I went in to Lockout with only a few expectations, and those were basically: (1) lots of explosions, maybe a few decent gunfights, (2) some light sci-fi effects, and (3) that the acting would be horrific beyond my imagining, even from those folks in the cast that I knew to be talented actors. In that, Lockout was a smash hit. The opening scenes basically exceed the FDA’s suggested consumption of explosions and gunfights, thanks in large part to a more than decent chase scene that demonstrates an even larger disregard for the American people than we see even from the current administration (cough cough Vote Out Everyone in 2012 cough). The space effects are nice… and more or less seem to stick with modern science’s understanding of moving through orbital space, and I have to say that I really dig those police fighters. It’s pretty bad ass when a vehicle of some sort can LOOK predatory. And, the acting really was horrific, even from Guy Pearce, who I have liked in a good many movies at this point in his career.
But, Lockout managed to attract my attention beyond those three factors. For instance, I suspect the film’s single largest issue was the dialogue. Snow (Pearce) is supposed to be a wise-cracking, super-tough, CIA field agent, but he comes off as kind of a snarkier version of Sterling Archer. Cool, and don’t get me wrong, I love Archer, but two hours of that was a little tired. There were things going on above and beyond the rescue of the president’s daughter that I thought were mildly distracting from the central story, although that second story line DOES set up the “first daughter” story line fairly nicely. They could have left it then, and this might be a film that would benefit from a shorter run time. There were also the number of similarities (vague, but still similarities) between the story here and Taken. That bothered me quite a bit. But, my single largest problem with what I saw was the sheer tonnage of coincidence heaped upon coincidence that made all this possible. There are at least five occasions where we watch Snow beat the odds without breaking a sweat… and I started rolling my eyes after the second one.
However, if you’re going to Lockout for some easy action, a bit of mind candy, this was okay. I’m hoping that this won’t be indicative for the entire upcoming blockbuster season. And while I say hoping, I have big concerns that it will be, because I’ve noticed that action films releasing in April have a tendency to speak volumes for the action films that predominate the summer new release landscape. Truly, The Avengers will set the tone… but I’m still going to chew my nails a bit about the quality (and by “quality” I mean “fun” of the summer blockbusters until mid-May now.
I wouldn’t rush to see this. But, if you have time, and you have some specific reason to go out, have at it. For the rest of you, this can totally wait until DVD.