- Director – James Mather and Stephen St Leger
- Starring – Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and lots of others that I won’t spoil…
- Written – James Mather, Stephen St Leger and Luc Besson
- Year – 2012
- Running Time – 96 mins
Ok, so lets begin with the plot, as much as it is. It is the year 2079 and criminals from all nationalities (however still under the watchful eye of the USA) are now being locked up in space on board vessels such as Maximum Security 1 (M.S.1). The most serious criminals are kept in stasis for the length of their sentence. For some inexplicable reason the US Secret Service lets the President’s daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) visit M.S.1 as part of a research project into the potential adverse affects of stasis. During her visit the prisoners escape and she gets Taken (see what I did there…..) hostage. In swoops Guy Pearce, a CIA agent who has been wrongly accused of espionage and given the opportunity to break into M.S.1, free Ms Warnock and clear his name all in one fowl swoop. Game on.
Lets not beat around the bush here, Lockout is great fun. It is clearly not trying to take itself too seriously and right from the outset is filled with nods towards Tony Scott’s Last Boy Scout, Die Hard and even later on in the film The West Wing and Star Wars. Whilst this may sound like a strange combination, in fact Besson (who was credited with the original “idea”) dishes up one hell of a ride with a script full of clinical one liners, some impressive fight scenes and just huge amounts of fun.
Guy Pearce channels his inner Bruce Willis to good effect and appears to be having a great time along the way. The opening scene which is cribbed almost directly from The Last Boy Scout sets the scene for what is to come. Pearce is one brutal, unflinching and sarcastic SOB, but importantly he is also convincing. There was danger here of Pearce coming across as a cheap imitation of John McClane or Joe Hallenback, however Pearce genuinely stakes his own claim as a credible fast talking, wise cracking action hero. Some of Pearce’s best moments are in that opening scene, but there are also some wickedly sharp exchanges with Maggie Grace who plays the President’s daughter and the two work off each other well. Grace who appears to be making a career out of getting taken hostage is a little two dimensional at the start but quickly finds her feet once the bullets start flying.
The sleepy prisoners who all appear to be from Glasgow are led by a convincing Vincent Reegan who plays the Hans Gruber role to good effect without getting too hung up on missing detonators. He is ably supported (and hindered) by a slightly unhinged Joseph Gilgun and it is worth warning any regular viewers of Emmerdale that they are in for a bit of a surprise once the figure out who he is. A slight departure from Dingle household to say the least.
The direction is a little dodgy at the start with a poorly executed first act and a motorbike chase seen which looks something akin to a cheap batman video game and perhaps suggests the level of budget they were working on. I would however beg some patience as once the action moves to space and the close confines of M.S.1 things improve dramatically.
Lockout is perfect Friday night beer and pizza fodder. It’s not trying to be anything its not, and it does what it does really quite well. If you ignore the gaping plot holes and the dodgy script but keep a tally for all the cameos you spot and drink a shot for every time there is a nod towards another film you’ll be in for a great evening. In fact that sounds like a fun night; can I come round?
Review by Will Malone
If you liked Lockout, then try The Rover.