The Scoop: 2012 PG-13, directed by James Mather & Stephen St. Leger, and starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare
Tagline: Take no prisoners.
Summary Capsule: Noble federal prisoner takes a job to rescue the President’s daughter from a jailbreak IN SPAAAAACE
Justin’s Rating: Minimum security fun!
Justin’s Review: So Lockout begins with a weird credit that says “Based on an original idea by Luc Besson.” I don’t recall if that phrase is used too often in movie credits or not, but it struck me as sort of pompous and ridiculous. Pompous because it’s saying “Look at me and my brain!” and ridiculous because there’s just about nothing that’s original in this film. I mean, seriously, nothing. Scifi prison? Been there so many times I’m practically a virtual inmate. Prison in space? Also been done, as recently as this summer (Men in Black III). President’s daughter gets kidnapped by escaped criminals and a noble convict is sent to rescue her so that he can clear his record? Snake Plissken wants a word with you, Mr. Besson.
In my own sly way, I’ve already told you the entire plot of the film. All of it. There’s nothing more to wring out of this narrative that your brain hasn’t constructed by this sentence. So is Lockout worth seeing?
Yes and no.
It’s a weird mid-budget B-movie that may want to be a lot of things, but does only a few of them well. One of the things it does not do well is editing. Editing’s one of those filmmaking elements that you never notice when done right, but it’s very noticeable when you have a first-year film student behind the controls. Lockout is just plagued with bad editing from start to finish, with every scene rushed, sometimes sped up, and sometimes jammed together with jarring cuts. A major action scene at the start of the film that should have taken about four minutes or so is compressed into a bizarre 20-second fast-forward clip. Characters are introduced with a brief one-second title card that tells you their name and job in a hard-to-read font. By the end, you’re just not questioning why a guy who’s parachuted from space to a random spot on Earth is arrested literally two seconds after he touches down, because the editor has reduced you to a gibbering mess.
I also have to question why this movie was done as a PG-13 outing. Again, I’m not in favor of everything being a hard R, but a prison action movie that pulls its punches is a sad sight to behold.
Anyway, Lockout could have been irredeemable. It should have been, considering the editing and recycled story. But there’s a few things that do work and as such, I didn’t feel like I wasted one of the few movie watching experiences I’ll have this month. First of all, tired idea or no, it’s still a fun one, especially if you have a good lead. Guy Pierce is the John McClaine for our tour, and he does this laconic wisecracking soldier routine that should’ve been eyerolling but he makes it work because he’s a pro. There are several amusing quips that kept me entertained, and when the film slowed down to do comedy, it actually hit it spot on.
The special effects and sets are well done, making it worth your while if you like some eye candy. Let’s face it, not a lot of studios are pumping out outer space scifi flicks these days, so we can’t really afford to poo-poo the ones we do get.
Langral: I can have Rupert bludgeon you all night.
Snow: I’m being beaten up by a guy called Rupert?
Snow: That’s where the pod is. You get in it, you fly away. The good guys will come and get you, ok?
Emilie Warnock: On my own?
Snow: You’re a big girl, right? Here’s an apple and a gun. Don’t talk to strangers, shoot them.
Emilie Warnock: My dad. What did he say?
Snow: Well, I didn’t get to meet him personally. He kind of delegated your rescue. He had a big conference on the corn surplus.
Emilie Warnock: You’re kidding me?
Snow: No. No, apparently, we should all be eating more corn.
Emilie Warnock: About my father?
Snow: Oh, yeah. I made that other bit up.
Emilie Warnock: Did he have a message for me?
Snow: Yes. You are adopted.
Snow: That’s to stop the bleeding. And hopefully the talking.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Escape from New York
- Fortress 2
- Men in Black III