Blu-ray Review: LOCKOUT - You Can't Escape Your Inspirations

The sci-fi prison escape movie Lockout is maybe the best John Carpenter movie made in well over a decade (which just happens to not have the Halloween and Escape From New York director's name attached in any way). The Luc Besson-produced action film is and unabashed an homage to the Escape films and thanks to a genuinely funny performance by lead Guy Pearce, captures some of the gritty charm of those movies (if not that hard to quantify badassery). While it never reaches the heights of its inspiration, it has its moments and never overstays its welcome.

Pearce stars as Snow, a glib, mononymous anti-hero tasked with breaking into a maximum security extra-orbital cryogenic prison to rescue the president's daughter (Maggie Grace), after one lunatic inmate, Joseph Gilgun's Hydell, frees himself and the rest of the prisoners. Snow has to guide Grace's Emilie Warnock through the prison while attempting to find a friend in the prison who might be able to clear his name with the U.S. government. Criminals will die, things will blow up, and Snow/Warnock will bicker and try to avoid a combination of rape and murder.

Directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger respective shorts work appears to have given them insight into getting in and out of a scene as quickly as possible: if there's a bit of Lockout that you're not enjoying, that's okay, because the movie's just going to bob along to the next bit of peril that Snow and Emilie will drop into. It zips along from deal gone bad to car chase, to prison riot, and onward without stopping to allow the viewer to catch their collective breath.

As Snow, Pearce reveals a sort of endless reserve of cocky charm, a back pocketful of jokes for the violent situations in which he finds himself. There's a fine line between what Pearce does here and grating one-liners, but thankfully his performance is calibrated in such a way that his character is simply trying to needle other characters in the scene along. It's one part messed-up defense mechanism when he's being punched in the face, one part staying on the offensive to keep his enemies off balance.

Maggie Grace is a little less steady in her role which mostly requires her to be exasperated with Snow or menaced by one con or another. her character opens up a little in the back half beyond panicked victim, but she's no match for Pearce's magnetism. Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun are more successful in their respective roles as hardened criminals, one a sort of baroque Scottish sadist with a real hate on for the President's daughter.

Sure there are some imperfections here: the opening motorcycle chase has some truly unfortunate CG, and again, Grace fails to have much presence in the film, and the concern about some missing proof that could exonerate Snow doesn't really develop into a compelling mystery. But take the action movie on its own propulsive merits, and it's good fun in a tidy package.

Special Features

First, there's "A Vision of the Future" (10:13) where the film's art director and production team talk about the design of Lockout. You get a relatively useful peek into some of the thinking that went into the design in this brief making of.

"Breaking Into Lockout" (11:10) is a more general EPK deal with the cast and crew talking about the characters and story.

Lockout is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD now.

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  • enairafontaine



    Lockout was an ok movie at best and honestly I was expecting more from Guy Pearce. It’s from the producer of Taken and this movie is nowhere near as great. There were some pretty awesome moments in the movie, like when Snow had to plunge the needle into Emily’s eye to bring her back to life. When I went to the kiosk to find this movie last week the two by my house didn’t have it so a co-worker at Dish suggested trying Blockbuster @ Home. It brings the movies right to my door or I can stream directly to my Hopper. I spent less time and money using the service and I even have the 100th Street Haunting coming to me next week.

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