‘Lockout’ is an homage to everything we love about cheesy, ‘80s action comedies, never missing a beat – or tired convention.
Escape from New York was a hero action flick that went against the grain. Snake Pliskin wasn't a good guy, he was just the right guy without any options. Dropped into a lawless world, he set out to complete his mission. Lockout is about another Snake-type character who is forced to embark on a similar mission.
In 2079, Snow (Guy Pearce) is an ex-secret service agent being falsely accused of murder and espionage. When the president's daughter (Maggie Grace) is caught in an outer space prison riot, he's selected to infiltrate the facility and rescue her from the murderous band of thugs holding everyone hostage. In addition, he must try to figure out the secret location of a briefcase that may be his only shot at clearing his name. Of course, there are time restraints, unforeseen complications and 500 inmates standing in his way.
It's rare to have this much fun at a movie not actually deemed a comedy, but this film is so ridiculous it can't help but be funny - whether every laugh was intended is an entirely different matter (though it's executed so precisely they almost have to be). From the typical tough guy dialogue to the not so surprising revelations, this film grabs over-the-top by the collar and fires it into the atmosphere. Moreover, the inaccuracies and unrealistic occurrences are mind blowing, contributing to the picture's comedic element. Mix in a few deadly serious scenes, shoot outs and fist fights, and you've got yourself a good time at the cinema.
To truly enjoy this film, you have to appreciate the effort it's making to pull in every cheesy genre standard. It displays them without irony, even when making them more absurd; the final rescue scene is a prime example of this as it causes the viewers' jaws to drop in disbelief. It's a tribute to the great sci-fi action pictures of the '80s and early ‘90s, such as Snake's Escape films, Total Recall and the straight-to-DVD Dolph Lundgren movies. Being a fan of these films means being in on the joke, since recognizing the countless conventions recycled for this picture is half the fun.
Pearce is outstanding as the wise-cracking leading man, displaying a comedic dexterity not often seen by him. Nonetheless, it appears to come to him quite naturally. Lennie James and Peter Stormare are the good cop, bad cop giving Snow orders and helpful hints throughout, portraying their respective types exactly as expected. Meanwhile Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun are convincing as the murderous sociopaths running the show inside the prison, though there's some dispute over who should be responsible for the main decision-making.
For a night of shameless entertainment and explosions, Lockout is a winning choice.
Directors:James Mather and Stephen St. LegerStarring:Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare