A maximum security prison in space, a bunch of nut cases for inmates, and the President’s daughter caught in the middle – this could have made for one exciting movie. Lockout, released on April 13th, directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, and produced by Luc Besson, doesn’t quite live up to the expectations.
It’s a shame, really, that the movie is so uneven, since there are some very memorable characters. Guy Pearce makes for a charismatic lead as Snow, a wrongly convicted former government agent, who agrees to rescue the President’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), from the prison in space which was taken over by the inmates. Though Snow’s one-liners are sometimes too predictable, Guy Pearce works well with what he is given. Maggie Grace does a good job as Emilie, creating a strong character. But the really memorable characters are, surprisingly, some of the inmates. The two brothers, Alex (Vincent Regan) and Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), almost steal the show, with Alex being the eerily calm and calculating leader of the prisoners and with Hydell acting completely mental, which makes him downright scary.
The concept of a prison in space is interesting, as is the idea of putting the prisoners into stasis for the duration of their sentences. This “sleep” has various side effects, however, including dementia and aggression, so when the inmates take over it is definitely not pretty. Mostly, though, the story feels somehow underdeveloped, it jumps around not really going in depth into any one concept. For example, the movie tries to touch on the ethical issues that arise with the practice of stasis, as well as with the experimentation on prisoners, but abandons both issues too quickly. The special effects are decent in general, except for one rather mediocre motorcycle chase scene that looks more like a video game than a movie.
I really wanted to like Lockout, since the previews looked great. It had a great but not really used potential, making it only mildly entertaining.