The plot line for Lockout is one that’s familiar. A convicted felon is offered his freedom if he goes into a hostile environment to save an important person. I’m a cult fan of Snake Plisskin and even though the general plot is similar, this is not an Escape From…. movie.

CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is wrongly convicted for the murder of an agency buddy. He is sentenced to hypersleep on the controversial MS-1. Since this is 2079, the maximum security prison, MS-1 is naturally in Earth’s orbit. Emilie Wornock (Maggie Grace), the president’s daughter is on MS-1 conducting interviews to determine if there are any negative mental effects of hypersleep.

The warden wakes Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), one hell of a mental case even before hypersleep, as a test subject for Emilie’s interviews. He escapes and manages to take Emilie and her group hostage and release all the inmates. That’s when Snow, who’s still on Earth, is told he can earn his freedom if he sneaks onto MS-1 and rescues the President’s daughter.

I would argue the logic behind waking an already psychotic inmate when MS-1 is trying to impress Emilie by showing the mind doesn’t deteriorate in hypersleep. It would work just as well if they woke a more model prisoner.

One thing did get me thinking.  Snow touches on the constitutional aspect of speedy trials and sentencing to hypersleep. How would one fight for their innocence through appeals if they were asleep their entire sentence. It adds a different spin that I would love to see in a dramatic movie, which this is not.

The Plot is weak and CGI in the opening chase scene is laughable. It would have been better to leave it out. The directors, James Mather and Stephen St. Leger seem to know this and are unapologetic, basically ignoring the weak parts while emphasizing the strong ones. The strongest is Guy Pearce.

I wasn’t too sure about Pearce since most roles, while performed brilliantly, he adds a thespian air. Once I saw the first trailer, I knew he was the right choice. Pearce bulks up a lot and becomes a non-caring, sarcastic, bastard, yet somehow adds a bravado and honor to the role. His nonchalance and wise-cracks (thanks to the writers) are actually funny. I think guy Pearce gives one of his best performances. Snow is an unbearable dick and 100% believable. Grace does a great job and holds her own with Pearce, but no one can steal a scene away from him.

I’m not saying Pearce ‘saves’ the movie, just makes it enjoyable. The script may fall short when it comes to the plot, but it definitely succeeds with the dialog, and the non-stop action from beginning to end keeps things moving. In that respect, Lockout is a fun movie with Pearce’s performance a guilty pleasure. Just don’t take it seriously.

Lockout opens in theaters today


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