My first review for this week is for the film Lockout. I’ve been avoiding this flick since I saw the first grumblings about it on the internet, but what sealed the deal was watching the first trailer. I immediately thought of the Christopher Lambert vehicle Fortress 2. A sequel to a film about the ultimate prison. The ultimate-er prison satellite that Lambert found himself locked in after he escaped the original. Now, it seemed orbital prisons were making a comeback. This time with Guy Pearce playing a character not unlike a poor man’s Snake Plissken. Complete with the quasi-futuristic implied dystopia from the Escape From… franchise. What caught my eye was a psychopath Scotchman (is there any OTHER kind?!) played by the always-excellent Joseph Gilgun (Misfits, This Is England). To be honest, I just wanted to see him. His role takes up, accumulatively, roughly 20 minutes. The films isn’t bad, but it is far from an instant classic.
The premise was more of a mashup than I thought. It mixed the aforementioned films along with a bit of Demolition Man and The General’s Daughter (Yea). This is basically the stone soup of action plots. The films is a great break from the seemingly constant onslaught of terrible action films that have come out over the last few years. While most are terrible, there are a few gems. This flick; however, is mid-grade at best. The plot revolves around Snow (Pearce) being wrongfully (and illegally) convicted of a murder of a U.S. General, that happened to be an old friend of his trying to sell state secrets. This gets him convicted to 30 years of cryogenically induced sleep in a orbital prison. It just so happens that this prison is where the President’s daughter is going in order to thaw out and interview a prisoner (Gilgun) for some charity she works for. She actually questions him about how ethical his chemically induced coma is. Really. She actually asks if he dreams. Anyway, this goes over terribly and through incompetence, this prisoner breaks free and releases 499 other inmates — including his own brother. Snow is offered his Snake Plissken deal and is told to save the First Kid. What follows is 90 minutes of action and filler dialog. There are a few decent quips, but most of the interaction between Snow and the First Kid is forced. Pearce does his best to do SOMETHING with the role, but it seems all of his acting skills went to Lawless earlier in the year. So, what we are left with is a film that mashes up some of the more absurd portions of the films I just mentioned and actually delivers a half-decent ride. Sure, it is predictable and any “fun” we are supposed to have with it never really happens. The point is to turn your brain off and ignore how crappy the premise is. As far as action flicks go, it is a product of it’s genre. It is certainly better than the worst of the 80s/90s crap, and is eons ahead of most of the stuff released in the past ten years, but it still fails to do anything original. The casting was the most ballsy thing done during the production of this film.
Possibly the best thing about the film is Snow’s inability to give two-shits about pretty much ANYTHING, yet still somehow have enough interest to make quips. That, and the coup led by what I can only assume is the head of the Secret Service…maybe? The bottom line is that if you are bored and can’t decide on what to watch on Netflix, or want to sacrifice some time on the alter of Action, check this flick out. I think it is a solid middle-of-the-road. A five out of ten. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great.