Lockout: one of those movies that had a theatrical release in some countries but went straight to video in a lot of others. It’s no surprise really since it’s the umpteenth variation on the now classic Die Hard formula: one man has to take out an entire team of dangerous men in order to get some hostages to safety. The gimmick this time: the location is a prison space station.
In the future criminals are cryogenically frozen and thus quite literally put on ice. There are some people who are afraid that the criminals are being tortured one of whom is none other than the president’s daughter; Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace). During an interview with a temporarily defrosted prisoner named Hydell (Joseph Gilgun) everything goes wrong; he breaks loose, is able to kill everybody in the room except her and take over the complex with relative ease. He defrosts all of the other inmates including his brother Alex (Vincent Regan). So now that the prisoners have taken over command and hostages who are you gonna call? In this case a guy named Snow (Guy Pearce). An ex CIA-agent wrongfully accused of an assassination and on the list to be frozen as well for no less than 30 years. So he gets an offer which is hard to refuse: save Emilie, walk free. Add to the bonus that the one man who can prove Snow’s innocence is on the prison planet it’s not hard to guess what Snow will do.
Watching Lockout I had a feeling that a lot of the material on display here has been recycled from better movies. Aside from Die Hard providing the main foundation there are other similarities: the Cryo-stasis element comes from Demolition Man, the prison element from The Rock, the main guy being a criminal taking it up against inmates is from Con Air and the hero teaming up with a short haired blond is reminiscent to Under Siege. Sadly Maggie Grace doesn’t do a topless dance out of a cake.
Talking about Maggie Grace. This is the fourth time she’s in a Luc Besson produced movie. She must have done something right in his eyes I guess.
What is strange is the variety in quality of the special effects. There are some nifty space sequences which look pretty neat, on the other hand the movie starts out with a clearly all computer-generated chase sequence which reminded me of other “great” movies like Torque or XXX 2. The finale in which Snow and Emilie skydive from the space station to planet Earth is another sequence that feels very fake due to the shoddy effects. Oh and they land on a deserted highway in the middle of New York so the authorities can be there within minutes. What are the odds right? With 70% of the planet consisting of water it’s a miracle, or in this case lazy plot writing, that they land on an inhibited piece of land, and in the U.S. no less!
Lockout is a mediocre action movie which is strangely entertaining. There’s nothing brilliant on display here and it’s never so bad it becomes good, but there’s some joy to be found in the over-the-top criminals or the never disappointing Peter Stormare as a government official. This is a fun throwaway of a movie which won’t go down in history as a classic, but at the same time could have been so much better.