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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.55%
Worth A Look36.36%
Just Average: 31.82%
Pretty Crappy: 27.27%
Sucks: 0%

3 reviews, 4 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"Luc, Up In The Sky"
4 stars

Thanks to the advances in special effects technology in recent years that can now readily produce visuals that could only exist in the most exceptionally caffeinated of dreams just a short while ago, most action films these days now have such a tenuous relationship to the basic tenets of reality that to describe them as preposterous seems like a waste of time and energy. "Lockout," on the other hand, is a film so deranged, so cartoonish and, yes, so preposterous that it takes all basic and long-cherished notions of plausibility and common sense and goes after them like the guy with the fire extinguisher in the opening scene of "Irreversible" went after the poor dope he was pursuing and with most of the same results. The film is so shamelessly ridiculous and nonsensical that the only hope that it has of coming across as anything other than borderline insulting gibberish rests entirely on the prospect that that it somehow manages to be as wildly entertaining as it is completely ludicrous and amazingly enough, it somehow manages to do just that.

Set in the not-too distant future of 2079, the film begins as winsome Emilie (Maggie Grace) is flying off to MS1--an maximum-security prison orbiting the Earth and housing America's deadliest criminals in states of suspended animation--on a goodwill mission to ensure that the prisoners are being treated decently and are not in any way being exploited by the huge, multi-national corporation that helped to fund the program. Unfortunately, as soon as she arrives, everything goes gunny as the inmates break loose and take over the joint. With a full assault on the prison an impossibility, the president and his advisors realize that there is only one man for the job--tough-talking ex-CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce)--and even better, he is about to be sent to that very same prison after being accused of espionage after a sting he was involved with resulted in the death of a key agent and the disappearance of a briefcase apparently filled with important secrets.

Against his better judgement, Snow eventually agrees to take the job and soon finds himself in the bowels of MS1 trying to track down the feisty Emilie before the bad guys--led by one rational-but-indicipherable madman and his totally-psychotic-yet-equally-indicipherable brother can find her and discover who she really is. Of course, this is all just prelude to a series of of increasingly insane action set-pieces that test all the bounds of logic. For example, there is a motorcycle chase that is so overlaid with CGI effects that it literally veers between live-action and animation in the blink of an eye. There is a zero-gravity fistfight over giant grinding gears that is impressive, though perhaps not as much as it might have been had there not been a similar bit in the last "Mission: Impossible" epic. There is much more, of course, and it all leads up to a finale that is so amazingly over-the-top that it not only redefines the term for future generations, it makes the looney interstellar antics of "Moonraker"" seen scientifically sound by comparison. Seriously, the only thing keeping me from telling you what it is in order to prove its outlandishness is that it is so far beyond the pale that you wouldn't believe me if I did.

As some of you may have suspected from seeing such keywords in this review as "deranged," "preposterous," "outlandish," "ridiculous" and "Maggie Grace," "Lockout" is the latest model from the one-man-moviemaking empire that is Luc Besson, a man so tireless that he has directed four films and worked on the screenplays for another eight (with two more currently in pre-production) since 2006, the year that he announced that he was retiring from filmmaking altogether. Here, he not only produced and co-wrote the screenplay, he is also credited separately (and repeatedly) with supplying the "original idea" for the film. Considering the fact that the whole thing is essentially a mash-up of the classic "Escape from New York" and his own "Taken" (right down to having Maggie Grace return as the damsel in distress), this credit may well inspire some of the biggest laughs to be had.

That said, while he has turned over the directorial reins to Stephen St. Leger and James Mather, it sure feels like a full-blown Besson film through and through with its combination of outrageous action sequences, flashy visual style and a storyline so cheerfully cartoonish that it feels like a couple of wired 10-year-old kids are making it up in a sandbox as it goes along. (The only Bessonian trademark not on display here is a lissome ass-kicking babe, though you feel differently about this assertion based on your disposition towards Guy Pearce, of course.) It is that weird sense of childlike exuberance that Besson brings to the proceedings that gives his films their distinct personality and it is why a film like "Lockout" turns out to be so much fun to watch despite all of the obvious idiocies on display. Yes, it is dumb but it is of the kind of dumbness that makes for strangely compelling viewing for those willing to embrace its pop-art insanities in all their gaudy manifestations.

As a serious-minded critic, I must note that "Lockout" contains more than its fair share of flaws--the bad guys are bores with accents so thick that it seems as though they escaped from a Ken Loach film, Guy Pearce's relentless quips and one-liners grow a little monotonous after a while (although his opening interrogation scene is pretty hilarious for all the right reasons), Maggie Grace has nothing to do except look pretty and then, after disguising herself, to look less pretty and all the stuff involving Snow's past and that missing briefcase drag things out for too long (especially at the end, where it inexplicably winds up dominating the last ten minutes). As an unabashed Luc Besson fanboy with an admitted sweet tooth for overblown goofiness in my action cinema, I must confess that I came out of the film with a silly grin on my face and a sense of delight that blockbuster nonsense of this sort can still be entertaining when placed in the right hands. Of course, there are plenty of haters and cynics who will no doubt decry this film as brain-dead junk and denounce me for having the audacity to suggest watching it. To that, all I can say is that if you don't like this one, go give the dull-as-dishwater likes of "Wrath of the Titans" a spin and leave the gourmet eye-candy to the rest of us.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=22438&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/12/12 17:41:54
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User Comments

6/06/20 Brian Escape from NY....IN SPACE!!! Derivative mindless fun. 4 stars
3/31/16 Aj wales Never boring. Just enjoy. 5 stars
10/06/12 KingNeutron I give it 3.5 *'s, it was obviously rushed - but enjoyable popcorn movie. 3 stars
4/16/12 Aaron S Fun film. Guy Pearce is worth it. Not too serious. 4 stars
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  13-Apr-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Jul-2012


  DVD: 17-Jul-2012

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