Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Joseph Gilgun
Rogue special agent Snow (Pearce) is framed for the murder of a high ranking military officer, captured and condemned to 30 years on MS1, an orbiting penal colony. However, before he can be sent there, the prison station is overrun by its inmates, who have not only taken the staff prisoner, but also the President’s daughter, who is visiting on a humanitarian mission. Snow is given the mission to infiltrate the prison and rescue the First Daughter – a mission he accepts when he learns that the person who can help him prove his innocence is also incarcerated on the orbiting prison...
We’ve already mentioned in these pages that Luc Besson is behind a whole host of shiny, shallow action movies (the Transporter movies, Taken). His name is very prominent in the production of Lockout, which for my money is one of his more ambitious non-directorial projects.
We need to address the elephant in the room, that is the entirely preposterous notion that someone would build a massive orbiting structure for housing dangerous criminals. The cost of running it, not forgetting the ferrying back and forth and the neighbouring marshal’s space station, would be astronomical!
Luckily Guy Pearce is on hand to ensure we don’t get much of a chance to dwell on it. The sheer swagger he infuses Snow with is amazing, and unlike any performance he’s given before. It’s not just that Pearce understands the right amount of levity to give the material, he is able to undercut the machismo with just the right amount of pathos. The film spins around the deaths of two characters who mean a lot to Snow and Pearce ensures that Snow’s armour, his machismo facade, is allowed to drop to show the anger and sorrow underneath. Pearce works really well with Maggie Grace, who as the President’s daughter is not only the film’s maguffin but also the straightman in a very funny double-act.
Lockout’s only real problem are the bland badguys, Langral (Stormare) and Hydell (Gilgun). They are a pair of psychopathic brothers: Langral is the alpha, while the more psychotic and destructive Hydell is always sniping and challenging his authority. There is very little about these two that we haven’t seen work much better in other films.
Lockout’s action scenes match the preposterous nature of its main conceit (see above) and the massive central performance from Guy Pearce, starting and ending with preposterous situations which are well served by the film’s direction and CGI/fx work.
Yes it’s preposterous, even by Summer Blockbuster standards, but Guy Pearce is just so damn good that through sheer presence alone he makes this work. Other than naff badguys, this is highly entertaining.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
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