Lockout poster

In order to push the plot along movies often use slight tweaks to lead the audience in one direction and help the story get to a certain point. Oh, the kids stuck in a cabin with a serial killer can either split up to “cover more ground” or they can stay together to prevent more deaths from happening. Or how about when the good guy is crowded by seven henchmen who attack one at a time until each one is unconscious. Moments like these are often a necessary evil to get to the climax, but sometimes they can be insulting to the audience’s intelligence—like Lockout.



Guy Pearce—who clearly should’ve tattooed “Don’t trust Luc Besson” on his chest—is Snow, a man wrongfully accused of murder and espionage. Meanwhile, First Daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) is on a philanthropy mission—of sorts— to a high security prison in outer space that keeps inmates in a perpetual stasis in order to keep them under control. When Emilie’s atrocious secret service guard brings a gun into an interrogation—despite warnings to the contrary—the prisoners take control of the station. Who’s the only one to get her out alive? Snow.

Besson’s films are pretty hit or miss, with hits like The Fifth Element and two-thirds of The Transporter franchise (also, I’m assuming Leon the Professional, but I haven’t seen that) and misses like Transporter 3, From Paris with Love and Revolver. However, even in the hits, Besson’s screenplays are stilted by shoddy dialog and gaping plot holes.


For Lockout, the dialog given to Guy Pearce is utterly atrocious. He has (almost) literally zero lines that aren’t sarcastic, smart-alec remarks. Snow is wholly incapable of holding a conversation because he’s just too cool for school (or prison, whatever). Meanwhile, Maggie Grace continues her Besson-ian role as the hostage daughter—he wrote the Taken films—and is stronger than usual, but still underwhelming. She’s more worthwhile in this past season of Californication as a groupie sexual deviant than anything I’ve seen her do on the big screen.

Despite these foibles, the worst part of Lockout is the prison. Yes, that’s a crucial thing to mess up, but hey, shit happens. First, there is no exposition surrounding the prisoners. From the moment they are awakened and set free, Alex (Vincent Regan, a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak) is the unquestioned leader who is constantly keeping his insanely psychotic brother from ruining their chances of escaping alive. That is literally all of the information regarding the main villains. The fact that Joseph Gilgun, who plays Alex’s brother, is completely incomprehensible with the thickest Scottish accent ever created only further muddles the story.


Next, there is really no end game for these prisoners. The group has taken a few people hostage, but honestly there’s no hope for them, even with the President’s daughter. They are stuck on a goddamn space station that is first in orbit and then hopelessly plummeting towards the Earth.

Ignoring this, say they arrive safely on Earth. What then? There is not doubt an entire army’s worth of soldiers would be awaiting their arrival to simply re-arrest the five hundred criminals.

This is where Lockout simply loses any credibility. There is no result possible where the criminals finish on the positive side of the spectrum. It’s either death or further imprisonment…until death. You may be thinking maybe the action sequences are worth the price of admission, but you’d be mistaken. The action consists of either video game sequences or Pearce and Grace avoiding the hoards of rapists, murderers and other degenerates.

Deep down, there is potential for this story with intriguing villains (maybe make one of them wrongfully accused too) or a hero that isn’t more sardonic than Adam Scott’s Derek in Step Brothers. Instead, Lockout is a sloppy story with lazy dialog and nothing in the positive column apart from a very subdued performance from 20-years-from-now Gerard Butler…I mean Vincent Regan.

*Side note: I’m somewhat disgusted with myself that this review is the longest I’ve written in a while and it’s wasted on this movie.

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