**1/2 (out of 5)
April 13, 2012
Guy Pearce as SNOW
Maggie Grace as EMILIE WARNOCK
Vincent Regan as ALEX
Joseph Gilgun as HYDELL
Lennie James as SHAW
Peter Stormare as LANGRAL
Directed by: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I don’t know if this is something I should admit, but one of the big events I look forward to every year is an annual 24-hour science fiction movie marathon at a local theater. I’ve been going to these things since I was in high school, and with a few exceptions, I have managed to make it each year since 1988.
When I first saw the trailers for “Lockout,” it reminded me of the kind of movies they show at these events in the wee hours of the morning. I’m talking about movies like “I Come In Peace” and “Split Second.” They’re not great movies, and taken as a major theatrical release, they’re probably not even good movies.
But these films are fun to watch in this marathon setting, fueled with junk food and caffeine. “Lockout” would be perfect for a marathon.
As a single release film that you’re going to have to shell out $10 to $15 for at a full-price theater, not so much.
The movie tells the story of Snow (Guy Pearce), a disgraced CIA operative who is wrongfully convicted. In the not-too-distant future. However, when the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) is taken hostage aboard a prison satellite orbiting Earth, Snow is brought in to save her.
For some reason, people have been referring to this as “Die Hard” meets “Blade Runner.” I get the whole “Die Hard” angle because it’s one man against terrorists, even though it follows a very different formula. The “Blade Runner” angle is just crass, though, as it has nothing in common with that film aside from taking place sometime in the future.
Instead, “Lockout” plays more like “Escape from New York” in space, and maybe even more like “Escape from L.A.” in space, for the rescue of the President’s daughter. And while Guy Pearce’s Snow is not Snake Plisskin, it’s cut from the same cloth.
There are some fun elements of this film, including some decent action sequences and Guy Pearce hamming it up as the acerbic hero. Unfortunately, his lively acting bounces off Maggie Grace’s wooden delivery like a deflated basketball.
Unfortunately, there are too many problems with this film to keep it fun. It has some alarmingly bad special effects, including a pixilated motorcycle chase that looks like it was struck from a 90s video game and a climax that plays anticlimactic simply for the blurry and amateurish special effects.
There’s also some caustically bad science. Far be it from me to call out cheesy sci-fi moves for bad science like this, but the writers didn’t even do basic research about the toxicity of nitrogen gas (which as 70 percent of our atmosphere is minimal) or the science behind reentry from space (which is quite laughable when it shows up).
In the end, some fun action and cool concepts can’t quite save the film from shoddy writing, weak acting, goofy VFX and a running time that’s about 20 minutes too long.