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April 14, 2012 | 10:48 a.m. CST
Take everything once thought to be known about action movies and, rather than throwing it out the door or flipping it on its head, combine it into a tight 95-minute package. The result, a formulaic escape flick with more clichés and broken laws of physics than a Rolling Stones concert, is Lockout.
The year is 2079, and society is every bit the dreary dystopia one might imagine it to be. Snow (Guy Pearce) is a wisecracking ex-government agent accused of murder whose face endures a lot of two things: punches and cigarettes. Meanwhile in the outer reaches of space, a maximum-security prison the size of the Death Star is overrun by its prisoners, who then proceed to hold the entire crew and president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) hostage. Because of some twisted logic more suitable for winning a game of Draw Something than commanding a country, the people in higher management say screw the Marines and send in one man, Snow, to rescue her.
There’s also a separate storyline involving Pearce’s falsely convicted character and some deal with a briefcase proving his innocence, but it’s so convoluted and absurd that it would take a full page and some badly drawn cartoons to explain it. Although, Pearce can’t help it; in fact, he’s the one redeeming quality of this film. His irreverent dialogue stands firm in a script that could’ve been written better by the high-school blogger down the street. It’s surprising then that the great Luc Besson (Taken, The Fifth Element) developed the idea and much of the screenplay, which goes to show that batting averages also apply in Hollywood.
In all fairness, Lockout provides plenty of noise cover to shovel in popcorn and shows what milk would look like in a Capri Sun pouch. And it’s a fun blood pressure-raiser decent enough for a guy’s night out. But it would be wise to wait until the evening this one premieres on FX.