CAST Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare DIRECTOR James Mather, Stephen St. Leger STORY AND SCREENPLAY Luc Besson PRODUCER Marc Libert, Leila Smith Genre Sci-Fi Action Location Outer Space
Technical assessment 2.5
Technical assessment 2.5
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating For viewers 18 and above
In 2079, the US has built a maximum security penitentiary called MS1 outside the earth’s orbit wherein criminals are kept in suspended animation or statis. The president’s daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) visits the prison to investigate if the convicts are indeed being used as human guinea pigs and if statis leads to psychopathy and dementia. Unfortunately, during the interrogation, one of the convicts escapes and releases all other prisoners, resulting to a riot and the hostage of the Emilie and the rest of the prison staff. The Secret Service devices a plan to save Emilie by sending wrongly accused and sarcastically brooding CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) in the penitentiary. Although reluctant at first to accept the suicide mission, his fellow CIA agent Shaw (Lennie Shaw) convinces him to go by pointing out that the only person who will be able to clear his name and reputation is one of the prisoners in MS1.
The film borrows too much from other movies namely Escape from New York and Alcatraz, to be original. The plot is predictable and the characters come off as caricatures. Although the action sequences are fast-paced and excitable, it shows nothing really creative or innovative. It does get boring after the first few explosions and hysteria of being chased throughout the film. The only successful ingredient in the film is the chemistry between Pearce and Grace providing a few laughs with their constant banter and Pearce’s dead tone liners and electrifying presence. Even at the very start of the conflict, we are sure of which characters will live and which one will die but nonetheless, the audience are glued to the screen as it does deliver an easily digestible and cheap entertainment.
One thing admirable with the film is the desire of the protagonist to help people whether criminals, hostages or the good guys. Emilie is an epitome of people-oriented leader who has no qualms about selflessness and compassion—at times to the point of stupidity (like telling the lunatic Hydell where she can found)—but still enough to make one appreciate goodness amidst a world transformed into self-centeredness and amorality.
Lockout is like most action films where the way to achieve justice, freedom or redemption is to have blood splattered indiscreetly and dead bodies scattered about from the first scene to the last. Hence, the crude entertainment and modest values it may have is only suitable for older and more mature audiences.