Lockout

Tagged: Film

Film (2012). EuropaCorp/Open Road Films. Directed by James Mather and Stephen St Leger. Written by Mather, St Leger and Luc {BESSON}. Cast includes Joseph Gilgun, Maggie Grace and Guy Pearce. 91 minutes. Colour.

The film optimistically boasts that it is based on an original idea by Besson, but there is not a single fresh thought in this morass of Clichés. Snow (the usually impressive Pearce, apparently taking a holiday from acting to wallow in the role of an obnoxious action hero) is a CIA agent who has been double-crossed and sentenced to a term of Suspended Animation on a penal Space Station. In a mark of the film's lack of originality, this Prison is called MS1: Maximum Security One. Meanwhile, the daughter of the president of the United States of America (Grace, something of a professional victim in her career to date) is on a bleeding heart fact-finding mission to the station. In traditional celluloid fashion every character makes the most stupid decision possible and, in a few brief scenes, the lunatics have taken over the asylum and she has been taken hostage. Of course, Snow is the only man for the job; he saves the day, clears his name, gets the girl and even manages to crash into the International Space Station.

Initially it seems that the Lockout directors have made a virtue of the film's obvious cheapness and dodgy special effects by framing an opening chase as a Videogame sequence. Unfortunately this visual rhetoric is quickly dropped, leaving Gilgun as a scenery-chewing psychopathic Scotsman to provide the only spark of vitality.

Lockout is a Frankenstein Monster stitched together from a thousand B-movies. However, it particularly recalls Fortress (1992) and No Escape (1994) – both films about wrongful imprisonment in implausible penal colonies – as well as Outland (1981), the poster boy for unloved action sf, and above all Escape from New York (1981) directed by John Carpenter, who successfully sued EuropaCorp for plagiarism; in 2015 a French court ruling acknowledged the detailed similarities and ordered the production company to pay €80,000 to various associated parties. [ML/DRL]

see also: Cinema; Crime and Punishment; Cryogenics.

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