Review: Lockout (2012)

Directed by: James Mather & Stephen St. Leger
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare

I should probably kick the habit of flocking to anything Luc Besson’s name is attached to because, frankly, a production credit doesn’t carry much credibility these days for any particular film, Lockout especially. Catching my eye thanks to my figurative fetish for the amiably futuristic aesthetic that’s come a long way since its humble beginnings, my apprehension toward seeing this colossal missed opportunity was alarmingly nonexistent. Opening moments aside, Mather and St. Leger’s attempt at putting forth an agreeably engaging sci-fi action epic falls embarrassingly short of any and all viewers’ expectations, if they even had them to begin with.

In giving credit where credit’s due, the film at least gets off to a promising start, offering up as much of a background we need on recently disgraced CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce) we need in order to establish a connection with his plight, if only on a base level. During the first five minutes, cartoonish CGI effectively paves the way toward substandard mediocrity as Lockout‘s intriguing premise fails to expand into something wholly dynamic. The hilariously uninspired President’s daughter-turned-hostage scenario notwithstanding, the film as a whole really doesn’t have a leg to stand on, introducing bland, one-dimensional characters at frequent intervals if only to show us who’s worth rooting for and who’s obviously not.

Failing to deliver by way of little to no typically over-the-top action sequences characteristic of the subgenre, we’re just about forced to listen to each schlocky one-liner Pearce’s Snow utters for the sake of ineffective comic relief. The tug-of-war that ensues between those intent on rescuing the President’s daughter Emilie and the recently liberated, cookie-cutter psychopaths stowed aboard the not-so-secure MS-One is plain boring, not once attempting to expand upon the intriguing ideas at the film’s core to any discernible degree. The exchanges in question are predictable as are the malicious, overblown actions of the prisoners themselves, causing me to roll my eyes at regular intervals until they began to ache.

Throw in a troupe of lackluster performances save for Pearce’s as the titular Snow, and you have a generally piss-poor attempt at recreating what Lockout‘s big-budget inspirations and precursors wholeheartedly sported. Narrative twists are as uninteresting as the bulk of the film itself, and the somewhat promising opening minutes are quickly squandered as nothing noteworthy or remotely humanistic bubbles to the surface throughout Lockout‘s laboriously paced, nearly two-hour run time. To put things plainly, if you’re looking for Mather and St. Leger to deliver the mindless thrills suggested by an agreeably eye-catching marketing campaign, keep in mind that what you’ll actually witness is inept in almost every sense of the word. Visuals aside, Lockout will undoubtedly be forgotten soon after its presumably brief stint in theaters comes to an unceremonious end.

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