I don’t mind ridiculous movies now and then. In fact, some of my favorite films of all time are completely cheesy and insanely stupid (Flash Gordon, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Jaws 3), but then one will come along that isn’t even remotely entertaining or fun. These films are a chore to sit through, and Lockout certainly qualifies for that description.
Snow (Guy Pierce), a soldier who was jailed for a crime he did not commit, is offered his freedom if he accepts the dangerous mission of rescuing the President’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), who has been taken hostage by escaped prisoners aboard an orbital space penitentiary.
Yes, this might as well have been called Escape from Space Prison starring an overly douchey Snake Plissken, because John Carpenter’s classic action thriller was the mold the writers used when coming up with this turd. They just swapped out Kurt Russell’s stoic character with Guy Pierce’s annoyingly quippy one and put the President’s daughter in place of the actual President. Creativity is not in abundance here.
I do enjoy most of the movies that Luc Besson has written over the past decade or so (The Transporter, Kiss of the Dragon, Unleashed, District B13, Taken), but once in a while he pumps out a turkey (From Paris with Love, Colombiana, Taxi, Bandidas) and his stock with me drops a few points. He directed some of my favorite films (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element), so I have heightened expectations when it comes to his projects. But Lockout is inexcusable. Nothing works here. Nothing at all.
From the opening motorcycle highway chase that is cut so fast and filled with such horrendous CGI that it’s indecipherable to the big finale HALO jump that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, this flick is an absolute mess. The editing would give Michael Bay fans seizures, the dialogue is abysmal, the characters are completely unlikable (Guy Pierce’s hero especially) and the special effects are some of the worst I’ve seen since Ultraviolet. Directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger show absolutely no comprehension in regards to their chosen craft (they co-wrote this with Besson as well) and cannot even seem to get an established actor like Guy Pierce to convincingly act like he gives a shit about anything going on around him.
Guy Pierce is a fine actor. I’ve enjoyed his performances in many films (L.A. Confidential, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Memento, The Count of Monte Cristo), but even the most talented thespian knows when he’s at a loss from the start and it shows here in abundance. His dialogue consists solely of sarcasm and some of the worst one-liners I’ve ever heard. He’s clearly in this movie just to cash a paycheck.
Maggie Grace isn’t the best actor, but she is attractive which is why she keeps getting cast in Besson’s films (she plays Liam Neeson’s teenage daughter in the Taken series). She actually looked like she was trying to make her character work despite that she’s playing opposite a cantankerous character like Snow. She never manages to pull it off and the plot point that she finds this person attractive baffles me in the extreme.
The main villains, played by Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun, are uninteresting, underwritten and worst of all… non-threatening. They come off as parodies of better bad guys like Hans Gruber and The Joker. Their scenes are laughably bad, filled with hammy acting and over-the-top deliveries (mostly in the case of Gilgun’s insanely rape obsessed character) that would make Ricardo Montalban’s Khan weep from embarrassment.
There is plenty of action, but none of it is entertaining to watch. The editing style, quality of effects and horrible cinematography (by Mather) keeps the viewer from comprehending anything they are being shown.
I will reiterate, this movie is absolute garbage. It’s painful to sit through since nothing seems to have been thought out beforehand. Did Besson and his pals think we would enjoy watching a complete ass of a main character on his quest to save a bimbo in space from some stereotypically idiotic bad guys? There is no part of this movie that I can honestly say I enjoyed, and I like some crappy movies.
My advice is to avoid this like the plague.