Lockout Review: Guy Pearce’s Retro Space Prison

On General Release Friday 20th April

When dealing with a space station prison that’s been commanded by dangerous psychopathic inmates, the obvious solution is surely to send in just one lone man to resolve the situation. Not just any man, of course, but a man armed with nothing but devastating quips, an insanely chiselled jaw and plenty of attitude.

This, astonishingly, is the plot to Lockout, the screenplay to which could easily have sat untouched in a drawer for the past 15 years. It’s a movie that reeks of an age that made stars out of Vanilla Ice and Zig and Zag. Even the supposedly futuristic technology seems unashamedly 90s. The future, we’re lead to believe, has cool retro-style computers with black screens and large green lettering, and flickering warning lights.

The ripped hunk chosen for the dangerous one man mission goes by just one name: Snow (Guy Pearce) a character whose natural gift for kicking ass is only bettered by his ability to come up with hammy one-liners. He’s got more gags than the entire Two and a Half Men writing staff, and he’s not afraid to tell them at completely inappropriate times. Equipped with these wisecracks, Snow is ordered to save the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from the aforementioned orbiting prison ship and return her back to earth safely.

What, you might wonder, is the president’s daughter doing on a space prison? She wanted to make sure that the prisoners weren’t being mistreated, but now, ironically, the inmates are the one’s doing the mistreating, as they take it upon themselves to shoot anybody who was once in charge.

The rebels are lead by a whispery Scottish man (Vincent Regan) who looks like Guy Garvey from Elbow. His brother (Joseph Gilgun), who’s also a prisoner, acts as his sidekick. He’s skinny and has weird wonky eyes and bad teeth, so he’s immediately established as “the creepy one”. To be fair, he is terrifying, but he’s also an idiot that occasionally crosses the surpassingly fine line between sinister and bad sitcom character.

As Lockout progresses, it becomes increasingly more farfetched, and you soon find yourself laughing, not at Snow’s increasingly embarrassing one-liners, but at the movie itself. At times, it’s plain ridiculous. But that’s also when it’s most entertaining. The problem is that it’s just not a particularly good film. It’s the kind of movie that you’d expect to find in a St Peter’s Hospice for a pound—although you’d be right to buy it. Watching it with friends and plenty drink would give you a good laugh. It’s just not worth seeing in cinemas.

The film does, however, have one other thing going for it: it’s French, which means that the next time somebody asks you, “Seen any good foreign films lately?” You can reply, “No, but I did see Lockout. It’s French!”

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