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Caught this late Friday night with my girl after the Drake gig and had
a good night overall. After being on my feet for hours it was good to
sit on my arse at twelve on the night and just switch off and enjoy a
mindless bit of action. And that's exactly what 'Lockout' offers. If
you've seen Luc Besson's Europacorp action flicks you know what to
expect. I love all of them and this was no exception. Guy Pearce is the
show stealer as Agent Snow, the John McClane of the space age. His
wisecracks and mindless violence keep your attention. Maggie Grace is
as good as ever as the damsel in distress and the supporting actors do
a bang up job as well. Almost stealing the show from Pearce, but not
quite, is Joseph Gilgun as the nutty Scot, sure to make you laugh once
or twice, even if you're hating the film. The effects are well done,
the action over-the-top and exciting and it's overall good late night
entertainment. As with all these sorts of films, I'm sure critics and
serious Sci-fi nuts are going to hate. But as I always say, for people
who can switch off and enjoy a bit of brainless fun, this is a must.
Let the haters hate and the watchers watch.
I'd skimmed a few reviews inc Ebert's (avoid, even if you skim to the
end, he spoils it) and didn't expect much.
Really enjoyed it. Yes it's a re-tread of Escape from New York but who cares.
Good pace, strong acting (Pearce is a given but Gulgun the real revelation - genuinely emotional stuff) Anyone who slates this movie has lost their inner child (or mid-teen) watch it for what it is, not for what you think it reminds you of.
Enjoy, and make up your mind before you let others do it for you.
It's fair to say Luc Besson has gotten a bit giddy ever since "Taken."
The man who once upon a time brought us "La Femme Nikita" and "Leon:
The Professional" has instead taken to lighter action fare, in this
case recruiting amateurs James Mather and Stephen St. Leger to help
write and direct his "original idea." Exactlynot a "story by" credit,
but "original idea."
That's not to say "Lockout" isn't creative, but it's definitely not original. Some might dub it "Taken in space," especially considering it borrows that film's starlet in Maggie Grace, but it's much more akin to "Escape from New York in space." Either way, "Lockout" is another simple- concept action film from Besson, only it has a bigger ego that gets in the way sometimes.
"Lockout" is good for kicks, a fact of which it's very aware. Guy Pearce's Snow, the morally questionable and reluctant hero written so closely to the archetype he almost transcends it, weirdly. He has a sense of humor best described as abundant (though sometimes quite clever), and Pearce plays him especially wry; most actors (think Nicolas Cage) would've hammed it up too much or been unconvincing.
Snow is tasked with rescuing the president's daughter (Grace), who is stuck on a maximum security prison in space that has incurred a major security breach. These are the world's most dangerous criminals, plus they have been in stasis for any number of years, which has made them even nuttier. Joseph Gilgun as Rydell, one of two Scottish prisoners trying to run the uprising, is a particularly deranged fellow reminiscent of a demented Groundskeeper Willie.
Both Rydell and the other main baddie, Alex (Vincent Regan), have a cold-blooded edge that could have made for an effective R-rated ransom thriller reminiscent of late '90s films like Air Force One, but the devil-may-care attitude of the entire movie ultimately clashes with these darker moments, even though they do make you take the movie more seriously than you would otherwise.
After a little bit of context at the beginning to properly motivate Snow, both he and us are effectively shot from a canon. The story only slows down a bit toward the end, but it mostly plays out as a series of dominoes. The action doesn't satisfy so much as the pace and the threat of violence (now here's a good example of how you do PG-13 violence), but it's well done aside from an opening motorcycle sequence shot on green screen and outfitted with an effects job that really shows the budget.
Aside from that, the futuristic sci-fi elements stay pretty classynothing overdone or distracting. The gadgets provide some creativity to a number of the sequences and the script manages to inject some unpredictability into a story that could not have a more obvious trajectory.
Despite the self-awareness at points, with a lot of that credit going to Pearce, Lockout tries especially hard to be entertaining on too many fronts, aspiring to be the consummate popcorn flick rather than just identifying one tone and sticking with it. The final scene on the space prison strangely evokes the original "Star Wars" Death Star run, as if to make sure the audience gets to munch on some sci fi/fantasy before the credits roll.
It's hard to fault "Lockout" for aiming to please considering that that spirit seems to be the driving force behind the movie's strengths as well as its weaknesses. Although the number of attempts at humor might catch some folks off guard, "Lockout" offers what anyone interested in the film would expect, if for no other reason than its built upon tons of tropes from previously effective movies. In turn, "Lockout" is effective, but not too much more.
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If you are looking for a film to pass (or waste) the time and don't
want anything mentally challenging, this film is for you. It's not
nearly as gory as it could have been (and that's not a complaint). The
film does not tell us much about the characters' backstories, but
somehow you don't really care--this is a film about dueling
The point of the film is that the characters are supposed to get through a veritable obstacle course filled with villains, to arrive at a rescue point, but in the film, you never have any real idea if they are getting any closer, or indeed, where they are in relation to their destination. The film also sets up various time limits--a race against the clock--but never gives you a real sense of a countdown.
The actual means of escape is so preposterous and scientifically impossible it's not even worth thinking about.
The acting was adequate. The script and direction had serious problems. This might be fine for background noise on the TV at home, when you don't really have the time or inclination to pay attention to it. I would not recommend that anyone go to a theatre and pay money to see this, as it is on the low end of mediocre.
I loved this fun thriller, especially Guy Pearce as a wise-cracking
agent sent to rescue the President's daughter from outer-space prison,
where she's been making a charity visit.
There's lots of humour (especially in the first scenes - it's like Pearce is doing a Philip Marlowe impression) and the action is non-stop.
I was a bit puzzled that the inmates in America's top-security prison all seemed to be from Glasgow and that it seemed to be co-starring George Galloway, but the performances are great. Pearce is really cool and the psycho prisoner acts his socks off.
If you're used to watching thrillers, you'll guess a lot of the plot turns but overall I believe it deserves to be getting a lot better reviews. Overall, it was great fun.
I was kind of inclined to headline this as being the movie guaranteed
to make highbrow film fans froth with incredulity. That anyone could
enjoy such a derivative, tongue-in-cheek, low ambition piece of
schlock, is surely cause for venomous spleen venting from the serio
film brigade. They call them guilty pleasures, but thing is, I just
don't feel guilty about having such a wonderfully fun filled great time
with the Luc Besson produced Lockout.
Plot? Well it's the future and basically Guy Pearce (Snow) is wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to do stir in stasis until whenever. But up in space at the MS1 prison facility, home to all the maniacs found in Demolition Man, the president's daughter, do-gooder babe Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace), is suddenly taken captive and it's a big hostage situation. This looks like a mission for a serious hard bastard type! Well Snake Plissken wasn't available, so they get Snow, who is bulked up, full of wise cracks and has a point to prove. Guess what follows? Yep, complete popcorn frenzy as Pearce and Grace cut a swathe through MS1 and have a date with coolness personified.
On the way, via a truly gorgeous sci-fi affected Blu-ray print, we will tick off the homages and influences and compare notes with our viewing partners about how it's a Snake Plissken movie but with Shane Black type dialogue. While those who are partial to a bit of sci-fi design are well served here. Because even though there might be the worst CGI effects ever during a chase scene (that mercifully only runs for 50 seconds), the space ships, sets and Torsion System sequence, prove that you don't need Michael Bay type bucks to please the eyes. From the quite brilliant and hilarious opening interrogation beat down, to the big reveal and punch line, this Besson produced piece is serving popcorn with a smile to a certain segment in the film watching populace.
With bits of the Snake Plissken movies, Fortress, Die Hard, Commando, Demolition Man, Minority Report, Last Boy Scout and any other quip laden dude/wronged man on a mission movie, Lockout clearly lacks originality. But seriously! Was anyone involved playing it as anything other than a sly homage movie? No, they wasn't. Pearce is great fun in the role, but he isn't trying to worry the highbrow crowd's votes for films of the year. Anyone viewing it expecting something cerebral should feel more guilty than those who stand up to say they had a great time watching it. Ingem Ferem. 7/10
Summer must be coming around soon, as here come the popcorn blockbusters! Although "Lockout" still might be a little bit "lightweight" to be considered a box office hit, in spite of the explosive and spectacular action sequences and a couple of familiar fresh faces. "Lockout", based on an original concept idea by the mighty respectable Luc Besson, initially feels overwhelming and imposing, but it's actually one of the most derivative action thrillers you'll ever see. The plot borrow its main story lines and characterizations from a series of world famous as well as lesser known Sci-Fi classics/gems. The setting of a (supposedly) inescapable maximum security prison floating around in space comes from the early 90's cult favorite "Fortress", the premise of a noble convict sent in to try and evacuate a presidential relative naturally comes from John Carpenter's legendary Sci-Fi monument "Escape from New York" and Guy Pearce's character Snow fires off as many witty one-liners as Bruce Willis did in all of the "Die Hard" movies combined. The year is 2079 and Pearce depicts an elite secret agent wrongfully accused of espionage and murder, but the only evidence that can set him free has gone missing. Snow is about to be sent to MS-1, a super hi-tech penitentiary in space, when all of a sudden riots break out. Snow is nonetheless sent to MS-1; not as a prisoner but as the last hope to bring back the president's daughter Emilie, who was there to investigate the effects of brain stagnation and accidentally caused the prison disorder. "Lockout" is definitely amusing while it lasts, but it's unmemorable and occasionally even too preposterous for its own good. The structure of the film is logical and most of the key sequences are easy to predict, but at least it's fun to behold the excessive violence and some of the over-the-top performances, like Guy Pearce and particularly the prototypical British scumbag Joseph Gilgun as the indescribably psychotic and maniacal inmate Hydell. The CGI-effects are surprisingly inane and laughable. There's one scene in particular that is quite terrible, namely near the beginning when Snow tries to escape from a crime scene on a motorcycle seemingly borrowed from "Minority Report". That sequence actually looks as if you're watching a video game. Premiered at the annual Belgian Festival of Fantastic Films.
I found this to be a great, fun, well-acted, funny, and "unique" take
on the typical action films of our our past. I say "unique", because it
is not, in any way, unique. I give that the setting is something new,
but all in all, this movie pulls from great movies past, and in doing
so, made off with a seasoned, enjoyable film.
Guy Pearce was flawless and oddly fresh as the standard "I don't care" action hero. The Snake Plisken-gone right character was the driving point of the whole film, and definitely the best part. Maggie Grace pulls off her best performance yet, even well above her LOST and Taken characterization, showing that a "Taken"-style damsel doesn't have to be in distress. The villains were all over the board in this film, with neither one taking complete center stage. All of them equally hold the necessary torch for the situation.
This is a story that has been told before, but in a new way that is fresh and fun. The acting makes this movie truly what it is, and with solid action, and excellent pace, I believe this subtle action film may be the best yet of the year (future films not comparable).
Lockout is the story of a man named Snow (Guy Pearce) who goes into a
space station prison, to rescue the presidents daughter (Maggie Grace),
who is trapped in an prison outbreak.
Of course there is more depth to the plot, but not too much, the majority of the film is the two main characters running around and barely making it through doors, that can not be broken through. There is also a sub plot that could have been more interesting than the actual plot, and may be used in the hope of a sequel.
Lockouts action is good, and many of the prisoners look intimidating. However the movie fails to really connect with anyone, and the movies hero only delivers snarky comments instead of real dialogue, making him one sided. The movie is also entirely predictable leaving no room for surprises. There is the seasoned veteran man saving woman aspect, but unfortunately this is not taken.
I would say that Lockout is not a complete loss, but a better rental than movie trip. Despite being similar to other movies Lockout is not a remake or sequel, making it one of the few original works in the past few years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Lockout' is like a relic dug up from the '90s because the plot is a composite of elements taken from 'Escape from L.A.', 'Fortress 2' and many other action/Sci-Fi flicks from that era. I can only surmise screen writers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger wanted to make a retro tribute if that was the intention they succeeded. Guy Pearce plays futuristic CIA agent Snow, who's framed for murder when a mission goes wrong. Fortunately for him the President's daughter Emilie Warnock, (played by Maggie Grace) is taken hostage during a fact finding visit to a high security space station prison where the convicts are kept in stasis. So Snow gets the chance to redeem himself by going to rescue her. Formulaic to the nth degree, the plot proceeds as the escaped convicts take over the prison. They are led by two Scottish brothers; Alex (Vincent Regan) and the deeply psychotic Hydell, brilliantly portrayed by Joe Gilgun. As you expect, Snow and Emilie have to team up to fight off the inmates and escape the space station. Further complication is added as one prisoner holds the key to clearing character name's record. What lets this movie down is its predictability. You can almost guess character name's one liners before he says them. Nothing in the plot is a surprise or even vaguely innovative. Without Joe Gilgun's character all the cast would have been one dimensional movie stereotypes. Emilie is a throw back female lead, only there to be threatened and rescued. She doesn't seriously try to fight back or take control, it's all down to character name to do the hard work whilst she complains and makes the inevitable switch from hostility to romance. Having said all that, I did have a nostalgic fondness for 'Lockout', I can imagine renting it on VHS from my local shop or watching it on ITV late night on the small portable I had when I was a teenager living with my parents. If you fancy a trip down memory lane and have a couple of hours to kill then go see it, but you'd be best saving some money and waiting for the home release.
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