Lockout | Film review
Guy Pearce goes all “yippee ki yay motherfucker” on some space convicts.
Who is this quip-firing Hercules and what has he done with Guy Pearce? The haunted, wiry star of L.A. Confidential and Memento blows his trademark broodiness out the nearest air lock in this deep-space Die Hard. Bulked up and armed to the teeth with action-hero punch lines, Pearce plays Snow, a wiseass CIA foot soldier circa 2079 charged with rescuing the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from the mutinous convicts of an orbiting space prison. What, you may ask, is the President’s daughter doing on an orbiting space prison? Such questions are hardly conducive to getting on the brutish-slapstick wavelength of this glorified B movie, which sets its tone early with an image of Pearce’s smirking mug being punched out of frame to reveal the opening credits.
Coscripted by French adrenaline junkie Luc Besson, Lockout belongs to an especially cannibalistic breed of mid-budget genre trash. Like one of the misfit hybrid-dolls from Toy Story, the film seems to have been constructed entirely out of spare parts. (The rows upon rows of cryosleep chambers evoke Avatar, while Joseph Gilgun’s Scottish psychopath raves and twitches as if he’s waiting for a connecting flight on Con Air.) The action, bloodless and fleeting, is no great shakes; this is what you get when you cram an R-rated premise into a PG-13 shell. It’s Pearce, with his unflappably flippant asides, who saves the day. Coming from him, the worst one-liners (“I left my cape at home”) land like Sorkinian zingers. Should Bruce Willis ever get too old for this shit, we’ve got a backup John McClane waiting in the wings.