Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger.
2012. Rated PG-13, 95 minutes.
Vincent Regan
Joseph Gilgun
Lennie James
Peter Stormare
Jacky Ido
Tim Plester
Mark Tankersley
Anne-Solenne Hatte
Peter Hudson

The year is 2079 and former CIA operative Snow (Pearce) is accused of murdering a man who was selling government secrets. You’d think they’d be happy about this, but I guess murder is murder so here we are. Not quite. What’s really going on is that Agents Scott Langral (Stormare) and Harry Shaw (James) are questioning Snow on the whereabouts of a case containing some very sensitive information. Since he doesn’t have it to give up, and because he’s a wise-ass, Snow is about to be sent to MS-One, a prison orbiting Earth in which all of the prisoners are cryogenically frozen. Of course, before he’s put to sleep something goes terribly wrong at the prison. Because of a not-so-bright Secret Service Agent, all of the ship’s five hundred inmates are woken from their slumber and take the place over. What is a Secret Service Agent doing there? He’s escorting the President’s daughter Emilie Warnock (Grace), who is on a fact-finding mission. Obviously, the only logical thing to do is entice Snow to mount a one-man rescue mission and bring the First Daughter home safely. In other words, a remake of Escape From New York ensues.

We get some decent action scenes as Snow and Emilie run into various bad guys while trying to get off MS-One. However, they’re no so spectacular they distract us from the inherent stupidity of the plan and its execution. This, combined with the prisoners being none too smart, gives us a less than compelling movie. One other thing hurts it, as well. Maggie Graces’s performance as the Prez’s daughter is lackluster, at best. She competently recites her lines, but doesn’t make us care one way or the another. We need a little more umph from our leading lady. Unfortunately, the only reason she stands out is because she’s the only woman in the cast. Well, there is one other, but she doesn’t last long. Meanwhile, the contrivances needed to push the plot forward pile up. These include bad movie scienc, forced urgency and a couple “well whaddya know” moments.

Our saving grace is Guy Pearce in the lead role. With sarcasm turned up full blast, he provides us with a number of laughs along the way. His dialogue is essentially an unending string of smart-alec comments. I can see how this might get on some people’s nerves, but I rather enjoyed him. Unfortunately, he has fewer funny lines as the movie progresses and tries to concentrate on resolving its conflicts. Still, he makes me chuckle a good deal more than I was expecting.

Lockout is a film that puts itself in a precarious situation. Most of the good things about it are merely adequate, not strong enough to elevate it to being a good movie. We’re left with a picture that flounders along doing what it does. Then it ends after a silly bit of code-busting that makes you shake your head.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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