Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Nice to see a B-flick that doesn't take itself so seriously. Luc Besson's last script was Colombiana, another fun (if moodier—and ultimately more thoughtful) pulp serial. But Lockout doesn't have time to think about what it's done. No kissing, just ass-kicking, courtesy of a tightly T-ed Guy Pearce. Maggie Grace is Maggie Grace and will always be Maggie Grace, amen. But you don't want Meryl Streep for the space-jail movie. You want that spoiled chick from the first season of Lost. They make a decent enough pair, Pearce and Grace. He sells the action and the comedy and the stakes and she sells the irritating righteousness. Pretend it’s the ‘80s and it goes down smoother.
The narrative—a secret agent is falsely imprisoned in a space-jail where he must rescue the president's daughter and prove his innocence during a takeover by the inmates—is appropriately ridiculous, not least because it fails high school physics at every turn. James Mather & Stephen St. Leger direct the film in a fashionably chaotic style; they might have even gotten away with an obviously, cartoonishly, video-game-ishly CGI action sequence in the beginning just out of sheer adrenaline, the whole thing whizzing by in stolen impressions of a futuristic urban highway. [I say "might have" because I was constantly veering between immersive glee and ejected eye-rolling.] Most of the action is your basic unclear shootouts and explosions, Con Air Force One In Space, but there is a low Earth orbit sky-diving scene shot and soundtracked so vividly that JJ Abrams walked out of the theater and hasn't been heard from since.
It's designed for purely primal entertainment, and it's occasionally up to the task, especially when it's going for that '30s space serial feel. Of course, the sci-fi extrapolation has no serious exploration, the plot's all a little tidy for a muscular little flick like this, and the end has three too many twists. There's even a handy broom to sweep away whatever moral gray the film ostensibly descends into, so we can all feel good about the extraordinarily high body count. What's more, the threat of rape, in the few scenes it's palpable, is troublesome, way too heavy for this particular gun show. But I'm curious to see where Mather & St. Leger go next. Hollywood could use more space pulp.
Posted by Brandon Nowalk at 5:26 AM