Lockout (DVD/Blu-Ray) – Dir. James Mather, Stephen St. Leger. Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare.
Is there anything that can’t be improved by sending it into space? Lockout doesn’t think so.
In the year 2079, the world’s worst criminals are punished by being placed into stasis and then—I can only guess because there was a budget surplus that year—launched into space. They’re stored on “MS One,” an orbital space station and maximum security prison.
The next scheduled resident of MS One is a man named Snow (Guy Pearce of Memento fame), an ex-CIA agent wrongfully convicted of murder. But before he can make the trip, MS One’s questionable security protocols catch up with it when a single prisoner gets loose and convinces a station worker to press the big red “Let out all the maniacs” button. Now the inmates are in control of the station, and among their hostages is the President of the United States’ daughter (Maggie Grace).
Security isn’t the station’s only design problem. If MS One doesn’t have constant maintenance by one very specific (and now dead) technician, it loses altitude like a jumbo jet and crashes into the nearest populated part of Earth within about eight hours.
So science, common sense, and general brain-use aren’t Lockout’s strong points. The film is like a great fractal plot hole, where looking at any part of it up close only reveals more, smaller plot holes. Characters in this movie regularly work against their own goals for the sake of establishing themselves as good or evil (like the cunning head inmate who never seems to come up with any demands, but does shoot the police negotiator).
Perhaps most frustrating are the massive story threads the film never bothers tying together. Snow, as we know, is a convicted criminal; great pains are taken to establish this fact in the movie’s confusing and hyperactive mess of an introduction. You might therefore guess that he will make use of his inmate status to stage a rescue of the president’s daughter from within the station, because that would make sense. Instead, his sentence turns out to be a coincidence that is never even brought up when he is selected to infiltrate the station (in place of, say, any special agent in the country who isn’t a convicted murderer), nor does it come up at any point during his mission.
The entire wrongful conviction premise is one of several subplots that could have been cut without any impact to the main story.
In fact, I’m not even sure why this movie is set in space. It doesn’t do anything that couldn’t have been done on present-day Earth.
Taken out of their absurd context, many of Lockout’s action scenes are entertaining enough. And Guy Pearce, who is usually known to be scrawny and timid, turns out to fall naturally into the role of a wisecracking action hero: an echo of Bruce Willis’s character in The Fifth Element (by Lockout writer/producer Luc Besson). His endless snide comments prompt more than a few girlish giggles.
Lockout might be worth seeing primarily to marvel at the depths of its nonsense, but it has some limited value as an exceptionally brainless action film.
Rated PG-13 for defaming the space cops.
2.5 out of 5