Sometimes when you go to the movies, you have to go with the expectation that you’re going to have to suspend your expectations in order to have a good time. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be seeing a bad film, but rather your original impression of a film from viewing its trailer is that it’s a hodgepodge of plots from past movies dealing with prisons, espionage, and escapes. And oh yea, it’s set in space. So it’s going to be the kind of film that you have to just enjoy rather than critique at first.
Directed by both James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, Lockout tells the story of agent Snow (Guy Pearce) who has been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the United States after he is caught apparently killing another agent and trading secrets. The agent in charge of convicting him and getting the information out of him is Langral (Peter Stormare). The two of them trade bouts of sarcasm frequently throughout the film.
Meanwhile, First Daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) is on her way to MS-1, or Maximum Security One, the first maximum security prison in space that is currently housing 500 high security level inmates in stasis. She’s there on a humanitarian and journalist-like mission to see if stasis is affecting the prison’s inmate’s brains in a negative way. While she is there, the prisoners escape, lots of people die, and she is taken hostage.
President Warnock (Peter Hudson) now offers Snow his freedom if he can rescue his daughter from the prison that is now taken over by the inmates. But Snow is even more interested in one of the prisoners who might have the key to his own innocence with the location of a briefcase that he gave him before he was captured.
The plot itself reminds me of some other movies and is a bit far too over the top. The special effects in the beginning of the film will leave you wanting a lot more as they look far too cheap, but thankfully as soon as they get into space, the graphics improve dramatically and the movie takes on a whole different look.
Dialogue in this film is weak and extremely predictable. But I will say that the one thing that I enjoyed a lot was the sarcasm. Guy Pearce did a great job delivering his corny lines, but an even better job delivering all of the lines of sarcasm he had. Every sarcastic saying he has hits the nail on the head and works well their respective scenes. He plays his character just cocky enough, but with a hint of having a heart and caring about the situation. Surprisingly, it worked well.
The directors knew that this is the type of film in which you need to keep it moving, and keep it moving at a reasonably fast pace or it would fall apart. They do a good job of keeping it going and never letting it slow down for too much of a time and combined with the action sequences, the running time of the film is just about the right amount of time required to tell the story.
This may not be a film that you’re going to walk away loving, but it’s not one that you’re going to hate either. It’s one that you’re going to enjoy, but only if you give it a chance for delivering a dose of fun. So if you do go to see the film, try to suspend your expectations, and that will help you enjoy it even more.
FINAL GRADE: C
Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres