Capsule Movie Review – Lockout (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
Roger Ebert likes to use the term “Idiot Plot” to describe stories where the characters act like idiots at key plot junctures because if they didn’t, the movie would be over. Lockout has an Imbecile Plot: every person involved in the design, construction, and operation of the easily almost instantaneously irretrievably hijacked maximum security space station prison must have been a total imbecile. Terrestrial city jails of today are more secure and they pose no danger of falling out of the sky onto the eastern seaboard. Operating at mere idiot level, the secret service detail that miserably fails to protect visiting first daughter turned hostage Emilie (Maggie Grace) looks good by comparison. Fortunately for her, the psycho rapists and murderers running the riot are almost as stupid as their jailers. Even luckier that Snake Plissken- I mean, recently framed-for-murder and sentenced without trial to 30 years in cryogenic sleep without the possibility of parole ex-spy Snow (Guy Pearce) is available for the rescue operation. Did I mention it’s a dystopian future America where the Constitution has been shredded and evil corporations rule from the shadows? No one involved in the design or operation of this movie can be accused of originality, yet it’s not as bad as it sounds. Pearce can’t make the movie good but he does make it consistently watchable. One of writer-producer Luc Besson’s most appealing damsels in distress, Emilie takes an atypically active role in her own rescue and hardly cries at all (plus no raccoon eyes… a Besson first?). The CG flying machines fail to impress, but the down and dirty action on the station is decently staged and moves at a good clip. There’s a welcome thread of humor throughout in throwaway visual jokes and John McClaneesque banter. The earthbound finale is surprisingly good. I’d rather have a good set-up and a good ending, but if I have to choose I’ll take the one I walk away on.
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: The short but sweet starter chase in the metro. The “wake everybody up” button in the unguarded control room.