"Prison. In space. What could possibly go wrong?"
Spawned from the mind of the great Luc Besson, Lockout is a brilliantly compelling action thriller set in a prison in space. Prison. In space. What could possibly go wrong?
Set in an alternate universe, Guy Pearce plays Snow, wrongly held captive by the US government for conspiracy to commit espionage against the nation - despite being convinced of the face he has been framed. However, he is offered a chance of freedom if he can rescue Emilie (Maggie Grace) the presidents daughter, currently held hostage in a prison out of space that has been taken over by the vengeful and enraged inmates who have formed an escape.
Dangerous inmates and brothers Alex (Vincent Regan) and Hydell (Joseph Gilgun) have taken over the hostage situation and are using Emilie as bait to blackmail the president in securing their safety and return back to Earth. However Snow, despite acting quite nonchalant about the rescuing process, is determined to save Emilie and prove his innocence, although there a host of quite violent prisoners standing is his way, wanting him dead.
Directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Ledger and written by Besson, Lockout is relentless fun, full-on from start to finish. Similarly to Source Code last year it's yet another simple premised sci-fi thriller that manages to grip you and entertain you in equal measure. It feels traditional, with a host of slick one liners implemented throughout, albeit highly cliched - yet it works, as the overstatement suits the nature of the film. The lack of any substantial romantic narrative is also a positive, as a potential romance often clouds over an otherwise enjoyable action film.
Yet despite its merited simplistic approach, the plot line is somewhat generic and perhaps a little too direct, ultimately preventing Lockout from being a more memorable film, as despite being good fun throughout it remains as just that, nothing we haven't seen before, but for what it is, exactly what you would hope and expect to see in such a film.
When you have a film such as this you rely heavily on your lead role captivating you and having you on his side - and Pearce is brilliant. He has a swagger about him and an assurance that everything will end up okay. However his smartass cynicism early on is a little overly cool, and rather than like him you kinda want to punch him too. We will of course be seeing Pearce again soon in Ridley Scott's Prometheus, as he seems to be spending more time in space at the moment that NASA.
The other stand-out performer is Gilgun, playing the psychotic and anarchistic Hydell. Better known to British audiences as 'Woody' from This is England, he is brilliantly sadistic in his role, and appearing in what is his first Hollywood role, I have a feeling this won't be the last see of him on the big-screen as he carries an incredible degree of potential.
Not necessarily anything to write home about, Lockout remains a fun, no-holds-barred film which has you engaged from start to finish. Yet the mediocrity in the plot and the lack of chemistry between our leading pair prevent this film from being a classic, but it's certainly given it a good shot.