Mar 18, 2013

[Movies] Lockout (2012)

This was one of those movies that barely blipped on our geek radars when it first came out. It seemed like another of those trying hard science fiction movies that were really action movies in a flimsy disguise. But on a lazy Sunday evening Tobie and I found ourselves watching it to pass the time.

I have to admit that I got a little excited to see that Luc Besson was involved in this project, at least as a writer. However I do appreciate the fact that our love for Besson has more to do with his directorial vision and not just his quirky storytelling. And this movie was definitely an example of how good writing (if at all) is not enough to make a good movie.

As for Guy Pearce, well, I'm not sure if he does the wisecracking routine very well. He's definitely not a prime candidate to portray Deadpool any time soon, since you'd think this would have been the perfect story for the Merc with a Mouth, as it were.

But I'm mixing geek references here.

Synopsis: Lockout is a 2012 science fiction movie directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. They pair also contributed to the screenplay together with Luc Besson.

The movie begins with CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) being interrogated after having been arrested for murder. The man he killed had been an undercover agent involved in a controversy about stolen state secrets. But when he was arrested, he managed to pass on a briefcase containing said secrets to an associate. Elsewhere, presidential daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) has traveled to the orbital prison facility MS One to investigate the possibility that the stasis process used to secure the prisoners may be negatively affecting the minds of the prisoners.

During one of her interviews with the prisoner Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), he manages to escape his bonds and proceeds to release all other prisoners in the facility. Thus all the staff of MS One together with Emilie are captured and held hostage as the world watches on. A full assault of the facility will only lead to Emilie's death, and thus Secret Service Director Scott Langral (Peter Stormare) approach Snow to try to infiltrate the facility and secure the president's daughter.

So the movie centers around the core concept of a super badass ex-agent being able to take on an entire prison full of crazy criminals single-handedly. In other words, we sort of need Batman to break the president's daughter out. And we have...Guy Pearce. And for one reason or another I wasn't exactly sold on how kickass his character was supposed to be. They tried to present that in the opening sequence of the movie but it didn't quite stick in my mind. And I don't think that was carried over to the others.

Then you have the interaction between Snow and Emilie, which was supposed to be witty banter bordering on flirtatious, but again it fell somewhat short. Snow certainly had a lot of zingers to hurl out, however it didn't quite deliver from any satisfactory comedic perspective. It just felt like he was trying too hard - and I wonder if this was more a directorial issue more than an acting one.

And I don't quite understand how sending a single man was their best option instead of maybe a small assault team of sorts. The risks associated with the insertion probably would have been similar and their chances of success even better. And for a remote orbital prison, why didn't they have remote countermeasures in place such as the option to flood the entire facility with sleeping gas or something. They could turn the fans on and off easily enough so why not something just a wee bit more complex? Talk about bad design.

And it's these sort of narrative shortcuts that plague the movie and left things feeling rather drab. Add in the overly dark and almost monotone coloring of the movie didn't help things along. I was hoping for more elaborate action sequences or things of that nature but instead we just got a lot blah, blah and more blah.

Lockout wasn't the fun science fiction romp that it hoped to be and I'm just glad that I didn't waste money on watching this in theaters. So I can only rate the movie as a paltry 1 stupid decision by one or more of the main characters out of a possible 5.

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