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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Last weekend, I attended C2E2, a big comic book convention in Chicago. When I was roaming the show floor, I came across a table for the movie Lockout. Needless to say, I was excited as Zack had previously got me interested in this movie and this table was completely unexpected. Due to my enthusiasm, the young ladies operating the table gave me a Lockout poster and t-shirt.
I wore this shirt while I watched the movie earlier tonight, and I giddy with glee when I saw it was the same shirt the protagonist, Snow (Guy Pierce) wears. This glee pretty much sums up my reaction to Lockout. Don’t get me wrong. This is by no means a good film, but it is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is largely manic and crazy from start to finish.
The premise, of course, is that a space prison gets overrun with its prisoners who are holding the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace, who eerily looks like a slightly older Emma Watson) hostage, and only Snow can save her. The plot is simple and is basically Die Hard in space (quite honestly, if found it to be a better Die Hard film that the last Die Hard film). The clichés of this genre abound, but they work largely due to Pierce’s tongue-in-cheek performance. Also, much to my delight, several clichés are completely subverted. This tells me immediately that the filmmakers knew what they were doing and were doing so intentionally.
As Zack noted in his review, Pierce clearly knows what kind of movie this is and is simply having fun. Because of that, he is fun to watch. However, I disagree with Zack on his take on Grace. Honestly, I felt she had some great chemistry with Pierce and felt that her “seriousness” was able to balance the film from getting too silly for its own good.
While the previous point can be a case of “your mileage may vary”, what I am particularly adamant about is how well Grace’s character was written. In many films like this, three things typically happen to the female leads: 1) they are complete non-characters for the hero to save and bed; 2) they are completely weak willed and obnoxious; 3) they can completely handle themselves in combat situations and easily take down men three times their size even though there is no indication they have had some previous training and a male hero still needs to save them.
Lockout doesn’t do any of that. Instead, Grace’s character is strong-willed, intelligent, and is able to stand up to the bad guys, but also needs the help her situation demands. In short, the character is realistic and believable. This is great to see and helps me buy into her character. I am always of the mindset that if you have somewhat believable grounded characters, the audience can buy into any crazy scenario.
As I mentioned earlier, the movie isn’t perfect. The subplot involving the mysterious suitcase never comes together in any satisfying way. And, as Zack also noted, the violence in the movie has some sharp cutaways. Personally, I found this odd considering how intense some of the hand-to-hand fighting was (particularly in the opening), that they would avoid showing someone getting shot (especially if there was a lack of blood). James Bond films do it all the time, but they stay within the PG-13 rating.
All that said, I really enjoyed Lockout. It is not a “good” movie, but it’s good for what it is worth. It is the perfect movie it you want to sit back, unplug your brain, and watch some mindless fun. I hope they make a Lockout 2, so I can have an excuse to wear my t-shirt again.