Running Time: 95 minutes
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Peter Stormare
Directed By: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
A man travels to a space prison to rescue the president’s daughter and to clear his name from a frame job.
If you have nerd tendencies like me than you have spent some time in your life perusing the SyFy channel. In these perusals I always find things like Arachnaquake and Octopus versus Shark (Don’t quote me on those titles.) They are shows that must have an audience as they show up quite regularly on television. This is where we find ourselves with this film. Well it is obviously not as bad as what I just mentioned it no doubt is catering to that sort of audience. Lockout is the futuristic story of a guy named Snow. He has been convicted of a crime/treason that he didn’t commit and now has a chance to have the charges dropped. The problem is to do so he has to travel to a space prison harboring the meanest criminals on earth. His mission: to recover the president’s daughter who has been taken hostage by the prisoners and return her safely.
This movie plays out very much like the movie Demolition Man but in space. The world’s most dangerous prisoners are cryogenically frozen but are about to wake up. I like how the film isn’t trying to be anything other than a low budget action flick. It has minimal story and lots of B grade action. It introduces us to the key players early and then basically jumps right to the break out on the space prison. The way the prisoners escape is hideously stupid. It shows in 70 years time although technology will be super advanced our brains will have regressed. Apparently a metal detector on a spaceship cost too much money to check for weapons. Of course in addition to the security lapse the president’s daughter would be there at the exact moment the escape happens. None of that bothered me though as this film was clearly not going for substance. Snow gets introduced into the prison and the fun begins. When you have almost 500 prisoners on board the space station you know the body count is going to be high. This is where the film falters though. Snow uses bombs and guns to kill these prisoners but the lack of budget and the lack of realism stop this movie from working. If the film played out more like the Duke Nukem video game I think this film could have worked. Having blood and body parts being strewn about everywhere would have been a better flow to this film. Alas we are left with lots of action and kills but no big payoffs as it is mostly left to your imagination.
Snow played by Guy Pearce is why this movie was better than I thought it was going to be. His sarcastic and dickish delivery makes this movie fun. He never gets frazzled even when he is in a death defying position. While some might find this off putting I thought it only added to the feel of this film. The president’s daughter Emilie is played by Maggie Grace and she basically was filling in any attractive blond actress here. I don’t think it was her fault it just wasn’t a great role. The prisoners don’t really play huge roles except for casualty fodder but they have the look and demeanor and that is all you need.
As the film progresses you get a little action outside the space prison. Military space ships fighting the space prison's defence system is a nice change of scenery for the film if not visually anything to write home about. Most of the story takes place inside the prison itself though. You basically follow Snow around the interior as he tries to lead Emilie to safety. Of course they encounter many convicts and obstacles along the way but that is to be expected. The film also tries to go unnecessarily deeper with the story as not only is Snow there to save Emilie he is also there to prove he got framed (of course in a blazing case of coincidence that proof of his innocence is on that same space prison). As things head to its standard end I couldn’t help but feel this film had potential. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and this will definitely have an audience it just isn't my taste.
First time full feature length directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger do an okay job with this film. The budget restraints and rating clearly hampered their artistic license. The film had great pacing and the casting was correct in most places. I would like to see what they could do with a higher budget but overall this film was a success on their part.
I cannot recommend this film but if you like B grade action flicks it certainly is worth checking out.
T Factor + Like cheesy action films this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need graphic violence in your films this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Doom, Serenity.