Movie Review: “Lockout”- 80s Action Reborn!

Written by Jesse Gelinas July 05, 2012

"I mean, look at you. Nobody smokes anymore, Snow!"

“Warning: Offensive”

I am a child of the ’90’s, but I never felt comfortable with the sad action of Steven Seagal and van Damme. I preferred Arnold and Stallone. “First Blood” and “Commando” touched my heart in ways that “Street Fighter” and “Under Siege” just never could. I yearn for the escape of ’80’s action. That ideal world where a shirtless muscle-bound man can oil himself up, tell his damsel to stay put, and go kill himself an island of nameless terrorists/ninjas/Russians/cyborgs. It was a time when men were men and women were… okay, it was a semi-harsh period for women. They were just sort of there, and the man was never fully interested because he was too involved in his mission or his vengeance or his—I’m getting a bit off track. “Lockout” is the answer to my prayers!

“I’m being beaten up by a guy called Rupert?”

Based on a story by Luc Besson (“Leon”, “The Fifth Element”), “Lockout” stars the oh-so-talented Guy Pearce playing against type this time as a hardened ex-CIA operative named Snow. Like all great action heroes before him, Snow laughs in the face of both danger and authority. He only uses his gun when outnumbered at least four to one since he can easily bludgeon smaller teams of baddies, and he chain smokes like a madman in between one-liners (and there is not much room, trust me). Arnold would be proud.

Now, when I say it is ‘based on a story by Luc Besson’, please take that with a grain of salt. Stop me if this sounds familiar: Snake—I mean Snow is an ex-government agent turned criminal. Recently caught and sentenced to life on an isolated, floating space prison, he is given a chance at a reprieve when said prison is taken over by its inmates and he is chosen as the one man rescue team to bring back the President’s daughter from her humanitarian mission onboard… *cough* It is the exact same plot as both “Escape From New York” and “Escape From LA”… cough.

"Here's an apple and a gun. Don't talk to strangers. Shoot them."

“You can’t just walk past 500 whack-jobs dressed like a chick.”

Rounding out the cast, we have the always classy Peter Stormare as the head of the Secret Service, Maggie Grace as the First Daughter, and Vincent Regan (of “Troy”, “300”, and “Clash of the Titans” fame) as the de facto leader of the inmates. The acting is solid all around, not that it would need to be, but it is. Pearce is impeccable and believable in the role that he obviously went back to his bodybuilding regiment to prepare for. He is probably one of the few actors around who can make one-liners covered in so much cheese sound so good on sheer talent.

The film itself is a non-stop, full throttle, adrenaline fuelled, pulse pumping, heart stopping, blood raising, thrill ride. I should’ve fit more descriptors in there. The point is action! This is the kind of action the ’80’s gave us. The plot is a tad thin, and the writing overall suffers at the expense of a few singular gems of one-liner glory. The effects are decent, the villains are over the top, and the body count is huge. It has everything you’d expect and more, and it’s sure as hell entertaining from start to finish. That’s what it is. Pure, unadulterated entertainment. Reagan would be proud!

My Rating: 7.5/10


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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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