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With: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare, Jacky Ido, Tim Plester, Mark Tankersley, Anne-Solenne Hatte, Peter Hudson, Nick Hardin, Dan Savier, Damijan Oklopdzic
Written by: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger, Luc Besson
Directed by: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references
Running Time: 95
Date: 04/07/2012

Lockout (2012)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Prison Quest

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Luc Besson is very good at grinding out relatively cheap, high-concept "B" movies filled with action. There's no question that he has a flair for breezy stories and simple, appealing characters. A possible heir to Roger Corman; he has apparently worked on some 50 movies in the past decade, some of them quite delightful. But quantity does not always lead to quality. Co-written and produced by Besson, Lockout has its benefits, most notably a fun lead character and a fun performance to match by Guy Pearce (he could be the subject of sequels). 

Agent Snow (Pearce) is caught while trying to transport a mysterious briefcase, and is arrested for murder and espionage. He faces a long prison sentence, but is given a second chance when the president's daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), after a fact-finding mission, finds herself trapped on a space station filled with dangerous escaped prisoners. If Snow can rescue her, he can buy his freedom. Fortunately, the secret of the lost briefcase is also on the station, and Snow hopes to find it while he's there and clear his name. But Snow discovers that Emilie is not so easy to rescue; she refuses to leave without taking the rest of the hostages with her.

On the downside, Lockout has a great setting that has been underused by the rookie directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. Their camerawork is jerky and hurried, and they tend to ignore some of the aspects of outer space that could have been useful or interesting. Oddly, that makes Lockout the first disappointing movie that concentrated too much on character and not enough on action.
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