Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 17th, 2012

In LOCKOUT, ex-CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) must infiltrate a maximum security prison and save the president’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), from a hostage situation during mass break-out in order to clear his name after he is wrongly accused of murder. To add to the mayhem, the prison is on a space station and part of a new initiate that keeps inmates in a cryogenically frozen stasis that can cause dementia and madness. Snow only has so much time to save Emilie from a group of inmates led by a cold-blooded criminal (Vincent Regan) and his deranged, psychotic brother (Joseph Gilgun) before they figure out that she is more than just a simple hostage, but a powerful bargaining chip.

The film is at its best when it isn’t focusing on questions of morality in the new prison structure–for example the brushed off, although recurring question of whether they are using the inmates to test the effects of deep space exploration. The prison itself is awful in the best way possible as it is poorly planned with little security in place, despite being maximum security, even if it is because all the inmates are supposed to be kept in stasis the entire time. This is only compounded by some of the amazingly bad decisions made by many of the characters, like the Secret Service man that sneaks his gun into the criminal holding area where they are waking up inmates to interview them. While the scenarios can get a bit outlandish, there is always something worse about to happen that will keep viewers entertained, despite the formulaic and predictable script. It helps that the special effects and fights are pretty good, with the exception of one chase scene in the beginning that looks like it was pulled from a mediocre video game.

While the gruff, joke-cracking, chain-smoking hero Snow isn’t really a dynamic character, Pearce is great as he rattles off rapid fire one-liners as the typical self-serving badass who develops a heart. Pearce’s character is still a bit flat because the constant jokes and the fact that he takes nothing at all serious makes it hard to believe that there is a single cause for concern throughout the film, but it is still funny. Director Luc Besson repeatedly tries for some emotional heart, but let’s be honest: it’s all about blowing stuff up and action-packed scenes. There are better action films out there and this may not offer anything particularly new, but its fast-pace and the relish Pearce takes in his wise-cracking badass make it a fun hour and a half nonetheless.

Kristen Micek