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Entry updated 30 January 2017. 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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