Guy Pearce as Snow
Maggie Grace as Emilie Warnock
Peter Stormare as Scott Langral
Vincent Regan as Alex
Lennie James as Harry Shaw
Joseph Gilgun as Hydell
Jacky Ido as Hock
Anne-Solenne Hatte as Kathryn
Bojan Peric as LOPD Tech
Tim Plester as Mace
Directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
An annoying lead character, a predictable storyline, and unbelievable plot points drag down “Lockout.” It could have otherwise been a great sci-fi action film.
In 2078, Snow is a government agent who has been falsely accused of selling top secret information and killing a fellow operative. As he sits in jail, he gets an unusual request. The daughter of the President happened to be on a prison space station as a breakout and riot took place. Now Emilie Warnock is a hostage of some of the most dangerous criminals from Earth. Snow is asked to infiltrate the space station and rescue Emilie in exchange for a pardon. He agrees to the mission, but he has another reason for going. The man that can clear his name is also on the prison station.
“Lockout” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references.
“Lockout” has one of the best opening scenes I’ve seen in recent memory. We’re introduced to Snow as he’s being brutally beaten during an interrogation. Those few brutal minutes, intercut with a great action scene, quickly tell you everything you need to know about the character. He’s a smart mouth, he’s a spy, and he’s been set up. It’s great for hooking you quickly and Guy Pearce sells it well.
This movie also has good production design. We’re treated to near future cityscapes, a prison space station, space ships, and all sorts of other great sci-fi goodies. “Lockout” is a great looking film.
What Didn’t Work:
I desperately wanted to like “Lockout.” I was in the mood for sci-fi. I’m a fan of Guy Pearce. I’m also a fan of Luc Besson and his previous sci-fi adventure “The Fifth Element.” Things certainly started out promising enough with the aforementioned great opening, but things gradually went downhill.
The biggest problem is Snow himself. His wisecracking is entertaining at first, but it goes on. And on. And on. It doesn’t take you long to realize that every line of dialogue out of the character’s mouth is a sarcastic comment, a joke, or an insult. Snow goes from being a fun lead character to a smug jerk. When he’s paired with Emilie Warnock, he immediately starts verbally attacking her and things get even worse. Snow simply isn’t a likable character.
The next problem is believability. It is a sci-fi movie set on a prison space station, so there is some degree of suspension of disbelief that is required, but overall there is a degree of realism presented in the movie. So when the first prisoner escapes in a somewhat unrealistic manner, I gave “Lockout” a pass since there was great promise of what was coming next. But then more unbelievable things happened. The characters did stupid things that didn’t ring true. I can’t get into details without discussing spoilers, but things culminate with a pretty unrealistic way Snow escapes from the space station. When you see it, you’ll know what I mean. It was more eye roll inducing than anything.
The third big problem is that this movie does nothing new and it’s quite predictable. Going into the film I joked with other reviewers that it sounded like “Escape From New York” in space… which I was perfectly OK with. I thought a prison riot in space was a fun concept. Well, it ended up being exactly like “Escape From New York” with little variation. They even made the hostage the Presidents daughter rather than the President. But it was, unfortunately, one predictable plot point after another. I bet you could correctly guess the entire story based on the trailers and commercials alone. It’s predictability makes it really un-engaging.
So, in short, my problem was with the script of this film and the disappointing thing is that I think it all could have been fixed at the script level with very little effort.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, I found “Lockout” to be a pretty big disappointment. I had high hopes for it. I would recommend it as a rental or something to watch on cable TV, but I think your time may be better spent elsewhere.