool to see him finally get his shot at showing he can be a leading man once again here as the wise-cracking Snow. Snow is basically the Snake Plissken-type where he’s dangerous, smart, and very much a loose cannon but Pearce sells that every single second here and makes us like Snow a whole lot more. I would say about 95 percent of this dude’s dialogue is either a wise-crack, insult, sarcastic comment, or just a plain and simple joke but it never gets boring one bit and makes a lot of the scenes with him a lot more playful and lighter. Pearce obviously is having a blast with this role and I couldn’t help but have fun watching him myself.
Maggie Grace is pretty good as the president’s daughter, Emilie Warnock, even though she is pretty much playing the same role she did as Liam Neeson’s daughter in ‘Taken’ but at least this time, she can fight back. Grace has some obvious chemistry with Pearce and I could actually see these two characters play together very well in a sequel to this, but judging by the box office for this one, I highly doubt that it will ever come around. Yeesh! On another thought though, can anybody tell me just what kind of accent Peter Stormare was gunning for here? The dude sounded like a strange mixture between a cowboy and Ivan Drago, and sometimes he would even go back and forth between the two. Strange accents aside, the guy is still a good actor though.
Consensus: Predictable, dumb, and unoriginal, Lockout barely has any of the elements that makes a good, if memorable, sci-fi flick but with a reliable cast, quick pace, and fun action to boot, it doesn’t do so bad when it comes to just killing some time.