Thursday, 14 March 2013



Remember Escape From New York?  Where New York’s been turned into a prison and the convicts are holding the President hostage?  And the only man who can save him is antihero Kurt Russell (doing the world’s best Clint Eastwood impersonation)?  That was a cool movie, right?  How cool would it be if they remade it IN SPACE?  Turns out, pretty cool.

The year is 2079 and the USA has gone from being the world’s policeman to the world’s jailer, building maximum security prison MS-1 IN SPACE and filling it full of the world’s worst prisoners, cryogenically frozen for the length of their sentence.  Escape is impossible and as the prisoners are ice lollies, there’s no violence, no abuse.  Unfortunately, the convicts happen to wake up in a bad mood, riot and seize the prison on the very day the President’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) is visiting on a humanitarian mission.  AND ONLY ONE MAN CAN SAVE HER, wisecracking antihero Snow (Guy Pearce), an ex-CIA agent who’s been framed for a crime he didn’t commit.  The prison also happens to hold the only man who can prove Snow’s innocence.  Can Snow infiltrate the prison, save the girl and clear his name before the authorities blow MS-1 out of the sky?  What do you think?

Brought to you by the same people who gave us The Transporter films and transformed Liam Neeson into an aged action hero in Taken, Luc Besson’s Europa, Lockout is defiantly daft, unpretentious entertainment, a throwback to the muscular action flicks of the ‘80s.  The effects may be a bit cheesy and the action scenes a little formulaic but the film is something that’s in short supply these days; it’s unashamed fun.  It’s not trying to be hip or ironic, it’s just trying to entertain you.

Pearce makes a pleasingly louche, laidback, wisecracking antihero, spitting out one-liners even as he takes a beating and he’s ably supported by creepy Peter Stormare and sympathetic Lennie James as the government agents who give Snow his mission.  Grace thankfully isn’t too annoying in the thankless damsel in distress role and Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun, despite deploying the worst Scottish accents since Michael Caine played a Jacobite in 1971’s Kidnapped, are fun as the convict ringleaders, with Gilgun particularly good as the rape-happy psycho.

It’s not going to change cinema but Lockout is far better than it has a right to be.  It’s a funny, fast-moving thrill ride and should hopefully be the final nail in the coffin of the official Escape From New York remake/reboot which none of us want and MUST NEVER HAPPEN!

David Watson

Directed by:
Written by:
Produced by:
1 hour 50 minutes
UK Cinema Release Date:
Friday 20th April 2012

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