Lockout — An interesting synopsis thrown out the airlock.
The film opens up with Guy Pearce getting clocked in the face. Each time he’s hit, his head goes out of the frame and a credit appears where him and the fist that made contact once filled. It piques the audience’s interest. It’s creative, it gives off some badass action hero humor, with both the quirks of his character and the setup. Then I see the words “Based on an idea by Luc Besson,” or something along those lines. This is where I start getting skeptical. I’ve never seen the words “based on an idea” in the credits before, both intro and closing. Though, Luc Besson was behind The Fifth Element which is one of my favorite movies. I had some hope. Too bad that hope was lost in a screen of green.
Here, I’m going to start this review off with a poster of a good Luc Besson film.
I really don’t want to riff on this movie’s CGI because the use of it is expected; this is also not where I typically stab at first but if you’re making a sci-fi movie, where CGI will be used, at least make it decent. It was not terrible but it looked very amateur for a film with a twenty-million dollar budget… and if that budget did not go to CGI then they must have flushed it down the toilet. Good sci-fi movies with low budgets are possible, Moon is a great example of that. Only one-million dollars and it was still able to both move its audiences and put them on the edge of their seats. But this movie primarily falters on crappy writing, generally awkward moments, and jumbled directing. Hilariously quotable lines (“You think you’re running the show!? You’re not running the show! I’m running the show!”), shooting a shotgun from behind the back/over the shoulder while running, and a ridiculous acid-laced flashback trying to remind the audience of everything that the film was, I suppose, trying to build up to but didn’t really manage to do. Another writing issue was how they were trying to shove two plots… or subplots, I can’t really tell… into this movie and it just became an hour and fifty minutes of conflicted interests: two conspiracies on two different fronts. Conspiracies are big. You can’t make a conspiracy a subplot and you definitely can’t fit two of them in one main plot. It just doesn’t work. I know, what I’m saying is confusing but this is not even scratching the surface. Lockout needs to be seen to fully grasp this level of ridiculousness.
CHALLENGE: When it gets to this part, try not to laugh.
I won’t lie, I was looking forward to Lockout and had high hopes. I like Die Hard and Escape from New York and, as you already know from previous posts, modern science-fiction is my favorite genre. Putting those in space sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? A real winner for success, especially with Luc Besson involved with the project. Instead of the smooth, slick appeal of The Fifth Element, the result is an awkward and clunky mess that is both hilarious and upsetting. The dialogue really is almost comparable to The Room when it comes to its quotability, as well as the numerous plot holes and their attempts on filling them. It was like watching a five year old trying to fill a cracked sidewalk with poorly mixed cement. Lockout is a serious mess.
The only interesting character in this whole film. Like the movie, his potential was thrown out the airlock.
Throughout this film, I could not stop comparing this to the theatrical cut of Babylon AD. The main differences between these two films is that Babylon at least had some salvageable footage and when you got down to it, its main issue was how it was edited. Lockout? There really is nothing that can be saved here. I know I’m being a broken record but everything shot is so awkward and convoluted, as well as the general dialogue. Maybe if there was another hour of footage things could be bandaged up but it’s almost hitting the two hour mark already. If a film is messy within its first ten minutes, you’re on a ship ready to sink.
Now, there are some things on the outside I also feel that need to touched on before I wrap up this review. The first thing is the R rating. There is no sex, there is very little blood… in fact, I don’t think there really was any blood at all. There might have been some cussing? I guess maybe they dropped “fuck” once or twice but that was about it. And they probably did it just so they could get an R rating… which I don’t quite understand why they would want that. Maybe the producer or the writers thought that no one would see it if it was rated PG-13? I know I would have still bothered. The second outer issue is the poster (Exhibit A, shown above). If you look at it, it really has nothing to do with the movie. You have Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, a big gun, fiery sparks, and the title glazed in chrome. It says nothing about it being “Die Hard in a space prison.” Whatever. I’m tired of talking but this heaping pile of poo. I think I’ll go watch a good movie this weekend…
What would go great with this ?
Space ice cream.
You really shouldn’t drink. This whole movie must be taken in sober.
Critic Value: 0.33356214/10
No. Seriously, just no.
Quality Value: 3/10
I guess the sets were good but they were pointless at the same time. One thing sci-fi writers need to learn is that the setting must reflect the story, even if it’s just “Die Hard in space.” A good way to go about this for Lockout would maybe make the space prison a “top secret” giant weapon that could annihilate earth, like what the Death Star did to Alderaan. That’s another thing Lockout appeared to be clueless on. There was no big confrontation, nor was there any sort of big threat. [SPOILER-Highlight to see.]The “conspiracy” and “secret” the whole time could have been the space station was actually a deadly secret weapon disguised as a cyro-prison and Snow’s lawyer could have been in on it the whole time, conspiring against Snow to make it seem like he was the prisoner leader and he was the one that “pushed the button” to destroy earth, or something along those lines. Not that the secret the whole time was that the lawyer sold secrets.[/SPOILER] Settings aren’t just overlays, they are tools to create the story and must be treated as such. Anyway, back on the subject of quality: the CGI bits looked like FMV sequences from an old Playstation J-RPG game. Plot, writing, directing, and everything else? You already know the answer to that.
Entertainment Value: 3/10 for a movie. 9/10 for a b-movie.
If you don’t take it seriously, this is a crap classic. Your gut will hurt from laughing by the end of Lockout.