Reviewed by Ian Forbes, Sobering Conclusion
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see John McClane in space? Would you like to see Wolverine rescue a hot chick from a maximum-security prison following a hostile takeover by the inmates? Does the notion of spotty CGI elicit any sense of excitement? Do you prefer your characters to come stock, with very little in the way of development or modification? Is the amalgamation of numerous film clichés into one watered-down and overly simplistic story your idea of fun?
If you answered yes to ALL of those questions (and it’s a game I could have kept going for a while), then your name is most likely Luc Besson and you just came up with the “original idea” for Lockout. And it’s no wonder his films seem to be a Frankenstein of so many others, he seems to have his hands on so many films each year, it’s a wonder he can keep them straight at all.
Now, I’m not knocking the guy. I love a great deal of his work, from León, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita and on down. Even when he’s only screenwriting and producing (as is the case here), the film always seems to retain his stamp on things. So allow me to simply state that the credited directors/co-writers are James Mather and Stephen St. Leger and we’ll never speak of them again for the purposes of this review. Even two against one, Besson’s signature wins out easily.
This is good for the sake of making such a contrived and predictable story retain any sense of fun. For while Lockout is brainless, there’s still something satisfying about watching Guy Pearce do his best Bruce Willis/Hugh Jackman impersonation, beat up a bunch of bad guys, and keep a beautiful woman safe (Maggie Grace in this instance) – all while set in the quasi-distant future of 2079.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what you’re in for and you shouldn’t expect any different. There’s a minor subplot about government secrets and a badly disguised game of “Which shadowy government figure is the traitor?” but really, we’re only talking about 13 or 14 brain cells necessary to follow along, or more often, stay ahead of the pace.
But all of that’s okay. I certainly wasn’t expecting some revolutionary idea and simply wanted a little dumb fun – which is essentially what I got. Trying to dissect the film anymore would literally be scene descriptions and where’s the joy in that? Lockout is a decent action flick to check out if you need a quick fix, but it will deliver the same impact on the home market so don’t worry too much if you miss out on the big screen experience.
Lockout hits theaters on April 13, 2012 and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references.