Luc Besson is a bit of a genre hero. He makes the kinds of deliberately B-grade, action, adventure fun that makes fanboys lose their shit. He’s the kind of guy that while he has his own strong following, he’s also influenced countless film makers who’ve gone on to massive, blockbuster careers, making billions of dollars in box office bank.
I’m more familiar with the idea of Luc Besson than I am with his actual resume. As a director, the only Besson movies I’ve seen are Leon and The Fifth Element. As a producer, his name pops up on a pretty wide variety of movies. From the Driver franchise, to Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, to the Liam Neeson career reinventing Taken series. I love the idea of Luc Besson, I just haven’t seen enough movies he’s attached to. And after watching Lockout, I really need to change that.
Guy Pearce is Snow, and when he’s not pumping out early 90s hip hop classics like Informer, he’s some variety of thief. After stealing a mysterious briefcase, he’s arrested, interrogated and sentenced to space jail by Peter Stormare’s seemingly evil and ruthless security bureaucrat, Scott Langral. Before he can be sent to space jail, the president’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace) has already arrived, investigating reports of the inhumane conditions. It turns out that when you freeze criminals in stasis for the length of their sentence, it’s highly possible that they’ll wake up even crazier and more violent than before they went in.
When an interview with an inmate breaks bad, Emilie is taken hostage, every inmate is thawed out and let run wild, and Snow is seen as the only person capable of covertly infiltrating the space jail in order to extract Emilie. What you have here, is a classic Escape From New York type scenario. And Lockout more than does justice to that comparison.
As Snow, Guy Pearce nails every single second of Lockout. He has the dry, nothing phases him, laconic hero schtick down to a perfect science. As his situation becomes more dire, his quips only become snappier. I could watch a supercut of this move that’s nothing but his dialogue. No interaction, no context needed. Just a string of Pearce’s Lockout zingers would make an awesome movie.
The only misstep in Lockout is an early action sequence, before Snow is sent into space. A motorbike / car chase on a busy freeway that that looks like it’s taking advantage of cutting edge, state of the art computer effects from as recently as 1998. If I saw this level of CGI wizardry on a Playstation game back then, I would have been impressed. Seeing it now, it’s just laughable.
It suffers even more by being so early in the movie. It happens when Lockout is still establishing itself, still finding its legs as this post modern, self aware funfest. I have a feeling if that scene came an hour in, I would have been much more on board and ready to look past the Pentium 3 level effects. But where it is, it just delayed my suspension of disbelief kicking in.
Like I said, Luc Besson is a bit of a genre hero. And Lockout is the kind of deliberately B-grade action, adventure fun that makes me want to watch more deliberately B-grade action, adventure fun.
Directed By – James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Written By – James Mather, Stephen St. Leger, Luc Besson
6 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW | Lockout (2012)”
Agree with the chase scene “look” and that confused me at the end of the film because everything else looked brilliant.