Published on December 16th, 2014 | by The Horse0
The year is 2079, and action man Snow (Guy Pearce) has been framed for a Crime He Didn’t Commit. Meanwhile, The President’s daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) has fulfilled her movie birthright and got herself kidnapped. There’s only one way the CIA will absolve Snow of his crime, and that’s to risk everything to etc etc…
Yeah OK, but – get a load of this – the First Daughter is being held captive on space station MS One – it’s The World’s Most Secure prison, and it’s full of The World’s Most Dangerous criminals, and… They’ve all fucking well Escaped! I know, right?
After a preposterous opening involving a MacGuffin full of seekritts, we’re off to the space prison with the name (and security) of a failed Microsoft project for lashings of ultraviolence, sacrifice, lessons learned, a preposterous ending, and a TWIST.
There’s a promising plot branch that should have been the main plot, which involves prisoners as guinea pigs and shady mega-corporation shenanigans, but this pops up and then evaporates, a fart in the empty void of space.
Apparently, a predictable escape-by-numbers bollockfest was far more preferable than making a thought-provoking political or moral point about prisoner treatment. And so we run, jump and shoot to an inevitable conclusion like a platform game with the invincibility cheat code on.
Snow is a charisma-free version of Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element, and Pearce delivers an abysmal script of hackneyed one-liners with all the panache of Radioactive Man from the Simpsons.
The quips become so irksome I found myself fantasising about an early scene where a seated and handcuffed Snow’s face is mercilessly and satisfyingly pummelled. It’s a good job this is an opener, as you’d have no sympathy for the character if it was two-thirds of the way through.
Running tings on space jailhouse MS One are the most gruesome Scottish twosome since The Krankies – the batshit Hydell (Joseph Gilgun) and scheming Alex (Vincent Regan).
The former cavorts around like a psychotic Groundskeeper Willie, but there’s no method to Hydell’s madness. It’s missing something to make it truly menacing. That extra dimension belongs to the more thoughtfully murderous Alex, who is left underdeveloped and underused.
Just in case we’re in any doubt of how few marbles the have left, their eyes swivel all over the shop, and some random Red Shirt is suddenly killed just because. Obvs, we need to know these boys mean fucking business, aye?
Mather, St Ledger and Besson miss a trick here – the two paper-thin baddies could have been consolidated into one schizophrenic psychopath, providing Snow and Co with a complex, compelling and fearsome nemesis.
Lockout’s violence is oddly inconsistent, shying away from scenes that would have had genuine shock value and resorting to predictable set-pieces you can see coming from light years away.
Luc Besson has a fertile imagination, but this offering is maddeningly full of disappointment and missed opportunity. Lockout is derivative of so many better sci-fi movies, it’s laughable that the opening scroll lauds Besson with having the “original idea”.