Washington DC, 2079. Wrongly accused of murder and selling state secrets, ex-CIA operative Snow (Pearce) is facing incarceration on the maximum security space prison MS One where prisoners are kept in stasis. When the President’s daughter (Grace) is captured by escaped prisoners while on a fact-finding visit, however, Snow is sent in to rescue her…
While enthusiastically sold as Die Hard in space, Lockout is more accurately described as Escape From New York in orbit. In addition, there are also shades of Taken (Maggie Grace being the kidnapped daughter, the presence of Luc Besson as writer-producer), Outland and The Rock, as this derivative sci-fi actioner recycles and repurposes a number of classic genre films into what is, apparently, an “original” idea. But while the end result is clunky, generic and nowhere near as thrilling as it should be (we are talking about a prison in space), James Mather and Stephen St Leger’s debut is reasonably enjoyable as a no-brain, guilty-pleasure.
Despite its John Carpenter-ish ‘80s B-movie appeal though, the main reason for watching Lockout is undoubtedly Guy Pearce. Holding everything together (even some truly dodgy CGI early on), Pearce is bags of fun as the wisecracking anti-hero and totally gets the tone, nailing the hard-boiled dialogue so well that he even makes cheesy lines sound cool. No question, we wouldn’t mind another adventure with him. Elsewhere, he’s aided by a handful of recognisable character actors (Peter Stormare, Lennie James, Vincent Regan), while This Is England’s Joseph Gilgun chews the space-station scenery for fun.
While enthusiastically sold as Die Hard in space, Lockout is more accurately described as Escape From New York in orbit. Plus, although the end result is clunky, generic and nowhere near as thrilling as it should be, it’s reasonably enjoyable as a no-brain, guilty-pleasure.