What I'm Watching: Lockout
Happy May, Triskelions!
Got out last Thursday to go see the scifi actioner from Luc Besson, Lockout, before it disappeared to the video bins.
And it is a shame this movie is almost forgotten and disappeared so fast, because it was FUN.
It's not a great movie, it's flawed, but holy crap. FUN.
Besson also did Fifth Element, and that's a good idea of what I mean. There is a lot of bad in that movie, it is goofy, admit it. Even those of us who love the movie, come on. It is a total guilty pleasure, he said as a nod to his friend's site. ;)
The craziness of Fifth Element is not here though, they play it more straight, but it is still over the top and a bit ludicrous. But so was Die Hard at times.
But you know what? This movie was, you guessed it, FUN.
The basic plot of the movie is, in the future, we have started to put our prisoners on giant, orbital space stations where the inmates are kept in suspended animation for the time of their sentences. Which is a scifi trope, but I never understood it. The point of incarceration is, in part, to rehabilitate. Now, you can argue the effectiveness of that, but doesn't basically putting someone to sleep so by their perspective they committed their crimes yesterday...antithetical to the whole idea?
But I digress, I just wanted to get that off my chest. I guess for the hard core lifers, it would be a different story. Back to the plot!
The president's daughter is visiting MS1, the premiere maximum security space station, to assess how the prisoners are reacting to the stasis, and if their brains are being melted in the process. Due to a series of unforseen circumstances, shit goes wrong and the prisoner she is interviewing escapes and sets everyone else free.
Meanwhile on Earth, a man called Snow is busy trying to get out of being framed for killing a fellow secret agent. That isn't going so well, and he's being sent to MS1 when the breakout happens, so they enlist Senor Badass to get the president's daughter out, so the space marines can go in and kick all kinds of ass.
And cue some kinda awesome scifi space station action. It could be better, because there's only a few set pieces and the rest is your regular stalking around the halls trying not to get caught by the inmates, and punchy-time. But what it does, it does well, even if sometimes it's pretty normal.
Guy Pearce is great as the confident, dickish Snow, trying to save the president's daughter is only secondary to him, and instead is more interested in clearing his name. Of course, even if he doesn't manage that, having the President owe you one is never bad.
Maggie Grace is good as the daughter, Emilie, and she gives almost as good as she gets when put up against the asshat that comes to save her. This easily could have been a whiny, cringey feminine roll, but she has some good moments, and has some spine to her.
There is one huge OH COME ON!! moment of disbelief, but for the most part, the movie feels grounded in reality, if not in precise science, and the grittiness really plays well against the over the top action and lunacy of just what we're watching.
Making Snow have his own goals, and have his own plot help give some meat to the movie's structure. It isn't JUST a prison break out, there's more here, and the threads pull together well enough. The breakout is not tied to Snow's personal mission, and that's as it should be. Otherwise, it would be too coincidental. Having the guy there who could maybe clear Snow's name is pushing it as is, so they played it smart to have these two threads running concurrently and crossing paths, but NOT being dependent on another.
The opening credits is one of the best I've seen, sets the tone for the entire movie perfectly of a blend of action and humour, and had me laughing right from the get go. I was put at ease, welcomed into the movie, and couldn't wait for things to get rolling.
If you can find this movie hiding out in a theatre somewhere waiting to be stomped out by Avengers...there are worse ways you could kill an afternoon. This movie was exactly what I wanted it to be, and I can't complain at it giving me a purely for entertainment movie.