The movie Lockout sends the Earth’s most dangerous criminals to space and keeps them in an artificial state of sleep like some kind of live-action science experiment. Well, that’s one way to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons.
It is obvious one is not supposed to take this B-movie too seriously, but it was all a bit clunky and awkward for me. I could never get into the story from the beginning, and almost felt as lost in space as the criminals in outer-space prison.
Based on an idea from Luc Besson (the mind behind movies like Taken and La Femme Nikita), Lockout is set in the year 2079. Most of the movie takes place in MS One, an experimental prison in space where the 500 most dangerous criminals on planet Earth are kept in an artificial sleep.
Leading a humanitarian mission, the U.S. president’s daughter, Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace), arrives just as the prisoners have suddenly awakened and seized control of the prison. The gang of criminals, led by Scottish Alex (Vincent Regan) and his more off-kilter brother Hydell (Joe Gilgun), take Emilie and the crew hostage.
The president decides to send ex-CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) on the sole mission of saving his daughter and leaving everyone else to fend for themselves against the inmates. Snow had been wrongly convicted of espionage but is promised his freedom in exchange for Emilie’s safe return home. Snow is a reluctant hero and makes it look far too easy to just saunter into space and rescue the president’s daughter.
Ultimately, the film, from newbie directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, suffers from silly storytelling, mediocre action, low-budget special effects and tepid PG-13 violence.
None of the characters has much personality, aside from a brawny Pearce, whose wisecracks and witty lines kept the audience chuckling every now and again, but it wasn’t enough to save the entire movie. Basically, when Pearce wasn’t on screen, not much was going on. Still, I prefer Pearce in his more “prestigious” roles, a la The King’s Speech, Memento and L.A. Confidential.
Maggie Grace was completely underwhelming as his potential romantic interest. It was hard to tell if it was the actress or the character, but either way she didn’t leave much of an impression on me. She mostly plays the damsel-in-distress role and has some decent banter with Pearce’s character, but I didn’t see any sparks.
The villains were sufficiently creepy, but I found the lack of a final-act, violent showdown between Snow, Emilie and the prisoners disappointing. Also, the prisoners do kill people, but they never really make any demands or insist on being set free.
I have to wonder why this genre film didn’t go direct to DVD or direct-to-cable TV. I predict it will soon be one of those late-night movies you’ll come across while flipping through the channels in an attempt to conquer a bout of insomnia.
Movie Grade: C-EndFragment