Sneaking in a quick film before the end of the weekend, we took our chances with something unknown:


“Here’s an apple. And a gun. Don’t talk to strangers – shoot them.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: improperly (or was he?) convicted secret agent person must single-handedly save the President’s daughter from a prison. Which floats in space.

See if it you like: the idea of Die Hard meets Escape From New York meets Fortress

Based on an idea from Luc Besson, Lockout starts with a bang (actually, lots of them) and just doesn’t let up. It’s fast-paced, funny, utterly daft and thoroughly entertaining as a result. There are threads from many genres mixed up in the plot and the characters and dialogue are as over-the-top as you could hope for.

Guy Pearce plays our lead, be-muscled secret agent Snow caught for (allegedly) turning traitor and killing another agent, then disposing of the secrets he was supposedly stealing. As luck would have it, prisoners break out on board the floating space-prison to which he’s just been sentenced and he’s given a chance to earn his freedom in exchange for rescuing the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) who conveniently happens to be up there.

This is a relatively low-budget film and comes out opposite the titanic Battleship (see what I did there?) against which it’s surely going to look like a tugboat. However, despite being a much “smaller” film in all respects, it holds its own in the entertainment stakes and most definitely deserves your time. The plot is more focussed than in the larger film with everything following our two main protagonists, and the sharp dialogue – mainly from Snow – is wonderfully dry. James Bond wishes he had this line in humour.

There’s nothing to complain about regarding the quality of the special effects either, although a couple of the speedier sequences are hard to follow as they pan and flip from angle to angle far too fast for these old eyes to follow.

Every action film needs a decent antagonist, and Lockout has two particularly nasty ones in the forms of mastermind Alex (Vincent Regan) and utter nutjob Hydell (Joseph Gilgun). They play off each other and offer two sides of the overblown lunatic that one central bad guy would have entailed.

While there aren’t any real surprises in the storyline, there’s nothing to stop the viewer going along for the ride and thoroughly enjoying the antics of anti-hero Snow. He’s a great character and I’d not mind seeing him in some kind of follow-up.

Incidentally, random link between this and Battleship? Grace played Neeson’s daughter in the awesome Taken (co-written by Besson), a sequel to which is due out later this year. Both actors are due to reprise their roles.

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