2 stars

In Luc Besson’s latest film Lockout, governments look to outer space as the next logical step for the penitentiary system, leading to unimaginable consequences.

The year: 2076 — the not-so-distant future. Countries have the technology and the means to operate and thrive among the stars. Above the unsuspecting Earth, the United States has created the first outer space maximum security prison, appropriately named MS One, where inmates are keptcryogenically frozen for the duration of their sentences. Problems arise when the prisoners are somehow awakened and set free; chaos and pandemonium ensues from there. Also on MS One, however, is the President’s daughter, who originally embarked on a goodwill mission to the prison and is now held hostage by some of the most ruthless criminals in the world. In exchange for his freedom after being charged with a crime he did not commit, an ex-CIA operative named Snow is enlisted by the powers that be to save the President’s daughter before it is too late.

Ever concerned with providing a pleasurable sensory experience, the mastermind behind such films as TakenNikita and The Professional is at it again with Lockout. The film reminds you of old Jean-Claude van Damme films in which the arc of the story is based solely on the decisions of the lone wolf main character who is always ready with a witty one-liner. In this case, the lone wolf is Snow, played by Guy Pearce. In addition to Pearce, Besson includes other actors that have been featured in his previous cinematic works, such as Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James and Peter Stormare.

Superficially, Lockout fits the category of the stereotypical action film. The high visual style acts as the centerpiece, relegating cohesion and general flow to the sidelines. So it is no coincidence that the transitions in the film are almost nonexistent, the plot has no depth whatsoever and every scene has akitschy quality to it. Even though the plot seems disjointed at times, this deceptively simple film also attempts to shed light on controversial, topical issues. While delivering its smooth intense action and combat sequences that are nuanced with uncomplicated dialogue, the underlying premise of Lockoutever-so-slightly questions the corporate funding of public institutions, the over-crowding of the prison system and prisoner’s rights.

All in all, Lockout will leave you ambivalent to the time that was just spent watching this film, but it also provides an element of escapism that is often missed in this day and age. There is no pondering of the meaning of life; though if you want to more deeply consider the film, there are ways for you to do so. Lockout is the perfect choice for those looking to spend quality time with their respective friends, boyfriends or action-film enthusiasts.

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