Lockout Blu-ray Review
Written by Joel Harley
Blu-ray released by Entertainment in Video
Written and directed by James Mather & Stephen St. Leger
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 95 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 20th August 2012
Guy Pearce as Snow
Maggie Grace as Emilie Warnock
Vincent Regan as Alex
Joseph Gilgun as Hydell
Lennie James as Harry Shaw
Peter Stormare as Scott Langral
Maggie Grace finds herself Taken again, this time in a futuristic space prison. With Liam Neeson and his specific set of skills not around to save her, she's left to rely on Guy Pearce's space mercenary instead. That's if he can shut up for long enough to do any rescuing. Yippee-ki-yay, it's Die Hard in space.
I don't make the Die Hard comparison lightly either – Lockout could have starred Bruce Willis's John McClane (accidentally cryogenically frozen or something, like Fry from Futurama) and not skipped a single beat. It's not to the film's detriment though – a wisecracking gobshite of a protagonist is infinitely preferable to the dumb thug or miserable emo variety, as long as they can sufficiently sell the action. Guy Pearce handles both admirably – he's an actor who tends to gravitate towards more serious roles, so it's nice to see him having a little fun here. It's nowhere near the same level as Ravenous (my favourite of his films and one of my favourite horror movies ever) but Lockout benefits tremendously from his easy charisma.
However, when another equally talented actor is also doing the wisecracking smart-alec thing, you have a bit of a clash. Joseph Gilgun (loudly) plays convict Hydell, a Scottish menace who instigates a mass riot on the spacebound prison in which he has been incarcerated. What sets this prison apart from the rest (other than it being in the middle of space) is that its inmates are all cryogenically frozen for the duration of their sentence. I'm not sure how this is punishing anyone (surely it's not much of a deterrent if you're sleeping for the entirety of the years you're spending behind bars) but it certainly cuts down on inmate misbehaviour. At least, until Hydell gets free and takes the prison's contingent of innocents hostage (including the President's daughter, Maggie Grace). Hardened mercenary Snow (Pearce) is sent to rescue the First Daughter.
While the concept, setting and actors are very promising, the thing that made Lockout's influences – Die Hard, Con Air and Demolition Man – so good was the over the top violence, pottymouth and bodycount. With its relatively restrained 15 rating, Lockout's action is flashy but uninspired. There's a lot of CGI at use, making any threat seem cartoonish and unreal. The only real cringeworthy moment involves a needle and an eyeball – but it's nearly impossible for that sort of thing to ever not be icky. It's the only memorable act of violence in the whole film. They're by no means useless, but the action sequences could have been so much better.
As could its villains. Joseph Gilgun finally crosses the line he trod so well in This is England, Misfits and, yes, even Emmerdale. His Scottish loon is just a bit too loony, bug eyed and annoying. He's a talented actor, but the villainy of Lockout seems at odds with his style and frame. He never feels like a genuine threat to Snow or any of the other characters, more a really, really loud annoyance. Vincent Regan is better as brother Alex, but none of the convicts really stand out. Compare this with Con Air, in which each of the escapees had a distinct personality and character traits (in the case of Dave Chappelle, annoying). Likewise, Maggie Grace has little to do other than be dragged around by Guy Pearce and suffer at the receiving end of his abuse. If she was still famous, the role would have been played by constant kidnappee Elisha Cuthbert. At one point, Pearce actually socks her in the mouth. That this is played for laughs is a little concerning, but she does get her own back by belting him in the face with a fire extinguisher. The ever-reliable Peter Stormare and Lennie James counteract Gilgun and Pearce's constant mouthing off, providing support and a lot of gruff whispering from a police station orbiting nearby.
Lockout is an ambitious, entertaining sci-fi actioner with a fun central performance from Guy Pearce, fast pace and plenty of explosive action. It's not likely to captivate any audience entirely, but it might just hold your attention long enough until you can make bail.
Video and Audio:
The special effects are very pretty, but Lockout looks too much like a videogame at times. It could have eased up a bit on the lens flare, too. Otherwise, the Blu-Ray looks very sharp and shiny. It sounds good too, if a little on the unmemorable side.
Interviews with the cast and crew, a couple of featurettes exploring the action sequences, a featurette about the prison's design and a handful of deleted scenes.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are publicity stills and not a reflection of the Blu-ray image.*