Some films you see because it’s getting rave reviews and winning awards left, right and centre. Some you see because you saw a trailer and thought it looked worth a watch, or maybe you like the cast. Hell, maybe some of you even pick your films based on my reviews, you poor deluded fools. My motivation for seeing Lockout was simpler than all of that. I saw ‘jailbreak’ and ‘space’ in the same film and I was good to go. It’s a reasoning I suspect I share with quite a few guys out there.
Before I sat down in my seat I could tell you literally nothing else about the film. Which is a good thing really. It means you have no preconceptions, and that’s a rare opportunity when seeing a film.
Lockout is set in MS One, a high-tech maximum security prison where the world’s worst prisoners serve their sentences in stasis. To me that seems like an odd way for a prison to be run; it’s neither rehabilitating nor punitive, but rather suggests that MS One’s sole purpose is to keep these people out of the way. Oh, and as I already mentioned, it’s a space prison. It’s a prison, and it’s in space.
When a silly man breaks security protocol by doing something silly, it results in all of MS One’s prisoners waking up and promptly deciding that having them all encapsulated was not cool. Emilie, daughter of the United States President, is on MS One at the time of the jailbreak for some completely plausable reason. When the president learns his daughter is caught up in the most colossal prison f**k up since somebody decided the soap should come in bars instead of bottles, it falls to Snow, an ex-CIA operative trying to clear his name, to rescue her.
From the space prison.
Guy Pearce plays Snow. Framed for espionage and the murder of a CIA agent, Snow was scheduled for a trip to MS One himself. Despite being offered a chance at redemption, he is about as thrilled with the mission as you’d expect. Pearce is outstanding. He plays the wisecracking tough guy role to a T, and is hugely entertaining and riotously funny. Whoever wrote Snow’s lines deserves a promotion, because he manages a witticism in nearly every sentence he speaks, and each one is funnier than the last.
The rest of the cast do a fine job. The gorgeous Maggie Grace plays Emilie, and she plays her part well. She also cuts her hair at one point, which is awesome (what is it about girls with short hair?). The film’s main villain is played by Vincent Regan, who is totally convincing as a highly intelligent and extremely dangerous sociopath (he’s Scottish, obviously). Lennie James is just as convincing playing Shaw, a CIA agent trying to help Snow clear his name. Finally, Peter Stormare does an excellent job playing Langral, an agent hell bent on seeing Snow put away for his crimes. We’re meant to loathe Langral as the film progresses, and Stormare does a great job with his character. Although admittedly I couldn’t help constantly remembering him from my childhood favourite The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
The plot has all the required tension and action. I was disappointed by what felt like a shortage of shootouts, and at times the scenes with Snow and Emilie began to feel like ‘the same old rescue story’, but there was plenty to take in and the decent story will definitely keep you guessing until the very end.
A film about a space jail will naturally require some decent special effects. Lockout doesn’t disappoint, and although scenes requiring the use of a lot of CGI are limited, they are very well presented and blend flawlessly into the film.
There’s not much else to say really, as I’m kinda half-assing this review between studying for exams (how cool am I?). Lockout is a solid film with a good cast and a fun storyline. It’s far from sci-fi at its finest, but if you’re looking for some good action with tension and a lot of great humour, you can’t go wrong.
- Rob Ferris, 28/04/2012