Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lockout: Popcorn Hollywood entertainment at its best, or worst, depending on your POV

As soon as I first saw the trailer for ‘Lockout,’ the latest Luc Besson-produced sci-fi actioner, I knew that regardless of how bad or cheesy it is, it’s one of those movies that I would see in the theaters ‘no matter what.’   Never mind that it is shamelessly derivative, another variation of ‘Die Hard’ (didn’t I just see an Indonesian version of it not long ago?), and is filled with clichés, plot holes and enough logic defying action sequences to make Stephen Hawking’s head spin.   Why?  Because, damn it, it’s ‘Die Hard’ in space, man.  I mean, how cool is that???!!!

I’m a sucker for movies like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Under Siege,’ and placing it in a sci-fi context is just icing-on-the-cake.   Ever since Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien,’ I just love movies set in giant space ships or space stations because not only ‘in space, no one can hear you scream’ but you have no place to run.  ‘Lockout,’ set in the 2070’s, is about a state-of-the-art maximum security prison in space taken over by its highly dangerous convicts.  To make matters worse, the president’s superhot daughter is onboard!  Snarky CIA operative ‘Snow’ (Guy Pierce), recently framed by one of his superiors for a murder he did not commit (of course), is given the task to rescue the First Daughter (Maggie Grace) from the psychopathic inmates. 
In movies like ‘Lockout,’ I’ve learned long ago to take my ‘thinking cap’ off and just ‘enjoy the ride.’  And if you do that, you’ll find this movie to be very entertaining.  Guy Pierce, as the larger-than-life action hero, is fun to watch and fires his one-liners like his submachine guns faster than Bruce Willis’s John McClane can say "Yippie-Ki-Yay Motherfucker."  No matter how badly he’s beaten, or how dangerous a predicament he finds himself in, Snow’s snarky humor never flags.  It’s almost as if everything is a game to him, and he has lost any fear of pain or death long ago.  Now that's the quintessential indestructable Hollywood alpha male!  Maggie Grace, playing the 'damsel-in-distress' role seemingly typecast for her, turned out to be anything but the weakling you expected her to be and complemented Pierce’s superhero perfectly.

The sci-fi world portrayed in ‘Lockout’ is sleek and stylish, comparing favorably with the settings of other sci-fi movies like ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Fifth Element,’ ‘Total Recall’ and 'Minority Report.'  'Lockout' is as much science fiction as it is action thriller.  The action is fast-and-furious, but the futuristic setting of ‘Lockout’ is so vividly painted as to be breathtakingly beautiful.  ‘Lockout’ may not have offered anything new or original in either the sci-fi or action genre, but it managed to be more entertaining than it had any right to be.   This is what a Michael Bay movie might have looked like, if he had any imagination and a better sense of humor.

8 out of 10

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