Lockout REVIEW

Lockout Joe Gilgun Hydell gun

Rudy's third personality wasn't much fun to be around.

Release Date: 20 April 2012
15 | 96 minutes
Distributor: Entertainment Film
Directors: Stephen St Leger, James Mather
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Joseph Gilgun, Vincent Regan, Peter Stormare, Lennie James

If only every B-movie masquerading as A-list Hollywood fodder had the confidence to be as unashamedly silly as Lockout. James Mather and Stephen St Leger’s debut feature isn’t smart, it doesn’t have anything to say about the human condition and it never takes itself remotely seriously, but none of that matters with a film this much fun.

It’s 2079 and in a rain-soaked, Blade Runner-like cityscape, former CIA agent Snow (Pearce) is caught up in a conspiracy and sentenced to 30 years in stasis aboard the maximum security space prison MS-One. Before Snow can be put under, however, the crims escape captivity, trapping the President’s daughter, Emilie Warnock (Grace), on board, leaving Snow with no option but to bust in and bring her out alive.

As even this brief synopsis makes clear, the fingerprints of Escape From New York are all over Lockout’s perfunctory narrative. There’s more successful inspiration taken from late-‘80s action behemoths such as Predator, with enough memorable one-liners to give Lockout the feeling of a film 25 years out of sync. The plot is riddled with infuriating contrivances, but the characters and surprisingly snappy dialogue make it a much more enjoyable experience than perhaps it deserves to be.

Snow is the kind of impossible human being that only exists on the big screen – an endearing arsehole that gets away with it through pure charisma and admirable fallibility. Pearce takes a punch with the best of ’em, and makes us wonder why it took him so long to take the B-movie plunge. His scenes with Grace are some of the film’s best, but it’s Joe Gilgun’s Scottish psycho Hydell who leaves the biggest impression. Completely off his rocker and spectacularly unpredictable, he may possess a dubious Scottish twang but everything else about Hydell is a compellingly watchable human multi-car pile-up.

Some iffy effects work early on and a third act in too much of a hurry to wrap things up disappoint, but Mather and St Leger impress behind the camera and there’s a pleasing physicality to much of the action. Lockout won’t be bothering any top 10 lists come the end of the year, but as an accompaniment to a giant popcorn and an namel-wrecking soft drink, there are much worse films you could be doing time with.

Jordan Farley twitter.com/JordanFarley

Read our utterly bonkers Joe Gilgun interview.
Watch the first four minutes of Lockout.

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