Stop me if you’ve heard this one: President’s daughter gets caught in a very bad place teeming with criminals and convicts. A known felon gets blackmailed into helping get her out. Yes, Snake Plissken did it all before in “Escape From New York,” but Lockout puts a twist on things by moving the action…to SPAAAACE!
It seems CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) has been framed the murder of undercover agent Frank Armstrong, who in turn had uncovered evidence of a mole within the space program selling state secrets. When U.S. President Warnock’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) attends a space penitentiary known as Maximum Security (MS) One to determine if putting prisoners into stasis is cruel and unusual punishment, things go horribly awry. SPOIEROUT: And by horribly awry I mean plot-bendingly stupid, in which her secret service bodyguard decides the best way to defend the president’s daughter is to be on the side of the glass with a prisoner, and — for reasons that only make sense to the writers — a canister of highly explosive gas is stored directly behind the interrogation room. Can you see where this is going? It all leads up to lots of explosions, Emilie in trouble, and Snow drafted to save her.
The plot manages to be unpredictable thanks to Hydell (Joseph Gilgun) and the ethical question of the President’s personal interest in saving his daughter balanced against the possibility of a mass prison escape. Then again, this is a movie with a trailer that states with utter sincerity:
“There’s only one man who can get her out. Snow. He’s the best there is. But he’s a loose cannon.”
Get that? Snow is the best there is, BUT HE’S A LOOSE CANNON!
“Lockout” keeps piling on the silliness as the plot shambles along, complete with an automated defense system that’s highly effective at keeping people out but pretty terrible at keeping people in. What were the architects worried about, space pirates? And if so, demonstrating the threat of space pirates might have made the whole bristling prison gunship premise a little easier to swallow.
Without Snow’s witty banter with Emilie “Lockout” be nothing but a derivative hunk of space junk. This film is just lazy. But it will make you wonder how the mastermind behind “The Fifth Element” managed to stoop so low. Here’s hoping Luc Besson escapes wherever he’s locked up.
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