A few days ago, I posted a nifty little list of five reasons that Lockout might suck, as well as three additional reasons why it wouldn’t. That fine article can be read right here. I was very excited to see Lockout in all of its spacial glory (space puns are funny, okay?!). Plus, with Guy Pearce in the lead role, what could go wrong, right? Well, allow me to count the ways.
With an opening scene that promises nothing but mindless action fun, Lockout‘s opening minutes are something to be cherished. The stylishly designed credits, the hilariously bad special effects, and the witty one-liners from Guy Pearce were an indication that I was in for some fun. That is, of course, until Lockout decides that it needs to follow a plot of some kind to “get the ball rolling”. Said plot goes something like this. In order to clear his name of falsely accused charges, Ex-CIA operative Snow must go to MS One, a maximum security prison in space, and rescue the president’s daughter who is being held hostage by 497 escaped convicts.
In his way are the previously mentioned convicts. Plus the fact that they’re all in orbit doesn’t make it any easier. If Lockout‘s premise sounds similar to films like Escape from L.A. or Die Hard or Fortress 2, then you’re right. Working as essentially a hybrid of all of those films, what the film lacks in originality, it doesn’t make up for in charm, good action, or plot. As much as Pearce tries, he’s basically working with a series of annoying one-liners that never amount to any sort of character development past the fact that he’s an egotistical dick.
Another thing that dooms Lockout is the film’s PG-13 rating. As I mentioned in my 5 Reasons Lockout Might Suck (And 3 Reasons It Won’t), the film’s MPAA certificate would lead to its eventual demise. I was correct. Grossing a mere $7 million dollars on its opening weekend, maybe an R rating would have boosted Lockout‘s numbers. But by the time the film begins to gain what it would like to call “momentum”, nothing matters, because all I wanted to do for the rest of the film was leave.
I can handle a lot of things in an action film. Bad acting, cheap special effects, a crappy plot, laughable dialogue, incomprehensible direction, and even unlikable heroes. Lockout has pretty much all of these things, and that would have been perfectly fine had the film not been so damn boring. The “fearless” and “ruthless” villain, Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), that was so damn entertaining in the previews has basically been reduced to the voiceless sidekick of Alex (Vincent Regan), a much older and more experienced inmate of MS1.
About halfway through of Lockout I just gave up completely and let the awfulness wash over me. Walking out, I began asking myself why I’d ever anticipated this film in the first place. And then it dawned on me that I had just walked out of a movie where the two leads parachute from space right onto New York City. My questions were immediately answered.