Lockout - DVD Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
GUY Pearce impresses as a wise-cracking action hero in futuristic thriller Lockout but the film itself fails to provide an appropriately memorable star vehicle.
Designed as an homage to John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York, and produced by the visionary Luc Besson, the film is let down by some poor special effects and a lacklustre, yet still hugely derivative screenplay.
Set in 2079, the film follows ex-CIA agent Snow (Pearce) as he is wrongly convicted of murder and tasked with entering a maximum security prison in deep space to rescue the daughter (Maggie Grace) of the US President, who is being held hostage by 400-plus convicts.
In doing so, Snow may also be able to find the one prisoner who has the information needed to clear his name.
To be fair, Lockout isn’t a complete write-off thanks to Pearce and the free-flowing charisma and muscular energy he brings to proceedings.
But co-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger don’t always play to the film’s strengths. Rather, by attempting to create a grand spectacle with such a clearly low budget their film winds up looking inadvertently cheap. The big set pieces don’t convince and neither do the epic space vistas.
The film is on surer footing when concentrating on Pearce, whose dry humour and nonchalant attitude are amusingly demonstrated from the outset during a fun opening interrogation sequence.
There’s a knowing sense of it’s own absurdity, too, during sequences involving life-saving needles being placed in eye sockets.
But even then, Mather and St Leger forget to make the most of the film’s villains, all of whom offer more potential than they deliver.
Of those nasties, This Is England‘s Joseph Gilgun is clearly having fun playing wildly OTT but neither he nor his more level-headed brother Vincent Regan are given the material their characters deserve to create more wily adversaries for Snow.
Hence, while Pearce escapes from Lockout with credibility intact and having laid down a positive marker for future action roles should he want them, the film itself pales badly by comparison with those it is seeking to emulate.
Running time: 95mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 20, 2012