Thriller Movies, by Mike Richardson, 04 August 2012

Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger

Stars: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare

Country: USA

Runtime: 95 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Writer/director/producer Luc Besson takes a couple of steps away from the camera for this film, it’s directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, but the mood of Lockout is clearly Besson even if it is considerably more Taken than The Fifth Element.

Lockout

Lockout

It’s still the same old story where we have a maverick government agent Snow (played by Guy Pearce) who is falsely accused of a crime and in order to receive a pardon must break into a top security prison (in SPACE!) and save the life of the President’s daughter who has become trapped in the world’s, (well the world’s orbit’s) worst prison, just as the inmates have rioted and taken control of the penitentiary.

The basic premise of a good man in the wrong place, at the right time, fighting against the odds established by Die Hard, has been spun into an entire genre. Sometimes it works very well; for instance Under Siege was basically Die Hard on a boat, sometimes it works less well, for example Under Siege II, Die Hard on a train. This time thanks in part to Besson’s flare and the directors’ and scriptwriters’ knowing sense of humour Lockout can be filed as a Die Hard wannabe that succeeds.

Our hero’s mission is to get aboard a maximum security prison in orbiting the Earth which has been overrun and overtaken by the inmates and rescue the President’s daughter who was there on a goodwill mission, which I think makes it the first Die Hard wannabe that has left the planet.

All the necessary components are present and correct; we get the stubbly leading man Guy Pearce (a surprise bonus), some hard-hitting action set pieces, a bunch of pantomime baddie guys (Joseph Gilgun has a blast as wild-eyed Scottish serial rapist “Hydell”) an utterly implausible plot (that never quite insults the audience’s intelligence) and the liberal smattering of quirky one-liners.

For example Secret Service director to Snow, “With that attitude, I can see why nobody likes you.” Snow to Secret Service director, “Oh, come on. People love me. Just ask your wife.”

With this sort of film were not looking for new ground to be covered, we don’t want to be challenged, it’s a good old popcorn movie, where the film’s reliance on established aspects work in its favour.

Guy Pearce (the actor formerly known as Mike from Neighbours) is a revelation as the wise cracking, tough talking, head breaking Snow, as he’s now known for more serious and cerebral fare such as Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film Memento. He obviously seems to revel in the opportunity to play the action hero and rolls with the punches so well that you wonder why it’s taken so long for the actor to have a stab at this sort of thing.

At the risk of being unduly critical some of the early special effects don’t quite convince and the film seems to be in a rush towards the end possibly to bring it in under 100 minutes but all in all lockout is just great fun.

Set your receiver to popcorn, settle down, settle in and enjoy.

Lockout Trailer

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Movie Reviews

Hysteria

Hysteria

A film about the invention of the vibrator should leave you with a satisfied smile.
Tower Block

Tower Block

Tower Block rounds out a tidy triple of high rise thrillers after The Raid and Dredd. Except this one is very, very British.
Savages

Savages

Oliver Stine is back with Savages, WELL back but it’s more Natural Born Killers than Wall Street.
Now Is Good

Now Is Good

There’s another disease of the week tearjerker, but it (like its heroine) refuses to go gently or quietly into the light.
Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly

The best gangster film in ages.

Most Popular Movies