Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I had thought, foolishly I might add, that we as a society had done ‘Die Hard’ in every conceivable location that we could do ‘Die Hard’.  I’ve seen ‘Die Hard’ on cruise ships, submarines, busses, basements, airplanes, and after we saw Dolph Lundgren’s ‘Command Performance’ which was ‘Die Hard’ at a rock concert, we imagined the door was closed.  But what about ‘Die Hard’ on a Space Station?  I remember the episode of STNG when Picard had to do Die Hard on Space Ship… one badass, lot’s of bad people, one enclosed location… but it wasn’t a Space Station.  French Super Producer Luc Besson has fixed this egregious oversight and given us ‘Lockout’, a film that is about as rudimentary as basic entertainment gets.

Our lone badass today is Mr. Snow (Guy Pearce).  We don’t know who or what Mr. Snow is, but we know he’s on the side of right, and he can take a punch.  On this day Mr. Snow is being ‘interrogated’ by what I believe is the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Mr. Langral (Peter Stromare), as Snow has stolen some secret documents in some kind of case or something.  The truth of the matter is the case and documents are so very unimportant in this movie, but we need to get Snow to this space station somehow.  Snow is in the process of being railroaded for killing a good friend and is about to be put on ice for the next thirty or so years.

Eventually Snow is going to be sent to this maximum security prison in earth’s orbit, one which puts prisoners in suspended animation.  Just like in ‘Demolition Man’.  But there are rumors that there are some human rights shenanigans going on in this prison, so Emilie Wornock (Maggie Grace), the daughter of the President of the United States, is there to investigate.  Clearly Liberals are in office in the year 2079.  Emilie wants to interview a prisoner to make sure he’s okay mentally, since the word is the frost process makes you go nuts.  So here’s what we we’re gonna do to prove this isn’t true… let’s defrost the craziest, most insane, most unstable whackjob in the entire facility so The First Daughter can talk to him.  Makes sense.  This person is Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), he’s crazy, and even though he’s shackled, thanks to some horrible decisions made by easily worst Secret Service Agent Ever (Jackie Ido), a series of unfortunate events are set in motion, 500 prisoners are free, all of the staffers are hostages and the First Daughter is in danger. 

What to do?  While this Langral character hates Snow, Snow does have a friend in the administration in Mr. Shaw (Lennie James) and he knows that Snow can get on that station and make it rain hell.  While cracking jokes.   The bad news is that hardcore, less crazy, just as violent, but way smarter criminal Mr. Alex (Vincent Regan) is free as well, and he is running things and he has a plan. 

Now it’s set in motion.  Or hero is a sardonic smartass, our heroine is a spunky maiden of mischief, and our villains are violent and out of control.  It’s all standard stuff.  Seriously.  It’s standard stuff to a fault.  But it at least it’s competent.

While watching ‘Lockout’, directed by the duo of James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, I got the odd sensation that I was watching less a movie, but more of something along the lines of some people in a boardroom, thinking of other movies while coming up with stuff in their movie that might make it look cool.  Like did this movie really need to be set in the future?  Not really, but people do like Sci-Fi space stuff, and ‘Die Hard’ in a regular old prison has been done already, right?  The movie opens with a knock down, drag out fight sequence because people like that too you know.  Then there’s the futuristic, heavily CGI laden motorbike chase, inserted not so much because it made sense in the grand scheme of anything that’s going to happen in this movie, but because it should look cool, and it does look kinda cool.  Then there’s the dilemma the filmmakers had to get Snow on the Space Prison in the first place.  I would’ve just sent him there since he’s a badass and all, but folks like conspiracy type stuff with metal cases filled with lots of Nothing Truly Relevant, right?  And can a couple folks jump out of a space station in spacesuits, burn upon reentry to earth, and then parachute safely on a local freeway?  No longer wearing their spacesuits?  In 2012 they can’t, but I bet they can in 2079.  Plus it looked cool.
But I’m not complaining, even though it might sound like it, because I’m easy to please.  Can Vincent Regan play a bad guy?  With the best of them.  Can Peter Stromare do the same while butchering the English language?  Been doing it for decades.  Can Maggie Grace get herself Taken?  Yes she can.  Lennie James is on board to keep everything calm and Guy Pearce is a good enough actor that he can pull off pretty much whatever you need him to do. 
Yes, ‘Lockout’ is a blatant retread of other movies.  Better movies.  But it’s not all that bad in its own right.  If one is in the market to be basically entertained, ‘Lockout’ is tossing its hat in the ring to be your basic entertainment of choice.

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