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Released 20 April 2012

Stephen St. Leger, James Mather

Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Joe Gilgun, Vincent Regan

Stephen St. Leger, James Mather, Luc Besson
Producer(s) Marc Libert, Leila Smith
Origin France
Running Time 95 minutes
Genre Action, thriller, sci-fi
Rating 15A

Space balls.

Luc Besson is the executive producer of Lockout and also picks up a credit for providing the original idea on which it is based. “Original” may be pushing it a little. Lockout bears more than a passing resemblance to many other films (Escape From New York, Die Hard, The Rock etc. etc.), the only difference being that this time the loose cannon law man is sent on a rescue mission IN SPACE!! Well, it worked for the Muppets... But is Lockout any good? I’m afraid not. Even though Guy Pearce does a passable John McClane impersonation, when faced with a threadbare plot and wildly implausible action, it was a struggle to stay engaged.

We begin by meeting Snow (Guy Pearce), a government agent who finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a deal of some kind goes wrong. To be honest, I didn’t quite catch what was supposed to be going on at this point but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The badly written opening (including a classic MacGuffin in the form of a missing suitcase) is merely a pretext to get Pearce up into space. In order to get himself out of hot water, Snow agrees to rescue the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a maximum security prison orbiting the earth which has been taken over by its prisoners (led by Joseph Gilgun and Vincent Regan).

James Mather and Stephen St. Leger share scriptwriting and directing duties. Thankfully, the hyperactive, headache inducing opening chase is not indicative of their style for the entire film but the best that could be said is that they do a competent job with bad material. This goes for the cast also. Pearce actually does a nice line in sarcastic one-liners but as a hero, Snow is one-dimensional. Similarly, the villains of the piece are two actors who deserve much better than what they are given; Regan has a nice intensity and Gilgun is a mess of wiry energy.

Ultimately though, the plot of Lockout is so derivative that it would have taken either a great script or some original flourishes to make it a success in its own right; unfortunately it has neither.

- Linda O’Brien