Luc Besson presents the explosive, sci-fi action thriller Lockout, breaking in on Blu-ray and DVD with UltraViolet July 17th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Guy Pearce (Prometheus, Memento) stars in this tale of an ex-government agent (Pearce) assigned to rescue the President’s daughter from a deadly riot on a newly developed prison in low space orbit around the earth. Co-starring Maggie Grace (Taken, TV’s “Lost”) and co-written by legendary action filmmaker Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Professional), Lockout is guaranteed to thrill action and sci-fi fans across the planet with its exciting mix of hard-hitting fight sequences, smart humor and dazzling special effects.
As the film begins, the main character Snow (Guy Pearce) is in the process of getting his butt kicked, while cracking jokes. He does immediately remind me of Die Hard’s John McClane. Snow has been framed and convicted of treason murder which has landed him a thirty year prison sentence to be served in stasis. It’s the year 2079 and orbiting the earth is the maximum security prison MS1 where all prisoners serve out their sentences in cryo-sleep.
The Presidents daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace) is touring the facility, concerned that prisoners are being used as guinea pigs to determine the effects of long term stasis. They unthaw a particularly nasty prisoner for her to question. There is a rule about no weapons on the prisoner side and her secret service agent doesn’t listen. His back up weapon he keeps in his ankle holster allows the prisoner to gain the upper hand. After shooting Emilie in the leg, the prisoner sets his fellow bad guys free and a full scale prison riot and hostage situation occurs.
Someone needs to rescue Emilie – and Snow is the man for the job. Snow’s main objective is actually to get to his friend frozen on MS1 who knows the whereabouts of a very important briefcase. Sure he punches Emilie in the face during her rescue. It’s clear Snow is deep down a good guy, maybe way deep down, but in the end he’s going to do the right thing. Complicating Snow collecting his prize is the fact that Emilie doesn’t want to leave the other prisoners behind. As the riot continues and the body count increases, MS1 heads for a collision course with Earth once the team of engineers no longer operate the giant floating prison. Will the administration destroy the prison before it gets to Earth with a member of the first family on board? It depends who is calling the shots back on Earth, and when his daughter is in danger, it isn’t the President.
I have a fondness for big budget sci-fi/action films, so I knew Lockout would be right up my alley. Since it is presented by Luc Besson, I was sure that I would like it since he directed The Fifth Element, which is one of my favorite crazy sci-fi films. According to the cover of this movie, it’s being promoted as being Die Hard meets Blade Runner. Lockout is definitely no Die Hard or Blade Runner, but I understand the comparisons. Snow is a rough guy with a good heart, a lot like John McClane. The future is pretty gritty, and I see the Blade Runner aspects too. Lockout is not an especially amazing film but it is entertaining. Guy Pearce plays a love-able “bad guy” and some of the real bad guys are pretty bad. This is one of those films that you don’t think too hard about, you just enjoy it. Maggie Grace plays the President’s idealistic daughter well. My complaint was the two prisoners running the show because the brothers have such thick accents that I missed a lot of what they said.
Lockout is presented on Blu ray in 1080p High Definition 2.40:1 ratio. The film is extremely dark with very muted colors, but offers a nice picture overall. The set is full of old used parts and is meant to be dingy and dark. Close ups show exceptional detail and the crisp picture is one that allows you to turn off your living room lights and feel immersed.
Lockout’s DTS HD Master Audio is as good as the video presentation. The sounds of the floating prison are tremendous. Although I had problems understanding every word of the bad guy’s accents, the dialogue was clear and consistent. This film has all the gun fire and explosions you need to test out your surround sound. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and audio is available in multiple languages as well.
For a big budget action film, I expected more special features. The ones they have are done well, but they simply need more.
- Breaking Into Lockout – A behind the scenes featurette with cast and crew interviews with green screens and storyboards. The discussion of how the two co-directors/co-writers work together was particularly interesting.
- A Vision of the Future – A look at the futuristic aspects of the film – space stations, vehicles, and production design with practical and virtual sets.
Right from the beginning, the viewer is treated to a crazy one wheeled motorcycle chase scene. I’ve never seen a chase look more CGI-like, especially when one yellow cab flips. If you get past that, and accept it and everything that follows, you’ll find an enjoyable action flick. It’s action, it’s sci-fi and its just the right amount of plot to support the action. It is certainly very tame for an unrated edition, without the usual nudity or bad language that usually can be found on unrated releases.
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