The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Lockout | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Lockout

Directed by: James Mather & Stephen St. Ledger
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James

Convict Pearce is given a chance to go free after agreeing to rescue the President's daughter from an outer space prison where the inmates have taken control.
A plot ripped from the world of John Carpenter, crackling Hawksian dialogue, and a hot chick with spiky black hair, yes folks, this is my kind of movie.
Following a wildly inventive yet simple credits sequence, the movie launches into five minutes of the worst CGI imaginable. I really thought I wouldn't stick this one out so head-achingly annoying was the mix of cheap video-game effects and shaky camera work. Thankfully the effects budget seems to have been blown on this sequence, forcing the film-makers to concentrate on the characters, and the movies a lot better for it. 
Two of my fellow Irish compatriots wrote, directed and shot this but they had to go to France to do so as the Irish Film Board would never want to be associated with something that isn't "culturally relevant". It's easy to see why the French would love this though, it's a movie that's steeped in cinema history, a throwback to both Howard Hawks and eighties sci-fi like "Escape From New York" and "Outland". It may be the cleverest dumb movie we'll see all year.
The plot is unabashedly stolen from the aforementioned Carpenter film and Pearce is surprisingly charismatic in the Kurt Russell role. The movie really comes alive when he pairs up with the stunning Grace, forming a B-movie Bogart and Bacall partnership. The dialogue is fantastic and thankfully the performers are up to the task of delivering it. If someone like Jason Statham had been cast it would have fallen flat. 
There were quite a lot of walkouts at the screening I attended, possibly due to the movie being mis-sold as an action romp. It's really not, at least not in the way contemporary audiences are used to. This is an old-school Hollywood style romantic comedy with Sci-Fi trappings, think "His Girl Friday" meets "Con-Air". If you're expecting lavish action set-pieces you'll be sorely disappointed. Personally I'd much rather watch Pearce and Grace bounce witty insults off each other than a tedious series of slo-mo explosions. If your favorite scene in "Temple Of Doom" is the bedroom argument between Ford and Capshaw this is the movie for you.
Rather than taking the usual route of having a sophisticated worldly villain ala Alan Rickman in "Die Hard", this takes it's cue from the anarchy of "EFNY", the main villains are a pair of Glaswegian neds, totally out of their depth. The lunatics literally take over the asylum.
At a time when the multiplex is full of movies that are either insultingly dumb, "Battleship", or too obsessed with their postmodernist street-cred to be entertaining, "Cabin In The Woods", it's refreshing to see a movie that's clever while never employing any smugness, wildly enjoyable without being offensively crass. Mather and St. Ledger could frankly use a refresher course in directing but as writers they're an exciting new talent. Ireland's loss is France's gain.