I saw the preview of Lockout while watching another movie on DVD. The trailer looked great, and I wondered how I’d missed the film when it originally came out. Then, I read the reviews of the movie on Amazon and had to scratch my head because the majority of them weren’t positive in nature.
What to do?
That was the question.
I could ignore the DVD, or buy it and find for myself how good or bad it actually was?
Well, I bought it, and I’m glad I did.
This movie stars Australian actor, Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, Momento, The Time Machine, Lawless) and Maggie Grace (Taken and Taken 2). Though I’ve enjoyed the roles Guy Pearce has played in the past, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of his … that is until I saw Lawless several weeks ago on DVD. He played a really bizarre killer in that film, which I think was a fabulous standout performance. I knew Maggie Grace as Liam Neeson’s daughter in the two Taken movies. With these two lead actors in the film, plus the really good trailer, and the tagline — Die Hard Meets Blade Runner — I figured the film had to be halfway decent. Of course, I’ve been suckered in by well-made trailers before, but this seemed like a movie to take an obvious chance on.
The movie turned out to be even better than what I’d hoped for.
I certainly loved the action sequences and the comedic dialogue that was spoken by Guy Pearce with such a straight face. Like Bruce Willis, Mr. Pearce is simply great at uttering sentences of astute witticism. He has a real panache for being sarcastic in an extremely funny way, while playing it straight. He usually gets punched in the face when he does open his mouth, which makes it all the funnier. You have to see the movie to understand what I’m talking about.
Lockout takes place in 2078. The worst criminals are sent to a converted space station in the earth’s orbit. The criminals are then placed into stasis, or deep hibernation. Maggie Grace plays the U.S. President’s daughter, Emilie Warnock, who flies to the station to check out the living conditions there and the rumors of what’s happening to the criminals.
While interviewing a criminal named Hydell (played to the hilt by Joseph Gilgun), Emilie watches as the man gets the best of her security guard and breaks free. It isn’t long before the crazy-as-a-bedbug Hydell kills a number of people, releases the other cons in their small, single cells, and, with the leadership of his brother, Alex, starts making demands of the U.S. Government. Fortunately, the criminals aren’t aware of who Emilie really is. That comes later in the movie.
To save Emilie, an ex-Army man (a buffed up Guy Pearce) named Snow, is released from jail and given the option of saving her, or spending next thirty years behind bars. When he finds out what the mission entails, he decides that jail might be safer of the two, but then relents and agrees to the assignment.
Unfortunately, as the saying goes, Snow only has so many hours in which to rescue the President’s daughter. Once he arrives at the space station, he has to make his way through the large complex, take on a large number of convicts in combat, get Emilie safely to a hidden space pod, and then figure out a way to save himself after she flies off, or does she?
It’s to be expected that Lockout is nowhere as good as Die Hard or Blade Runner. Still, I found this movie to be very entertaining and funny. There are some plot holes in the story like why is there a Secret Service agent in the same room as the convict who’s being interviewed by Emilie when they’re both separated by bulletproof glass? The agent also has his backup weapon in an ankle holster when it should have been turned in earlier.
Some of the special effects looked rather cartoonish, or animated, like the motorcycle chase scene at the beginning. That kind of threw me off a little bit. It’s important to remember that the budget for this film was only twenty million dollars when compared to the 200 million for Avatar.
Most of the effects, however, were done to perfection and appeared realistic in scope.
I thought the inside of the prison/space station was well done. It looked totally real to me, which is the whole purpose of an effect.
One thing that bothered me was the weaponry used by Snow and the convicts. With the movie taking place 65 years into the future, you would expect the handguns and shotguns to be well … more futuristic looking.
What makes this film an actual winner in my opinion is Guy Pearce’s performance as Snow and Maggie Grace as Emilie. Though the convicts and the rest of the characters are played with excellence (Vincent Regan as Alex, Peter Stormare as Langral, and Lennie James as Harry Shaw) by their performers, the two lead actors steal the show. They are beyond excellent in their roles and with their dialogue. They also work well together with that magic chemistry Hollywood speaks so highly of, playing off each others character with pitch-perfect timing.
I liked this movie so much that I want to see a sequel with the character of Snow back in action. That will probably not happen since this film didn’t break even financially, but one can still hope.
There were two twenty minute featurettes on the making of the film that were fun to watch. Not much else in the way of extras for the regular DVD.
I would never have expected to see Guy Pearce in a role like this, but he pulled it off, and I’m now a die-hard (Get it … Die Hard?) fan of his. I can’t help but wonder what Pearce will be playing in next.