Lockout

In the near future, Snow, played by Guy Pearce, is a government agent.  He’s highly trained but plays by his own rules, which means he has a lot of enemies.  This catches up with him when he is framed for treason and the murder of his mentor in the service.  He gets his chance at redemption when he’s offered a mission to infiltrate a riot and hostage situation on MS 1, a maximum security prison in low Earth orbit (It’s probably best not to ask questions here) where the prisoners are usually kept in suspended animation.  Hydell, played by Joseph Gilgun is brought out of deep sleep to be interviewed by the president’s do-gooder daughter Emilie Warnock, played by Maggie Grace.  He escapes and frees the others.  (See above parenthetical statement.)  So Snow’s mission is to rescue the hot daughter of the president.

This film was directed by two people, written by three screenwriters and was based, according to the credits and with an apparently straight face, on an “original” idea by Luc Besson.  Needless to say, this is the kind of movie where it pays to go in with decreased expectations.  If you do, you will enjoy it.

Obviously, the main flaw here is the stunning lack of originality associated with the entire project.  But they’re making a B movie; they admit it and don’t for a moment pretend that they’re doing anything else.  So I don’t think this is a big issue.  But there are other problems.  The CGI is not very good in places.  At the beginning, it looks like one of those music videos where they’re going for an impressionist painting look.  I suspect that they knew this and didn’t rely on it for most of the movie.

On the plus side, this is a pretty good cast.  Guy Pearce, a good actor who starred in the indie masterpiece Memento and provided solid character work in L.A. Confidential and The King’s Speech, is definitely slumming here.  He’s buffs up, didn’t shave for a few days, and roughens his voice, hoping for a Bruce Willis sized payday.  Actually, Liam Neeson might be a better example.  He’s another great actor, who’s made a decent career out of starring in B movies.  Pearce’s Snow is more of the John McClain, Sam Spade, wisecracking hero.  It’s an enjoyable performance.  Maggie Grace handles the spunky damsel in distress role very well.  You don’t have to understand Joseph Gilgun’s impenetrable burr to know that his character is crazy and liable to do anything.   

If you’ve got the money and the time, go see a matinee of this.  Otherwise put it in your Netflix queue.  It’s surprisingly good but it can wait.

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