Let’s get this straight: Lockout is Escape From New York in space, minus almost everything that made that film a classic. Snow (Guy Pearce) is framed for the murder of an undercover agent (YAWN) and is due to be sent to orbital space-prison and floating disaster waiting to happen ‘MS One’. Meanwhile, the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) just happens to be on a tour of the facility because she’s a socially-conscious yet spunky independent female (ALSO YAWN) when the inmates break free and take over. Snow is sent in to get her out with the promise of a pardon should he succeed.
This film is derivative in all the wrong ways, stealing concepts and bad scriptwriting habits left, right and centre, and never delivering on the countless opportunities offered by the premise, despite it’s often cliched nature. The film opens with an astonishingly awful CGI-ridden car chase reminiscent of a particularly eager car advert, and the action never gets better. Fight scenes are dull, predictable and (surprisingly) few and far between, surrounded by clunky exposition and dialogue so bad it makes your ears cry. To make up for the lack of hole-ridden corpses, the plot looks like swiss cheese instead: at one point about 30 minutes in, Snow sees the President’s daughter and she hits him with a fire extinguisher, thinking he’s one of the inmates. Rather than use his energy to shout “I’m here to save you'” or something similar, he merely says “ouch” and looks forlornly at the floor as if he’d given it his best shot. She runs away and they don’t meet again for 20 minutes.
The silver lining is Guy Pearce. He is utterly convincing in the kind of balls-out action role he hasn’t really played before, and makes the most of every sardonic glance and groan-worthy one liner. His character is the most entertaining part of the movie by some distance. Grace is decent enough if whiny in support, but nobody else registers. Boring secret agents, one-note sidekicks and a gurning and inexplicably Scottish villain all make for a daft and unmemorable concoction. No wonder this didn’t get a cinema release in the UK. The main reason I sat through this in its entirety is due to my being on a 13 hour flight. My options were limited.
Lockout (2012), directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, is released on blu-ray disc and DVD in the UK by Entertainment in Video, Certificate 15. Available in the UK from August 20th.