Blu-ray Review: Lockout

Lockout Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger | CAST: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: m/d/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray $35.99, DVD $30.99
BONUSES: two featurettes
SPECS: NR | 93 min. | Science fiction action thriller | 2.39:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Lockout is a solid base hit as far as a sci-fi action thriller film is concerned. It doesn’t play as well as any of the key entries in the Alien, Terminator and Predator series by a long shot, but it ain’t no UltraViolet or, hell, Battleship or In Time, either!

Lockout movie scene

Guy Pearce smokes out the bad guys to protect Maggie Grace in Lockout.

The boringly titled Lockout is actually a fast-moving, entertaining entry in the genre—unoriginal and not all that inspired, but still good popcorn fare that can be quickly digested and expelled to make room for the next tasty dish of celluloid junk food celluloid on the menu.

The film takes its narrative from Escape From New York: Guy Pearce (HBO’s Mildred Pierce) is Snow (the Snake Plissken role), a wrongfully imprisoned, wise-cracking convict who’s sprung by the suits to stage a one-man rescue mission of the President’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace, Faster).  Emilie is on a humanitarian mission at an orbiting space penitentiary, you see, which has resulted in her capture by a group of nutso inmates who have broken free of the statsis they’re kept in while incarcerated. It’s up to Snow to infiltrate the facility, track down Emilie, bust her out and return them both to Earth. If all goes smoothly and the zillion-to-one odds are conquered, Snow’s sentence will be terminated and he’ll be a free man. But only if the aforementioned suits are in the mood…

Produced by genre-friendly stylist Luc Besson (From Paris With Love) and written and directed by the tag team of Stephen St. Leger and James Mather, Lockout delivers on what it’s set-up promises. Fresh-from-the-gym Pearce doesn’t take himself or the story too seriously as he engages in gunplay, hand-to-hand combat and chases with the freed inmates, who are led by colorfully characterized villains portrayed by Joseph Gilgun (Harry Brown) and Vincent Regan (Clash of the Titans).

The visual effects are respectable and the action sequences are competently mounted, and in this unrated version of the film (it was released theatrically as a PG-13 title), they resound with an extra dose of flare, bombast and violence.

What the movie lacks in originality it also makes up for with its gorgeous high-def presentation on this Blu-ray, which offers an amalgam of grimy textures, rich-but-realistic colors and fiery visual effects. And the audio track delivers with bone-crunching clarity during the frequent futuristic shootouts and fight sequences.

The surprisingly small bonus package on the Blu-ray consists of two short featurettes, one of which focuses on the cast, filmmakers and green screen work, while the other takes a look at the film’s futuristic production design and props. They’re both informative, but not as simple or entertaining as the film itself.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.