Outer Space Prison Blues!
LOCKOUT (2012) Directors: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan Rating: PG-13 For bad space language and graphic space violence.
Okay, show of hands – anyone ever been to outer space?
But I’ve seen a lot of movies set there, and outer space can either be a place for thrilling adventure (Star Wars, Star Trek), heart stopping terror (Alien), or head scratching confusion (Solaris, The Adventures of Pluto Nash).
Lockout, the sci-fi action thriller from the mind of Luc Besson has most of the above mentioned things, plus a pinch of Die Hard and a dash of Escape from L.A. thrown in for good measure. It’s like a Kellogg’s variety pack of cereal minus the two crappy boxes of Corn Flakes that nobody eats and will eventually throw away!
In the year 2072, a huge space prison called MS One orbits earth. The planet’s most dangerous criminals are kept aboard in cryogenic stasis for their entire sentence, which cuts down on daily meals and those pesky gang fights over the remote in the TV room.
The President’s crusading daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) flies up to MS One to check on the health and well being of the inmates. Hoping to convince the first daughter that the prisoners really enjoy being frozen, the stupid ass warden thaws out a prisoner named Hydell (Joseph Gilgun) for her to interview. Unfortunately, Hydell is a homicidal maniac and he quickly kills Emilie’s guards and frees all of the prisoners, including his equally dangerous brother Alex (Vincent Regan).
Now I’m no expert in futuristic space prison design, but I would probably make instantly thawing out and freeing every prisoner something that cannot be accomplished by simply pushing one button on a computer console. I have to push more buttons to brew coffee!
Alex and his crazy brother take Emilie and the MS One staff hostage (all twenty of them – because in the future a Death Star-sized cryogenic prison facility can be staffed by the same number of people it takes to run a Best Buy) and demand that the president release them from space immediately.
The President and the oily Secret Service Director Langral (PeterStormare) have another plan to rescue Daddy’s little girl, and it involves a cocky, ass kicking guy with nothing to lose!
CIA operative extraordinaire Snow (Guy Pearce) is having a really crappy day. Framed for the murder of a fellow operative while on a mission to recover stolen space program secrets, he’s given an ultimatum by Langral: sneak aboard the space prison and rescue Emilie or be placed in stasis for the next century or until the Cubs win the World Series, whichever comes first.
Pearce does a good job stepping into the John McClane/Snake Plisskin action hero role, cracking jokes and cracking skulls as he tries to get the President’s not so helpless daughter to an escape pod before the crazed space inmates find them and the space police swoop in with their space police fighter ships and blow the place up. Did I mention the movie is set in outer space?
There’s a subplot about Snow trying to find the evidence that will clear his name and another one about the sinister medical experiments going on aboard MS One, but all that takes a back seat to Snow’s wisecracking heroics and Alex and Hydell’s scene chewing, and that’s fine with me because subplots are to action movies like vampires are to the Twilight movies; life sucking and for girls!
To sum up, Luc Besson has once again brought us a fairly decent action thriller with a bit of sci-fi flair tacked on.
Lockout is no Die Hard or Escape from L.A. which is is a bad thing. But on the positive side, as far as futuristic space movies go, Lockout is no Battlefield Earth, and you should drop to your knees and thank God and Xenu for that!