Wednesday, April 18, 2012


What I love about Luc Besson is that he's a filmmaker who apparently never forgot about the kind of movies he wanted to make when he was fifteen. His filmography is full of action heroes that reluctantly have to save the day in some over-the-top scenario. He's the man behind Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, and The Transporter. With his latest movie, Lockout, he came up with a premise so simple and good, it's hard to believe that it hadn't been made before.

A loose cannon government agent has to rescue the president's daughter from space prison.

I almost didn't care if it was good or bad. The day I read that premise and found out Luc Besson was producing it, I was ready to buy my ticket. Fortunately, Lockout turned out to be every bit as fun as the premise would suggest. I know. We could have had a Snakes on a Plane scenario, where a great premise turned out pretty weak when actually put to film, but lucky for us, Luc Besson knows how to take a crazy premise and make it work.

Let me just get this out of the way. Lockout isn't a great movie in the way that, say, Iron Man was. Then again, at no point does this movie ever ask you to take it seriously on any level, and if you're the kind of person that kind of misses those action movies where the hero quips a constant stream of one-liners, you're going to love this movie.

For one thing, it has Guy Pearce in the lead. His character, Snow, is sort of a John McClane kind of hero. That comes as no surprise since Lockout is essentially Die Hard in space. (Again, how would you not want to see that?) Snow is supposed to be sent as a prisoner to a maximum security prison in space called MS-One after he is wrongly convicted of a murder. After a prisoner breakout occurs on MS-One while the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) is on board, Snow is recruited to break into the prison and rescue the President's daughter before the prisoners figure out who she is. The fact that Snow is there so reluctantly lends itself to some of the movie's best moments, like when Snow hands the President's daughter a shotgun and a map and tells her to escape on her own so he can find the one guy on MS-One who can clear his name.

Lockout is one of those movies that's meant for you to just sit back and enjoy, and try not to think about too much. Sure, it's got more than it's share of plot holes, but this is movie so much about being brain candy that you're not going to care about them. It's fun for fun's sake. My only objection to this movie is that they made it a PG-13 instead of an R, which is at heart what this movie wants to be. At least the swearing and violence wasn't conspicuously absent in the way it was from the PG-13 rated Live Free or Die Hard. It's just as well, I suppose. If a movie is meant to cater to your inner 15 year-old, it only makes sense that an actual 15 year-old should be allowed to watch it without any hassle.

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