Lockout, Blu-ray, Unrated Edition (2012)

by | Jul 10, 2012 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Lockout, Blu-ray, Unrated Edition (2012)
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace
Directors: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Producers: Luc Besson & others
Studio: Europa Corp./Sony Pictures 40373 [7/17/12]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: Lots of previews, “Breaking Into Lockout” – Making-of doc., “A Vision of the Future” – Production design & special effects
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: ****

This is a grubby sci-fi space noir flick which heralds on the cover somebody’s quote that it is “Die Hard Meeting Blade Runner.”  Of course that caught my eye since I think Blade Runner is right up there with 2001, Brazil and Fifth Element, plus Luc Besson was involved in this one. I was mildly disappointed, but it’s still an action-filled B-movie if you don’t greatly mind prison-situated flicks. Actually, I thought it reran ideas of both Escape From LA and Escape from NY rather than the two predecessors listed above. Besson was also involved in the recent Taken.
Guy Pearce is great as a thoroughly sarcastic and cynical smartass who evidently used to be with the CIA and is now somehow accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He is about to be sent to M1 – a 400+ inmate prison orbiting the earth – where he will be put into “stasis” for 30 years (sort of frozen). Just as he’s about to be sent on his way, a crisis comes up in which the president’s daughter Emilie is visiting M1 and a crazed prisoner she is speaking to escapes and sets all the prisoners free to riot. Snow (Pearce) is offered his freedom if he can break into M1 and rescue Emilie. Plenty of impossibilities come up in the process: Snow’s difficulty getting into the orbiting prison, the fight against time of both a CIA-ordered attack to blow up the prison, the fact the prison is losing orbit and soon will crash into the Earth, an increase in nitrogen that will kill everyone, areas warning of deadly radiation, the crazed prisoner who is truly completely whacko and killing everyone for no reason, escaping the prisoners chasing him, need I go on? And by the way, what are the rest of nearly 500 prisoners doing? Don’t they want to escape? Pearce does a great job of emulating Bruce Willis, including the growing chemistry with Emilie.
There’s lots of outer space sci-fi stuff a la CGI, but the aerial dogfights when M1 is attacked are bad Star Wars imitations. The bonus documentary on the special effects was interesting. They bought up a lot of military junk to provide the interiors of M1, which in the film was a re-purposed old space station. It included parts of a junked Russian helicopter. A lot of thought went into the next-generation ORAM space suits, though when finalized the actors could barely move in them. The soundtrack will exercise your subwoofer(s) and surrounds thoroughly. There’s also a side plot involving a briefcase stolen by Snow and passed on to his friend Mace who is one of the M1 prisoners. It’s really a bit pointless, and we never do discover what the heck was in the briefcase. There are some holes in the plot; for one the rescue is poorly planned. And wearing only the ORAM space suits, the two leads should have burnt to a crisp upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere. But it’s still a fun view if you like this sort of thing. I must say I felt a bit more guilty after seeing Amazon’s list of what flicks customers bought after viewing Lockout: The (Marvel) Avengers, Ted and Battleship. Arggh.
—John Sunier

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