It’s Not Shit: Lockout
If you’d told me that a movie starring Guy “I guess we couldn’t afford Hugh Jackman” Pearce and Maggie “My only notable role since getting killed off Lost is a bit part in Twilight” Grace would be anything other than awful, I probably would have laughed in your face.
No, I definitely would have laughed in your face. Because I’m classy. And socially graceful.
But damn, because these two bastards pull it off.
Fucking Luc Besson.
So the plot is pretty much a clusterfuck of unlucky coincidences. Guy Pearce is a spy/agent/something who is wrongly accused of murdering a fellow agent, who himself has been wrongly accused of stealing secrets. Guy hands off a briefcase to his partner Mace before he is captured. Meanwhile, Maggie Grace is the President’s daughter who is inspecting a new orbiting prison facility. One of the prisoners breaks free and unleashes the 500 inmates whilst taking Maggie and the staff hostage. Guy is sent in to rescue her (without being given much of a choice) and he also hopes to contact Mace (who was captured after stashing the briefcase) to find out the location of the briefcase. Blah blah blah Guy and Maggie have witty banter, the prisoners resort to infighting, our heroes escape but everybody else dies. And the ending shows Maggie (having deciphered Mace’s brain-fried ramblings) finding the briefcase and evidence of Guy’s innocence.
And then Guy and Maggie kiss and roses explode into a romantic hellstorm of loooooooooove.
Oh wait, no they don’t.
I think the single most impressive thing about Lockout, apart from its excellent pacing and action scenes, is the restraint with the romantic sub plot between Guy and Maggie. I mean, you go into these things expecting it. But it never really happens here. The only overtly sexual moment between them is at the end when Guy thinks she’s leaning in for a kiss. But instead she slugs in the face (a callback to an earlier scene where he did the same to her) and they laugh about it.
After suffering the awkward connection forced between Steve Carell and Keira Knightly in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, this was a breath of fresh fucking air.
A Romantic Plot Tumor is so expected that I was literally (and happily) shocked when it didn’t pan out. Thank fuck.
Why I DON’T hate this movie:
The pace of Lockout is its next best thing. It’s an action movie that’s only 90 minutes long. Hallelujah.
Guy Pearce took his persona lessons from Jack Sparrow. But without Johnny Depp and 300 litres of liquid eyeliner to fuck it over, this is actually enjoyable this time. Who knew?
He looks hot, too.
Maggie Grace is also kinda fantastic. You wouldn’t have known it if you’d recently seen her pout her way through her 2 lines of dialogue in Twicrap. She’s perfectly adequate and competent, and with a little bit of charm, too. Nice.
She too, looks hot.
We actually get to find out what’s inside the briefcase at the end (nothing, btw). Take that, Cold Light of Day.
At one point Guy uses a wrap-around bomb tube thing to blow a prisoner’s head off a la collar bomb. Sweet.
Maggie turns out to be pretty good at this whole action survivor bit. She does a decent job of running and hiding herself (when the first prisoner attacks her she books it out of there immediately and raises the alarm). But she isn’t a useless woman who runs from anything. She rejects the escape pod to stay with Guy to try to save the hostages. And to top it off, after the hostages are all dead and she’s on the phone with her dad (the President, remember) she orders him to destroy the prison with her on it. Fucking spite those prisoners, baby.
This is when she delivers the best line of the film, which I rate for just badass commitment to fucking over these jerks: “Blow this dump out of the sky.”
And they do (despite some protests from daddy).
When Eyeball (I didn’t pick up the prisoners’ names. Eyeball is this guy, who is the brother of the prisoner who takes charge, who I simply called Leader. Because imagination is my forté) tries to rape her near the end, Maggie fashions a flamethrower out of a lighter and a perfume bottle (which Eyeball had previously joked about) and burns his face. Hot.
To escape the blown-the-fuck-up prison, Guy and Maggie slap on some space suit things and fucking skydive (Felix Baumgartner step aside) through the Earth’s atmosphere. Fuck.
Guy’s character’s first name is revealed at the end, much to Maggie’s delight, to be Marion. I lol’d.
Guy gets second best line, with this setup from Maggie, who wants to know if her father said anything to him:
Maggie: “Did he leave a message for me?”
Guy: “Yes. You are adopted.”
Oh, and the action is given the appropriate attention, despite the several other plot threads bouncing around.
Reasons to hate:
The other plot threads unforunately then get dropped a little too easily. The biggest offender would be the whole “Is keeping prisoners in stasis safe” thing, which was the whole reason that Maggie was there in the first place. After shit goes down, the only time it’s brought up again is when they encounter Mace, who has been mind-fucked by the process into dementia. Which Maggie then reveals she knew was an expectable side effect.
The whole bookend plot (Guy’s setup by the CIA dude) is also underdeveloped. And irrelevant. I’ve just watched our heroes motherfucking skydive from a runaway space prison into a city on Earth and survive. I don’t really care that you’re bringing up that excuse to get Guy onto the prison from the first 10 minutes of the movie. Who cares?
There’s also a couple of mentions early on of some evil corporation who is both funding the space prison (and apparently using it to experiment on the prisoners) and donating generously to the President’s charities. The only time the experimentation thing gets brought up again is when Maggie and Guy run into some mutilated bodies, but they are immediately interrupted by Leader and a fight scene. Then this little corporate corruption thread evaporates.
The discovery of the mutilation room’s only purpose was to make Eyeball’s subsequent massacre of the remaining hostages not a big deal for our heroes, because the prison staff were apparently all complicit in it. Plot excuses.
Some of the CGI is absolutely fucking terrible. It doesn’t help that it comes really early in. The sequence where Guy outruns the cops on a futuristic motorcycle through futuristic streets was simply embarrassing. The stuff in space isn’t so bad, but holy fuck, that car chase will be engraved in my Wall of Shame forever. Move over G.I. Joe.
Oh, and the code to the locker where Mace stashed the briefcase is pretty absurd. Before he dies, he says to Maggie “I see you. I foresee you.” The code to the locker turns out to be “ICUI4CU.” I guess the writers just wanted to be, like, totes cryptic. Bizarre.
Put that CGI out of your head and enjoy the best action movie you’ll get without any A-list actor support behind it (sorry, Guy). It’s not shit. 4 out of 5 stars.