Friday, August 31, 2012

Lockout - QC Review

Directed by: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Lennie James and Peter Stormare
Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
Release Date: April 13, 2012

Snow ponders his next witty comeback.

When was the last time you heard someone refer to a movie as "Die Hard" in (fill in the blank)? There was a time when every action movie being released was about some guy in a confined area surrounded by people who wanted to kill him. So either the script for this new film produced by the extremely talented Luc Besson was sitting on the shelf for the past two decades or the first time feature film directing duo of James Mather and Stephen St. Leger thought it was time for a revival of the genre. In any case it doesn't really matter since "Lockout" is one of the most uninspired and dull action films to be released in a very long time.

Opening with probably one of the worst special effects sequences of any movie this year (including direct-to-video), we are introduced to Snow (Guy Pearce), a rogue government agent captured and sentenced on suspicion of espionage. Having no hope of clearing his name it is fortunate that the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) is being held captive in the space prison MS One (as in Maximum Security One) for him to go rescue. Yes, you read that right, a space prison, filled with a bunch of hardened criminals who have just overrun the facility due to a painfully predictable set up. So with time running out, Snow volunteers to infiltrate the prison and rescue her in hopes of becoming a free man again.

Prison life on MS One is not very agreeable.

If that scenario sounds a little familiar then don't worry, you aren't going crazy. Taking more than just an inspiration from John Carpenter's classic "Escape from New York" and the aforementioned "Die Hard", the film quickly degrades into a series of hostage negotiations that go bad, prisoners leering at beautiful young women and a quip happy hero running around the place killing anybody that gets in his way who also starts to have feelings for the woman he was sent to rescue, but only after they have gone through the whole, "I hate you and you hate me" routine. "Lockout" had all the components needed to make for a fun Sci-Fi action flick but somehow ends up being completely devoid of fun or anything resembling entertainment. Even the usual solid Guy Pearce seems to be belting out the one-liners like someone has a gun to his head the whole time.

If "Lockout" has any redeeming features it is that it is mercifully short and breezes by at a rather quick pace. This entire film just feels like it was a chore for everyone involved and nobody seemed to be having a good time making it, especially the guys in charge of the films many effects laden sequences which appear to be in a pre-Alpha state of completion. So, if the people making it weren't having any fun, it isn't that big of a surprise that we the audience find it a chore to sit through as well. It is bizarre how a film like this gets a wide theatrical release when another film released around the same time to video-on-demand like "Get the Gringo" didn't get any love and was relegated to obscureness. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of this one and check out a much much better action flick like "The Raid".

Do you think Snow is about to say something witty again?





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