This review by the mighty Danny Dickblood. For those of you with a sensitive nature please take note that there may be swearing ahead. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Awwww…LOCKOUT. You know the story—prison in space, inmates break out and take hostages. One of them happens to be the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace). The authorities send in a lone hard-ass to get her out (Guy Pearce). One-liners will be dropped, blood shall be spilt, audience members head home ready to hate-fuck something. Simple stuff. Except in this tamed down cut, there’s precious little blood on display, and the dialogue is surprisingly juvenile and fuck-bomb free (but don’t worry, ‘His name was FUCK YOU, he was Asian”, is still there, though it lands soft).
So where does that leave us, total fucking wasted opportunity or cheesy action gem?
Well, it’s somewhere in the middle. Lets just say this is probably THE GREATEST DTV SCI-FI/ACTION FILM OF THE 2012 FIRST QUARTER. The thing is, it doesn’t really feel like a theatrical film, it was made to enjoy on your fucking couch, wedged between a jack-off sesh and a better film. It’s like cinematic comfort food. It goes down smooth, but it’s not gonna get you any harder than 35%. And that’s saying something, cause I’m usually at 15% cruising to the fucking grocery store. I know this may sound confusing, and I admit, it’s a hard one (difficult…not erect) to gauge. I went into it expecting a much tougher film, but what I got was a breezy, dare I say….‘feel good’ light action…thing. There’s an innocence and charm not seen in much other Besson produced shit, and with his name all over it, you picture a much dumber over-the-top piece. Not to suggest it’s smart. It’s not. It’s just….simple. Even though it’s technically an action film, the gunplay is scarce. Some shots are fired, and there’s a few hand-to-hand exchanges, but the film seems to mostly exist to provide Guy a stage on which to flaunt his arms (they ARE nice) and show that he’s capable of having a personality. And that’s fine. He’s great in the role and you end up enjoying hearing him run his mouth more than watching him fight.
About 15 minutes in, I was startin’ to sweat a little. We open with an interrogation, there’s flashbacks to some convoluted secret meeting bullshit, a mysterious silver case, and a motorcycle chase comprised of a single shot (that goes on way too fucking long), featuring some of the worst CG I’ve seen in a major motion picture in over a decade. No seriously, this shit looks like that fucking 1997 N64 game EXTREME-G. Oh well, none of it matters. We came to see some iron-cock rescue a polished snatch in distress in a fucking space prison. Everything that comes before is poppycock. Even Guy himself appears bored with the role of SNOW until he gets fingered for the mission. Why he’s “THE ONLY MAN FOR THE JOB” is never really made clear. He just so happens to be getting worked over by the secret service when the call comes in; and one of the interrogators tips him off that coincidentally there’s a guy in the prison that could be the key to proving his innocence. What innocence? Uhhhh…Snow is being accused of murdering some random guy we don’t care about. Yeah….I know, right? Who gives a fuck? And when did Besson start pretending he had a brain capable of multi-layer plot-lines? Just open the fucker with the inmates breaking out, cut to Guy in custody for some prior shit we don’t need to know about, then get his ass to space. End of story. But I don’t know, maybe the filmmakers thought it would feel TOO cheap to limit the scope of the film that much, so they attempted to broaden the world. And that’s fine, in theory. The trouble is the opening city stuff is some of the worst looking shit in the movie and Snow never really does anything cool enough to warrant the big chase set-piece he’s given. I wanted to see him go balls deep and drop a roomful of bitch-mades with ease. I wanted him to feel dangerous. I wanted something to really get me pumped up for the moment when this mean motherfucker goes toe to toe with prison crazies and disengages head from cock. But alas, we get none of that. He’s a fairly ordinary, wisecracking guy on the run that can handle himself if the play calls for it, simple as that.
So eventually Guy does get to space, where the sets are generic and confined (not in the claustrophobic sense, but in the ‘they could only afford to build a hallway and a couple fucking rooms’ sense) and the villains are….well, they just aren’t very villainous. The main bad guy is some kinda pussy Ray Stevenson wannabe, and his #2 is a grimey little crackpot that reminded me of that one time Chris Pine was interesting (Smokin’ Aces). Of course the creepo has a hard-on for Maggie Grace and spends most of the film trying to enter her vagina. I was hoping he’d drop the great Kim Coates line: “Half an hour….half an hour…” from Waterworld; but it’s a cold world, and dreams rarely materialize. Anyway, that’d probably be way too creepy for this sorta film. You see, it’s just not very mean. The humor is kidish, the violence is soft, and the villains are generic tattooed made-for-TV inmate types. They don’t really wanna inflict pain, they just wanna get the fuck outta there. Ray Stevenson has zero backstory. There’s no prep from the Washington guys explaining “This guy is an animal, he once raped and disemboweled 200 Russian servicemen on a Caspian Flotilla”. No, nothing like that. He’s there to wave his gun around at a few nameless hostages and to keep his #2 in line, cause as I said, #2 spends most of his screen-time trying to slither into Maggie’s colon, but even that doesn’t last very long. Guy finds her with relative ease surprisingly early on, and they spend the rest of the film wandering around the generic hallways trying to find their way out, occasionally being chased, and slowly developing a rapport. You can see where this is going, chain-smoking wise ass meets humanitarian sweetheart that can hold her own….LOVE CONNECTION! Well, sort of….but not really. The film is virtually devoid of sexual chemistry. I respect that actually. After a bit of initial comedic friction on account of Guy’s smart-ass nature, they start to like each other, but I never got the indication Snow wanted to find an empty room and use her tongue as a butt-plug (which is what most of the demographic for this film would be doing). He’s too focused on the mission at hand. He’s not ready to pick out drapes with a ho until he clears his name. But there’s a connection there, and even though he’s old enough to be her fucking father, they look good together. Maggie surprised me. I fucking hated her in Taken (does that bearded pig Besson have his greasy fingers in everything?). I was actually upset that Liam found his daughter. I figured she’d never get out of that ‘soulless cunt’ rut. But she’s very good in this and she brings some much needed weight to the film. If she didn’t work as well with Guy as she does, the whole thing would be FUCKING USELESS, WOULDN’T IT?
See, here is the key, mind you: the core strength of LOCKOUT isn’t stubbled-swollen-cock caving in skulls, it’s—two people from opposite worlds in a precarious situation learning to like each other, peppered with a few brief action scenes and a pretty thrilling space-bomber climax that harkens back to Luke’s exhaust port bombing of the Death Star. That sequence had the audience cheering, which was surprising. Most of these sort of things start strong and lose momentum by the end. This is the opposite. The second half is far superior to the first, and the “silver case mystery” that was sloppily introduced in the opening pays off by the end. I suppose that’s another confusing aspect, Ray Stevenson doesn’t really feel like the central villain of the film, he’s just the central villain of the prison, but none of that shit matters. There are no grand deaths, the bad guys fall as abruptly as they arrive and we never hate them enough to cheer for a gruesome demise anyway. So it’s an odd concept, rescuing the bitch in space is really just a device for Guy and Maggie to form an unlikely alliance. The way it’s told, you almost come out wishing the prison rescue was minimized and the bulk of the film spent on Guy trying to prove his innocence with the president’s daughter at his side. That would’ve probably made for a more interesting picture.
Now I know what you’re thinking, what the fuck DICKBLOOD?! I thought you said you liked it, asshole, then you proceed to explain that it’s the biggest piece of shit ever made? No no…I DID like it. I’m telling you, it’s fucking fun, but for different reasons than you’d assume. I was smiling the whole way through, giggling at the cheese, enjoying Guy’s 3rd grade humor, and applauding the thrills. It’s breezy. I came out feeling good, I even told a couple of drunk dykes they should check it out. But I’m trying to keep it real here. This is lower-level Besson. Think WASABI set in space, except with half the budget and an even fluffier disposition. It’s better than TRANSPORTER 2, but not a pimple on the dick of FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. And though it entertained the hell out of me, it certainly doesn’t deliver on the logline: “Guy Pearce cracks skulls in a space prison”, it’s more like, “Guy Pearce spits one-liners as often as Kim Kardashian spits cum after the Source Awards, blows up a few assholes (off-camera), cold-cocks the president’s daughter, then earns her loyalty with sweetness,” and that’s not necessarily a bad thing…not at all.
[DGDB Note: Aside from the opening, another aspect that totally fucking sucked is the jump-cutty softening of violence to warrant the lower rating. Recent films like Robin Hood and Terminator Salvation did just fine with the PG-13ification, here they seemed to go overboard with the clean-up. Fuck that, and fuck Peter Stormare. He’s looks hungover and bored as shit through most of the film. This is easily his most lifeless performance to date (full disclosure: I have yet to see his portrayal of Christof Haussman in Le Polygraphe).]
PostScript: They should’ve stuck with the title MS ONE: MAXIMUM SECURITY, it fits the film better. LOCKOUT sounds like some WWE bullshit.
DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD is a man living amongst boys in Los Angeles.
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