I was looking for a new movie that fell in line with my theme of badassery and noticed that Lockout came out over the weekend. From the description on IMDB and the trailers, it certainly seemed to fit the bill. One of the writers for the movie was Luc Besson. I am a big fan of The Fifth Element, The Professional, and Taken so it did not seem like a big risk to go give this movie a shot.
Lockout is the story of Ex-CIA agent Snow. In the course of trying to help a friend protect US military secrets, He is accused of the murder of his friend and selling those same secrets to enemies of the US. During Snow’s arrest and trial, The President’s daughter is on a fact-finding mission to the super-max space station prison. Due to a series of mistakes by security personnel on all sides, all of the prisoners in stasis are released and the President’s daughter is put at risk. In order to save the President’s daughter, a one man assault seen as the safest means of assault. Who better for a crazy rescue attempt than a highly skilled ex-CIA agent? Violence does ensue.
I will freely admit that this movie is pretty much Die Hard in space. I do not see this as a downside. I really enjoyed Die Hard and I am a big fan of science fiction. So,the juxtaposition of the two seems like and easy combination to me. One of the problems that could have plagued this movie is that it might have taken itself seriously. This does not happen, thankfully. Guy Pearce plays Snow and channels the same energy that was a hallmark of John McClane in Diehard. Instead of coming off as tired and overdone, it feels like a warm homage to a well-loved character. Pearce easily chews up the scenery, interspersing his characteristic acerbic wit into the ubiquitous bouts of violence. The villains of the piece are a bit of a departure from Hans Gruber. Now this is not to say that they do not chew the scenery as well, as they do. Instead of the witty banter between the villain and the hero, we are given a power struggle between the two villains. The struggles between Alex and Hydell are a refreshing change in the action movie formula. The twist, though predictable, was also a welcome change to this tried and true set-up.
The science fiction elements in the story take a backseat to the action for the most part. While on earth, there is one chase scene where Snow attempts to escape using a futuristic motorcycle. This ends up being the weakest action piece of the movie as it involves very little of snark that makes Snow entertaining and the CGI is very weak . Luckily, the action easily takes place outside of the need for many effects and moves along at a rapid pace. There is one major set piece battle at the climax of the movie which is rendered well. It serves both to enhance the personal nature of what is happening on the space station and further highlight the skills of Snow.
I am a fan of action movies and Lockout is a movie that embraces the nature of the genre. It is a light popcorn movie filled with explosions and snappy banter to provide a nice two hours of entertainment. Well worth a matinee if you are a fan of the genre.