In the futures, Special Agent Snow (Guy Pierce) is given the option of going to prison for the rest of his life or break into an impenetrable space prison to rescue the Presidentís daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace). Guess which option he chooses?
Hereís what I wrote about this film back in April:
ďBefore watching it, I kept joking that the new B-grade science fiction action spectacular Lockout, sprung from the eternally prepubescent mind of French auteur Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita), should have been called ďEscape from Space PrisonĒ instead. Kidding aside, while the similarities to John Carpenterís Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. are undeniable, the real template for this one is without a doubt 1988ís Die Hard, the movie more or less following that John McTiernan classicís structure to the letter once gregarious antihero C.I.A. Special Agent Snow (Guy Pierce) finds himself aboard interstellar prison MS-1with orders to rescue the Presidentís daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace).
Granted, mentioning Lockup in the same breath as Die Hard or Escape from New York (or, if you can believe it, Escape from L.A.) borders on blasphemous, the movie having more in common with 1990ís Ďclassicsí like Fortress or Under Siege 2: Dark Territory than it does anything else. But even that is disingenuous as those films look like Oscar-winning sensations compared to this idiotic, unintentionally hilarious and absolutely nonsensical monstrosity, and Iíd compare it to stuff like Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone or Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn if those movies werenít so giddily entertaining in their outright awfulness.
Other than Pierce, who appears to be having a blast doing his best Snake Plissken meets John McClane impersonation, this misfire is an abomination on almost every level. I get that co-writers and co-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger had some success directing short films and commercials, so it makes sense that Besson would be willing to give the duo a chance handling this relatively inexpensive sci-fi comic book adventure. But the duoís guinding of the feature is beyond ghastly, and other than a few novel touches (the delivery of the pre-title credits is inspired) overall one wonders how they ever graduated from film school in the first place.
Seriously, this picture is a mess. Whatís worse is that given the simplistic straight-forward nature of the premise it by all rights shouldnít be. Presidentís daughter goes on humanitarian mission to assess the merits of incarcerating prisoners in cryogenic sleep in Earthís orbit. Through a series of unforeseen events all 500 prisoners wake up and take over the facility, holding said daughter hostage. Wrongly convicted for a murder he didnít commit, expertly trained government agent is sent in alone to rescue her for a full pardon. Mayhem, violence, bloodshed and comedic one-liners ensue.
Problem is, Mather and St. Leger edit their picture through a Cuisinart, making the action visually unintelligible throughout. More than that, their script isnít so much written in shorthand as it is written in no-hand, the whole thing feeling as if it were made up as shooting went along meaning little things like continuity and plot are thrown aside like yesterdayís newspaper. There are a series of nonsensical video game-inspired visual effects sequences that are so haphazardly put together theyíre headache inducing, and after a while you get the feeling theyíve been included to make the audience laugh at their almost purposeful awfulness.
The movie isnít exciting. Itís funny for all the wrong reasons. The villains (a pair of psychotic Irish brothers played by Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun) arenít scary and donít achieve, or for that matter deserve, an appropriate demise. Peter Stormare phones in his performance as an all-powerful government stooge who likes getting under Snowís skin. The ending feels tacked on and completely inappropriate. The action sequences have no heft, no bite and zero ingenuity. The final product isnít so much a disaster as it is an inexcusably cheap and ungainly realized misbegotten miscarriage of cinematic justice supervised by talented behind-the-scenes producers and craftsman all of whom should have known better.
Only Pierce makes it through unscathed, and Iíd be lying if I didnít admit Iíd love to see him in a similar sort of role at some point in the future. He truly does seem to be having a blast playing this character, giving far more of himself for the cause than the picture remotely deserves. It isnít enough, of course, but that much is evident as far as Lockout is concerned right from the start. Unlike so many of the mid-1980ís to early1990ís sci-fi B-movies itís obviously emulating, this one isnít even so bad itís good, the final product an out of this world debacle only those with a penchant for self-harm should take it upon themselves to watch.Ē
As you can surmise, I borderline hated Lockout when I watched it the first time in theatres. As such, I didnít actually request a review copy of the Blu-ray because I wasnít slightly in the mood to endure it for a second time. No interest, none whatsoever, and even if the disc had contained longer, probably more cohesive Ďdirectorís cutí I still doubt Iíd have been even minutely interested in checking it out.
The Blu-ray contains the Ďunratedí version of the film, not a directorís cut. As both the theatrical versions and this Blu-ray version ran 95 minutes, I cannot tell you what the differences between the two are, but Iím guessing they have to be rather microscopic because itís doubtful directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger could have changed or fixed any of the problems yet retained the exact same running time.
Because, based on whatís contained on this disc, they havenít fixed anything. The problems are still the same. The issues are still the same. The entertainment value is still preciously low. And, finally, as before, the chances Iím going to be recommending this film to anyone, anyone at all, borders on nil.
I will say this: I did not hate Lockout at home like I did in the theatre. I still didnít care for it, still would rather not have watched it again, but overall I was not in any sort of pain while I let this disc play itself out. As for as plusses go, I know thatís a tiny one, but when youíre dealing with what is easily one of the worst films of the entire year Iím going to take any sort of tiny positives that I can get.
Lockout is presented on a dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1/1080p transfer.
Lockout comes to Blu-ray in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 as well as Italian and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and includes optional English SDH, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese subtitles.
Extras here include:
∑ Breaking Into Lockout (11:07)
∑ A Vision of the Future (10:13)
Not a lot (not that I was expecting a lot), but both featurettes are fine for what they are. The filmmakers are obviously a heck of a lot more enthusiastic for the film than I am (as are stars Pearce and Grace), but that doesnít make the information presented any less solid.
The disc also comes with a selection of previews for upcoming Sony releases and is UltraViolet Enabled.
I donít like Lockout, I think at this point that is more than obvious. Same time, Sonyís Blu-ray presentation is borderline perfect from a technical standpoint, so I guess for the few out there who DO like the film I guess I shouldnít deter you from doing just that. Everyone else? Stay away. Stay very far away.