Locked, But Not Loaded

Dumb, flashy and loud. Those three words make up the identity of “Lockout,” a small sci-fi action flick that somehow managed to find its way into theaters. Moviegoers shouldn’t really expect anything more from this film, but even then, it’s difficult to ignore how blatantly and painfully lazy it is.

In 2079, falsely convicted ex-CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce) is sentenced to 30 years of stasis sleep aboard MS One, an orbiting maximum space station, where the President’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) is visiting for humanitarian causes. Inevitably, an unfortunate event leads to MS One being taken over by its 500 inmates, who hold Emilie hostage. In response, the government sends in Snow to rescue her.

From the producer of “Taken,” “Lockout” is like, well, “Taken,” except that it takes place in space. It sounds like a cool concept, but there’s no gruff Liam Neeson here to keep things interesting, and it’s just as clichéd and predictable. Surprises and twists are nonexistent, as we are comfortably (or uncomfortably?) miles ahead of the plot.

OK, so “Lockout” doesn’t exactly feature an original concept, and perhaps should be cut some slack, but is it OK for it to assume that we’ll act like guinea pigs and gratefully accept everything it throws at us? This includes the gaping holes in logic that make suspension of disbelief nearly impossible, especially when we see that general human intelligence hasn’t improved 67 years in the future.

The cast doesn’t exactly showcase their acting skills, as their characters stay one-dimensional for the most part. It is fun to see Guy Pearce dick around with pretty much everyone, though it gets tiring after a while. Maggie Grace’s performance is a marked improvement over that of the kidnapped daughter in “Taken,” which is quite welcome.

When it comes to the visuals, we get to see both sides of the coin for this rather low budget flick. Setpieces in space are handled efficiently, whereas action sequences on earth are reduced to incomprehensible blurs and flashes.

Yes, “Lockout” gets the job done for what it is, but its accomplishments are few and far between, and pale in comparison to its missed opportunities as well as the damage it deals upon the human mind.

 

Rating: 2 out of 5