Lockout sees wrongly accused ex-government agent, Snow (Guy Pearce), offered the chance to clear his name by rescuing the President’s daughter (Lost star, Maggie Grace) from a rioting maximum security prison located in space. There is something interesting about this version of the future, that sees the most dangerous prisoners sent to the space based facility Maximum Security One and placed into a state of stasis - a kind of enforced inactivity. But, in Lockout, this idea is not complimented by a particularly original story. Lockout’s rioting prisoners are too cliche to be particularly frightening and the escape scenarios feel distinctly uninspiring. The characters, Snow and Emilie, the President’s daughter, also lack the degree of unconventionality required to make this type of film stand out from the crowd.
Unfortunately, Lockout’s visual interpretation of the future is fairly weak. At first, the dark, smokey atmosphere on Earth with air ships looming about the skyline, feels like a poor imitation of the movie classic, Bladerunner. Curiously, technology has advanced sufficiently for newspapers to have digitised headlines, but the world’s fashion appears not to have moved on at all. At the outset, Lockout’s version of the future is also hampered by special effects that blur easily and appear more reminiscent of a computer game than a Hollywood blockbuster. Once in space though, and shedding the need to represent Earth in a futuristic way, the visuals and special effects become much more convincing.
Guy Pearce holds Lockout together with his portrayal of the brazen and clever Snow. Even this far into the future, Snow still smokes with ‘nobody smokes anymore, Snow’ being one of the more interesting lines from the movie. But at times, Snow’s subplot seems like it could be in a different film entirely to that of the main rescue scenario. Snow’s story is pretty much forgotten during the middle of the film and so, when it comes back into focus, seems to unnecessarily clutter up the movie.
Lockout is littered with cheesy lines (‘It’s a takeover’), cliches and bad jokes, but its plot moves on at a nice pace that holds interest. All in all, Lockout provides an entertaining hour and a half, but it could have been so much better.
Running Time: 95 minutes.
Verdict: Poor. ✭✭