Monday, 9 July 2012

Film Review: Lockout

Certificate: 15 (intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references)
Directed By: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare, Jacky Ido, Peter Hudson, Mark Tankersley
Budget: $20 million
Runtime: 95 minutes
Trailer: Watch

When a breakout on a space prison masterminded by two Scots (Regan & Gilgun) pulled directly from Trainspotting occurs while the President's daughter (Grace) is onboard for a humanitarian mission, anti-hero Snow (Pearce) is sent in to rescue her.

The parallels to Escape From New York and its sequel, Escape From L.A. are shameless. As is the near identical character mould of those film's wisecracking antihero, Snake Plisskin. Indeed, 'the maverick who is the only one for the suicide mission' archetype is a trope you thought left behind in the 80s and mid 90s, but it would seem Lockout released it from the past. The only difference between the Plisskin and Snow is the former's eyepatch, as if they were put side by side in one of those 'spot the difference' puzzles. Throw in an element of Die Hard's Bruce Willis and the running around a space prison featured in Alien 3 and you begin to get an idea of what this is all about.

However, this unoriginal and seemingly straight-to-DVD romp would be awful if it were not for Guy Pearce's uncanny Kurt Russel impression. The reluctant antihero charm does much to turn the other cheek from its otherwise stale formula and questionable acting which spills into a pleasing little chemistry with Maggie Grace. Although this won't completely prevent you from pausing at some of the more incredulous moments and questioning "what the hell is this shit?!". Likewise, the action sequences are somewhat disappointing given the setup, as is the CGI you would expect from a film set in space. This is also particularly noticeable in a horrendously rendered motorcycle chase sequence on Earth which looks like a video game from ten years ago.

Lockout serves as a reminder as to why they don't make films like this anymore. But still do anyway. Pearce pretty much carries the film with his nonchalant one-liners while the decent character chemistry provides just about enough to overlook what is otherwise a subpar film. Indeed, the film's humour is its redeeming feature, Pearce's enjoyment in the role of Snow permeating infectiously throughout proceedings. But this is ultimately an uninspiring mash-up of films you've seen before. What it comes down to is whether you enjoy watching the two central leads banter and if it compensates for everything else wrong with it.


Dan O. said...

I thought Pearce’s performance was awesome and probably the best part of this flick. The action was also a lot fun too but you’ve all seen this done time and times before. Good review.