Personally, I believe it’s good to just go have fun in a movie. Sometimes, you don’t need anything deep or meaningful; just entertainment. People often call them, “leave your brain at home movies.” The term can be used in a negative way. When it is, I disagree. 2012 has had many good action type popcorn flicks – Safe House, Safe, Taken 2, and Total Recall. I liked (not loved by any stretch of the imagination) them for what they set out to be. I was coming into Lockout with an open mind wanting to have a good time. Let me just tell you I felt like being locked in a tight room with no escape while watching. Nothing ever paid of in any way. I was just sitting there waiting for something to come along and give me a drop of excitement. It takes a lot for this to happen to me, but I fell asleep in the middle and awoke toward the end. Waking up was the worst part of it all because it turned out not to be a dream.
Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is caught while attempting to transport a strange briefcase and is arrested for murder and espionage. He faces a hefty prison sentence but is given a second chance to avoid his fate – not the best option in the world though. The President’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), has been trapped on a space station which is filled to the brim of escaped prisoners. If Snow can complete this task, it will buy his freedom. Also on board this vessel is the secret to the lost briefcase. Snow hopes to find it while he’s there so he can clear his name. A problem occurs when Emilie refuses to leave unless all the hostages are coming with them; a major inconvenience to Snow’s two goals.
James Mather and Stephen St. Leger are first-time directors/writers. The direction has flashes where I can tell they were at least attempting something in certain situations. It was a relief to see effort, but I can’t overwhelm them with positivity because far too often the direction would get in the way of what was going on at that moment. The plot and everything else is all by-the-numbers; things go from A, to B, to C. I don’t know if the directors had any say in the special effects. They weren’t that good. The climax is very underwhelming largely due to the amateurish special effects. This can especially be a problem with Sci-Fi; any other genre and it has a better chance of getting away with that. Granted, not an ample amount of money was available, but I think it could have been at least a little better.
Luc Besson co-wrote the screenplay as well. He’s co-wrote screenplays of many action movies in the past – Taken, Transporter 1, 2, and 3, Colombiana, and From Paris with Love. I can’t help but wonder what he wrote, plus, how much. Is he just brought on to do a certain aspect? Besson did co-write The Fifth Element; now that was a very good script. Anyway… back to the script for Lockout. This kind of story is heavily over used, but it can work if you have good characters and some smart dialog here and there. In the end, it came off as a lazy effort. Nothing past the absolute basic was written. From a far, the premise and actors had potential. I don’t mind simple stories, as long as they do something a tad bit different. You could guess every last minuscule detail from the trailer. Anything good got lost in the shuffle. An example of that is having Guy Pearce say all these 80’s lines.
I’ve never hated Guy Pearce in anything, and this still holds true. He is the only one who seems to be trying hard to make it work. Overall he does what he can, but with the material and everything surrounding him bogs him to far down to impact the movie as a whole in any way shape or form. Maggie Grace – you may know her from the two Taken movies – is playing the same character she seems to play. Now, she’s relatively good, but like Pearce, the material made it impossible for anyone to shine. 2012 wasn’t the best year for Pearce and Grace; hope it changes next year. Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare, and Jacky Ido are pretty bad – Some that make you cringe, I might add.
When you have a movie like this, action can help make or destroy the film. Even if you aren’t into the story, a good well done action scene can bring you back. That happened in a big way for Safe House. Here though, all the action was uninspired. Chase scenes weren’t filmed well and was getting me sleepy; even as early as the first one. Another thing I didn’t like was the direction the fighting went in. It never quite focused in on the action but a good amount of blood would come at the screen. I found it distracting more than anything. I am solely going to judge this on entertainment factor, and on that factor, it didn’t do that for me – mainly bored me. With other movies similar to this in 2012, I can’t recommend anyone to give Lockout a look.