By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Generic action movies are a dime a dozen and have derived to a point where many critics take what many believe to be the penultimate action film, Die Hard, and use it to depict the plot of the newest action film. Lockout is Die Hard on a space prison. Guy Pearce’s hilarious turn as Snow can’t stop this film from being a redundant, visually poor and lifeless two-hour romp in a space station.
When the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) is on board MS-1, a maximum security prison located in deep space during a massive inmate breakout, the secret service sends in Snow (Pearce), a former CIA agent who has been falsely accused of murder and is desperate to clear is name.
The first scene of the movie shows Snow getting beaten into submission by a member of the social service, as the director is convinced that Snow murdered a fellow CIA agent. Snow just directs every question as a reference to the director’s wife. In Lockout, Pearce takes the turn as a quick-witted yet powerful action star very well, making his role more of a parody of action films than anything else. This works out pretty well, the film itself is so blown out of proportion and melodramatic that an overblown rendition of a John McClane is needed. The best part is that his antics never really get old. Snow keeps being a wise-cracker from the beginning of the film until the final scene and it continuously keeps entertaining, more so than the actual plot on-screen.
Action films fall victim to one major detractor; they all have the same material. Someone is in danger, the hero goes to rescue them, backstabbing/psychotic antagonist here, little small twist there and one final explosion before the hero saves the day. Lockout follows this line perfectly, which never allows the movie to exceed beyond the successes of previous action films. The action is solid, but a PG-13 rating holds back the level of visceral violence that could have been, choosing instead to have more lens flare than a J.J. Abrams film and quick cutaways to compensate for blood.
Lockout is unable to separate itself from the mass of action films that have come out over the last dozen years, but the true strength that might help distinguish Lockout from the rest is the remaining cast that really help drive the film. Grace is more than adequate in her role, which is oddly similar to her breakout role in Taken, only this time she’s blonde and gets a gun. Peter Stormare plays the director of the secret service, who, along with Lennie James, a secret service agent, continuously keep an eye on Snow while he is in the prison are able to keep the film while working outside the main plot. There isn’t much new in Lockout, but there is enough to make the film’s characters memorable.
Despite their best efforts, the makers of Lockout were unable to make anything more than the generic run-and-gun action film. Driven by a top-notch actor turned action star, Lockout cannot separate itself from the pack of action films over the last decade and is immediately forgettable after watching it. For an enjoyable but forgettable adventure, definitely give Lockout a shot.