Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joesph Gilgun, Lennie James and Peter Stormare
Written by Stephen St. Leger, James Mather and Luc Besson
Directed by Stephen St. Leger and James Mather.
Busy time for releases this weekend with Friday bringing the revival of the Three Stooges back to big screens, The Cabin in the Woods (my pick for best film of the year so far) and the Guy Pearce Sci-Fi/Snake Plisskin wannabe vehicle, Lockout. St Leger and Mather, two new filmmakers under the tutelage of Luc Besson, have clearly watched a lot of Neveldine and Taylor productions and have set out to deliver a similar non-stop action romp to those of the Crank films. What follows is a completely irrational, implausible and downright nonsensical 90 minutes that defy the rules of common sense and logic gleefully. It’s all wrapped up with a very fun and funny Guy Pearce performance that’s 100% bravado and ego, and a formidable psychopath villain with an itchy trigger finger. When it works it works very well, when it misses, it misses terribly.
We start off in the middle of Snow (Pearce) being interrogated, and physically abused, over a job gone bad by the effectively slimy and hate-able Secret Service agent Langral (Stormare). Langral claims to have seen Snow kill another former CIA agent, like himself, during a meet in which Snow was brought onboard as backup by one of his best friends. Snow escapes with a brief case, during a particularly awful looking motorcycle chase, which he passes off to his partner Mace (Tim Plester) who hides the case prior to being arrested by the police himself. Snow is convicted and sentenced to spend his time on MS1, a high security prison in space where prisoners are kept in cryostasis for the duration of their sentence. On MS1, the president’s daughter Emilie (Grace) visits and a jailbreak is triggered from recently revived Hydell (Gilgun), a nasty little psychopath who figures out how to open all the pods and then the chaos begins. So of course Snow is recruited and given orders to rescue the President’s daughter, before it’s too late, in exchange for his freedom. Snow’s friend Shaw (James) also informs Snow that Mace is on MS1 as well. As the convicts start running the asylum a true leader among them emerges, equally capable of Hydell’s flair for violence yet much more mentally stable; Alex (Regan) manages to organize the cons and soon realizes how special one of his hostages is, but not before Snow gets her first. What follows is a cat and mouse race throughout the space station and beyond, with an ending so ludicrous I dare not describe it here.
Pearce’s performance here makes you wonder why he’s not chomping on a cigar a la Hannibal Smith, blowing holes in space with a Colt .45 a la Dirty Harry or wearing that infamous eye patch of the aforementioned Snake Plissken. He’s unrelentingly ego driven with no apologies. Grace is nothing much more that background here as the privileged daughter of the president who has decided to take up her cause of the week, this week being prison reform. Stormare does well as the stubborn and entitled Secret Service agent who believes he knows the best action for everything going on around him, while James is the laid back agent whose known Snow for years and never doubts him for a second. Of the baddies it’s Gilgun who steals the show and chews scenery left and right as the psychopathic Hydell, obsessed with Grace’s Emilie. Regan plays well off Gilgun as the brains behind the Convicts actions.
Lockout is crazy, stupid fun, emphasis on the stupid. This is the type of flick you throw on at 2 am at the house party where everyone is drunk and you want to watch something crazy. This is the type of film that becomes a guilty pleasure. I assure you this, if you go into this film expecting any semblance of an intellectual script or engaging plot you will hate this film. But if you just want to be entertained by the sheer lunacy of it all, with some fun action set pieces, improbable as they may be, then Lockout may be a fun 90 minutes in the dark.
Til Next Time
Movie Junkie TO