Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lockout Review

The Europeans have learned how to make movies the modern American way. If you watch the European (French, Serbian, Irish) produced science fiction movie Lockout, you'll know what I mean. It's full of fast cutting and jump cuts. Action scenes in the movie lack continuity as the action leaps from one scene for a few seconds to another. I'm guessing they have as many ADHD teenager moviegoers in Europe as we have.

I could write the plot summary to Lockout in one sentence. Oh, why not.
It's Die Hard and Escape From New York in outer space. It's also based on an idea by filmmaker Luc Besson. (The 5th Element) Well, he at least helped write the script with Stephen St. Leger and James Mather. Leger and Mather also directed. Coming in at 95 minutes, it took two guys to direct this movie?

Anyway, I'll do my job and write the plot summary. And don't laugh. I did not write this movie. It's the future, circa 2079. CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is on a secret mission to recover a brief case. Something goes wrong and he's framed for murdering another agent. By the way, anytime a character is trying to recover a briefcase, think MacGuffin, a plot device which is not defined since it doesn't matter. (See Kiss Me Deadly, Pulp Fiction) And yes in this movie the briefcase is a MacGuffin.

So does the briefcase have anything to do with this Die Hard in outer space? No. It just gets Snow a ticket to a space prison. But luck would work in Snow's favor or should I say the writers of this movie worked in his favor. After being tortured by NSA or Secret Service's Langral (Peter Stormare) , I can't remember which agency, Snow is informed that the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) is trapped on the space prison. You're wondering how did she get there? She's on some type of goody two-shoes investigating the health of the prisoners. Oy. OF course, a riot happens and the prisoners take over. Snow is given the opportunity for freedom if he can rescue the daughter. Oops, I forgot. Snow's informed by a CIA or NSA agent Shaw (Lennie James), I forget which agency, that Snow's associate who knows where the brief case can be found, is also on said space prison.

So with a plot like that, how can this movie not be fun? Well, like I said, directors Leger and Mather use fast cuts, jump cuts and hand-held camera shots. There are so many that you might get motion sickness. For example, there's a scene where Snow is trying to elude government bad guys. He's running in one scene. then one jump cut later, he's on a motorcycle. Come on, I'm not ADHD. Then there is the plot. The president's daughter is visiting a space prison to check up on their health. Really? It's a little dangerous, don't you think? How about some ludicrous action? Two characters jump out of the space prison and drop to earth. They don't get burned up. Oh, and there's a gravity machine when it's on, levitates objects. A lot of the science is drained from this science fiction movie.

I can say that the film is well produced by EuropaCorp. Spcial effects are outstanding. But one begs the directors to hold the camera still.

The film's saving grace and it's not Maggie is Guy Pearce. Um, sorry for that. Pearce knows he's in a goofy movie. And either he was allowed to ad lib and make jokes or the writers actually wrote something worthwhile in the script. Some of Pearce's wisecracks are very funny. And Lennie James is totally believable as a senior CIA official. But what the heck are two Scottish prisoners (Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun) doing in this movie? Did they get lost from Braveheart? And what rocket scientist cast Peter Stormare who played the crazy Russian in Armageddon as an American NSA chief? He can barely conceal his Swedish accent.

Lockout is not a bad movie. It's not good either. It's too goofy to be anything else but a time waster. The grade is C Plus.

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