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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Lockout (2012)

A little bit of charm can go a long way. If you're Guy Pearce, this is a good thing. The man hasn't really put a foot wrong (ahem, let's ignore The Time Machine) since he was Scott and Charlene's neighbour back in the eighties. Since then, he has impressed this reviewer more often than most actors of his generation. The next time we will see him will be in Ridley Scott's Prometheus, no less, taking on the role of Peter Weyland. So as if to emphasise all of this, he turns up here, in Lockout, finally getting a real shot at 'action movie star' status. Makes you wonder why he would bother? He isn't Jason Statham, after all, thankfully endowed with more talents than talking cockney and looking hard.

Still, bother he does, so it would only be right to (albeit squinting through fingers) have a look at this Luc Besson inspired project from James Mather and Stephen St Leger.

Popular opinion would suggest that Pearce is slumming it here. Whilst the script is punchy and at times funny, you can't help but think this is nothing more than a pedestrian acting piece for Pearce. Lumped in with Maggie Grace (Lost, Taken) the two of them look incredible, but that is pretty much where it ends for those looking for meaning and substance. The rest of the content is pretty much as you would expect. Loud, reliably ludicrous (space prisons and low orbit police stations?) and aimed at those people that may (or may not) be just old enough to see it. The script holds up well within this framework of expectations, remaining smart enough to maybe impress most, but good enough only to boggle an already easily pleased audience that really like their guns as long as they're not being distracted by a pretty actress in between all the running, shouting and shooting.

Pearce plays the part of Snow, a man wrongly incarcerated and threatened with thirty years of 'stasis' as punishment. When the president's daughter (Grace) is unfortunate enough to be stuck on a space prison when there is a breakout of all of the previously sleeping inmates, Snow is given the option of going to save the young woman from the escapees. Either that or it's Rip Van Snoozy Pearce for our hero.

Left with little option, Snow takes them up on the offer and so follows a cat and mice story, where Pearce and Grace are definitely the rodents. The cat here is Alex, played by Vincent Regan (300), a self-proclaimed leader of the recently released inmates, who discovers the true identity of the presidents daughter and intends to use her as a bargaining tool.

The film has a strong script and Pearce delivers his lines adeptly. Regan also stands out as a formidable nemesis. The intensity of the story drives it forward, even if the plot is very simple and the narrative even more so. When all said and done, this is a grunt movie with some witty repartee that will make you smile often, but an overlong second act makes this a bit tiresome. Ultimately, this is a formulaic space romp that will be forgotten by the start of June when Pearce's credibility, high though it already may be despite this effort, will go through the roof.


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