Tuesday, April 17, 2012

LOCKOUT - 'Escape From NY' in Outer Space

LOCKOUT (sci-fi drama)
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Lennie James, Joe Gilgun and Anne-Solenne Hatte
Directors: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Screenplay: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, based on an original idea by Besson
Time: 110 mins
Rating:  *  *  (out of 4)

Escape from MS One: Maggie Grace, Tim Plester and Guy Pearce

PREAMBLE: It is a given that action movies need not have to be logical or even plausible. However, Lockout takes 'illogical' to a level that is way out of this world! It is ridiculous, derivative and banal. The script is such an unabashed collection of borrowed scenes that you know what's going to happen long before it happens. 

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It is 2079 and ex-CIA Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is interrogated, assaulted and convicted of the murder of his partner. He is sentenced to 30 years on MS One, a maximum-security prison hovering in space. Meanwhile, Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace, left), daughter of the US President, docks at MS One on a humanitarian mission to interview some inmates and help to improve conditions there.

Due to an act of utter stupidity by an SS agent, Emilie is held hostage by an inmate, triggering an uprising by the other convicts. When the situation deteriorates, the government has no choice but to blow MS One to smithereens. And guess what, Snow is tasked to fly in and get the First Daughter out in exchange for a presidential pardon!

HITS & MISSES: If the main plot reminds us of Escape From New York (1981), we will be getting more glimpses and reminders of lifted ideas from Die Hard, Blade Runner and the tattooed freaks of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). This is one of the sloppiest piece of writing one can find from the bunch of writers working on an idea that reportedly comes from Luc Besson!

Pearce spewing more one-liners than punches
The one good thing I can say about Lockout is that its ridiculousness and stupidity continue relentlessly, keeping us unintentionally amused and annoyed. The secondary cast playing the inmates seem to be chosen for how ugly they look on camera - and of these Joseph Gilgun stands out as Hydell, the incredulously idiotic jackass that audiences just love to hate.

Pearce fits the wise-cracking, tough guy role nicely but instead of pitting his anti-hero Snow against the baddies, Snow spends most of his time arguing with Emilie and trying to save the headstrong but naive girl from being ravaged by the prisoners. Yes, Grace also earns her pay check for her tough but stupid girl role. Of the cast, Lennie James has the choice role as Agent Shaw - one of the better written characters of the movie.  

THE LOWDOWN: Lockout, so stay out!


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