Just sit back and think how hard Hollywood people work. Day after day of endless sunshine, espadrille sandals, and fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. How easy do you think it is to make a movie with that never-ending stream of beach balls being whacked around your office? Well, I live here, and let me assure you: it's a miracle anything gets done. That's why we should turn a blind eye to lazy, dispiriting movies like Lockout. We should be totally fine with forking over cash to see a movie that doesn't have enough ambition to attempt to appear different in any way from anything, ever. It's the cinematic equivalent of Paris Hilton.
I love Guy Pearce, and he proves that he has the stuff to take some action roles away from Jason Statham (in fact, would you please?). He plays a wily, witty badass named Snow, who never misses an opportunity to use a (mostly lame, sometimes creepy) one-liner before he fires a few rounds into the sky as punctuation. Instead of cheering him on, I just got sad that he wasn't the Snow of 1992 who sang "Informer." Now that's a movie. Anyway, this Snow has been wrongly accused of espionage, although you know from the start that something is fishy because Peter Stormare (the bad guy from 8MM) is questioning him about it. Meanwhile, the president's daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) is on a goodwill mission to a space prison where they turn inmates into popsicles as punishment. But of course they are being mistreated, and of course one gets loose while she's trying to play Mother Theresa, and he defrosts all the other criminals, and of course THERE'S ONLY ONE MAN WHO CAN SAVE HER.
Since they start with all these archetypal characters that you already know, there was room to make this film completely insane, or at least interesting, but apparently nobody felt the need to put that much effort into it. Poor Maggie Grace gets cast once again as the bland damsel in distress who mostly just serves as a passive object for men to drag around--in Taken she was wearing bedazzled underpants, and here she has motor oil and coffee in her hair to suppress her blondness. Her brief flicker of bravery in the third act is intriguing but barely noticeable, as it comes so late in this exhausting film. And a huge thumbs down goes to producer Luc Besson, who should have known that he could have made B-movie greatness if he had called this movie Scots in Space, after the two inmates that take over. But even they, in all their barely understandable glory, can't manage to say anything memorable or do anything bonkers.
One of the best parts of space movies are the visuals. Man's fascination with that which we have only seen from light years away is reflected in the beautiful isolation of Moon, or the dazzling lights of Sunshine. Lockout manages to screw that up too, since it looks recycled from Jason X and has the quality of that parasurfing scene from Die Another Day. Basically, if you've played Dead Space you've had more fun than this.
I would never walk into a movie about a freezer filled with bad guys expecting an Oscar winner. But this isn't even worthy of a midnight screening with a flask and your friends. And just like Paris' sex tape, when it ends, people mutter, "That's it?" Yep. It is.