“I’m getting beaten up by a guy named Rupert?”
On the surface, Lockout is a movie about an ex-CIA agent who must break in to a futuristic space station jail to rescue the kidnapped daughter of the president. But really, it seems to be an experiment on just how badly directed an action movie can be.
Lets start with the action scenes, which are abrasive at best. They are noisy, clamourous pieces of garbage with no directing skill present. Action scenes need to tell a story in and of themselves, and good action directors know how to frame this story. These scenes are just visual images thrown into a blender. There is one scene in particular, a chase scene near the beginning of the film, which can only be described as an assault to the senses. It looked like a bad video game and simply made my head spin with how obtrusive it was. And it was completely pointless to the plot, but more on that later. Regardless to say, that scene was single-handedly one of the worst movie scenes I have seen in a long, long time.
The pacing was also awful, especially in the first half. It felt like the director and editor both wanted to rush the set-up along as quickly as possible and get to the space station stuff already. Instead what we get is awkwardly spoken dialogue and plot elements which make no sense. For example, how in the world did the newly unfrozen inmates at the jail suddenly become organized and start negotiating within a matter of minutes? Another scene is an awful part where the president’s daughter interviews one of the inmates, and her bodyguard starts slamming him into the table because of one rude comment. Its as though they make every attempt to make this movie ‘in your face”.
The acting is just atrocious. We have the president whose daughter is just kidnapped, and is even almost certainly going to die at one point, and he shows about as much emotion as though he heard that she fell and scraped her knee. We have the crazy inmate who doesn’t quite pull off crazy very convincingly. Then we have the tough, in-charge inmate who doesn’t pull off tough very convincingly. And then we have Maggie Grace who tries really hard to channel Princess Leia when she was rescued from Han Solo in Star Wars, only without any chemistry between her and Guy Pierce. All I could think was “no bag of popcorn is worth this.”
Guy Pierce is the only one in this movie with a good performance. The movies only redeeming factor is the character of Snow, who is his own unique blend of Snake Plisken and John McClane. But its really hard to enjoy this character when he’s surrounded by such crap. It almost makes it worse, because the character is completely wasted.
And then there’s the briefcase subplot. Oh yes, how could we forget that? The movie starts off with Snow trying to secure some mystery briefcase (remember that awful chase scene I mentioned?), and must break into the prison to learn where it is from a friend of his who gets locked up. This is supposed to be the characters motivation, but its the equivalent of bungee jumping into a volcano for the promise of cheese and crackers. At the end, they come back to the briefcase business, which provides for an awful ending where we learn who one of the bad guys is. BUT, we don’t know why he’s bad, who he works for, we don’t even learn what’s in the briefcase! The entire subplot was a waste of time and only made a bad movie even more incoherent and random
Whew. I haven’t bashed a movie like that in a while.