Lockout reveals what kind of movie it is going to be within ten seconds of the credits rolling. That moment is when “based on an original idea by Luc Besson” appears on screen. The man who brought us Taken, Transporter, and The Fifth Element isn’t known for subtlety or even any real regard for reality. In true Besson form, this movie flashes by with computer generated, adrenalized visuals with an occasional pause for exposition and the requisite one liners from our hero.
The plot, which is really more of an excuse to have people fight in space, explains that the daughter of the President of the United States of America has found herself trapped in a space prison with hundreds of particularly nasty criminals. Obviously the only course of action is to send in an impossibly calm, wise cracking badass, a CIA operative and newly charged criminal Snow. Yes that’s really his name.
The rest of the movie is equal parts Escape From New York, Die Hard, The Rock, and Star Wars; all seen through the lena of a Michael Bay disciple. The result fills less like a movie and more like an intro to a really awesome amusement park ride.
Now here is where this review takes a twist. I actually kind of enjoyed this thing. All of the clumsy one liners, sketchy logic, and lazy computer generated effects couldn’t stop my inner twelve-year-old from grinning in awe. The whole movie is set up as an adolescent boy’s fantasy while playing with his action figures, and it relishes in it. The characters and situations are painted with such broad strokes that the story stops really being a factor by the second act.
That’s the point when the charm of Guy Pearce, who plays Snow, and Maggie Grace, who plays the President’s daughter, really shines through. They are having fun with this material and you can tell. Both actors go from set piece to set piece with such energy and fervor it helps the audience attach themselves to this amplified and nearly nonsensical story.
Overall, Lockout sets up who is who and what they want, then just runs with ridiculous scenario after ridiculous scenario which leads to perhaps the most ridiculous finale of this year. If you can get behind that, if you can embrace your adolescent self that once loved Hard to Kill as much as Citizen Kane, you will enjoy the ride that is this movie. As Snow says to another character in the movie, “Don’t think about it too much”.