Lockout Entertains but has Little Depth
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2012 21:04
A EuropaCorp film, Rated PG-13, running time 95 minutes
This weekend I made my weekly jaunt to Westgate Cinemas to watch the movie Lockout. Lockout is a science fiction action movie directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. This movie was certainly entertaining, but ultimately I believe it was lacking in a few aspects. It was a very exciting movie but incredibly outlandish and unrealistic. While the main character was likable, the film give little to no information about any of the characters. As a whole it was a very enjoyable film but was it an amazing movie? Not so much.
Lockout is an action film set in 2079 in a maximum security prison which is orbiting the earth. This particular prison holds Earth’s worst and most violent offenders and keeps them in a sleeplike stasis for the duration of their sentence. The president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) visits the prison on a humanitarian trip but as she talks to one of the inmates the prisoners are able to break out and take control of the prison. Snow (Guy Pearce), a man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter.
I feel that because I did enjoy the film it is appropriate to start with what the film did right. It was certainly an action packed thrill ride. The film had many scenes of large explosions, space ships zooming around in low orbit, and plenty of scenes in which Snow kicks major butt. It felt as if the movie focused mostly on the action scenes as there were more scenes that were action based rather than story driven. Lockout kept me very interested and ready for action as any good action movie should and all the energy of the film was very entertaining.
As exciting and energy filled as it was, I could not get past the feeling that this movie is a bit too outlandish. I generally have no problem dealing with outlandish movies and usually I can suspend some disbelief for the sake of entertainment, but this film was a bit too much. Firstly, this movie is set in the year 2079, not even 70 years from now, and yet we have not one, but multiple very large and fully functioning space stations orbiting the Earth, one of which being the headquarters of the Low Orbit Police Department. I cannot believe that in less than 70 years we have advanced so much that we need a police department in space. If it was only that small problem then I would not think the movie to be too outlandish, but throughout the whole movie there were plenty of other pieces of technology that felt too incredibly futuristic for the time.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is the main character, Snow, and how he interacts with everyone he talks to. Most every line he says is a witty one liner and his entire character is built around not liking the people around him. He is constantly condescending and insulting but he does it in such a way that it is funny and does not feel overdone. In my movie watching experience, when the makers of a movie attempt to make their main character in that style they typically overdo it, but this film did it right.
As great a main character as Snow was, the film gave no information about any of the people on screen. Even Snow’s backstory was vague and the audience only gets a small bit of information throughout the movie. Compared to some other characters in the film, Snow’s backstory is larger than the collective works of Shakespeare. The president’s daughter’s reason for coming to the prison in the first place had very little depth to it and did not feel believable. Shaw (Lennie James), Snow’s only friend in the US government, had zero backstory and the film barely described what position he help in the government. The film gave absolutely no reason as to why he and Snow were even friends or why they knew they could trust each other. Had they added an additional 30 or so minutes to the film to thoroughly explain what is going on and who the people on screen are and why I should care, then I can easily see this movie being simply amazing.
Lockout was exciting and action packed but felt utterly unrealistic and far too outlandish, and while it had a very memorable character in Snow it gave you zero information about anyone else and why I should care about them. It was certainly entertaining, but would I call it a good movie? Not particularly. As much as I enjoyed it I cannot give it higher than a C- due to the fact that it was missing entirely too much information and far too outlandish even for my tastes.