Star Rating:


Directors: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger

Actors: Peter Stormare, Maggie Grace

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Running time: 95 minutes

The Rock in space? Action fans form an orderly queue. A wham-bam action sci-fi with no pretentions, Lockout has everything except Jason Statham in the lead role. Don't fret, though - Guy Pearce has the time of his life here.

It's the future and the world's worst criminals are housed in ice (don't say Demolition Man) in an impenetrable prison (don't say Fortress) orbiting the earth (don't say… well, that has to have been done already, right?). While investigating the rumours that suspended animation induces dementia in the prisoners, the president's daughter (Grace) finds herself in the middle of a full scale riot led by the calm and collected Vincent Regan and the nuttier-than-squirrel poo Joseph Gilgun (an unrecognisable This Is England's Woody). Who can save the day but the wise-cracking, ex-CIA, knows-how-to-take-a-punch, action hero Guy Pearce?

Impressed by their short film Prey Alone, Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Leon) gave Irish writer-directors Mather and Leger a shot at the big time with their feature debut and it looks like Besson could be happy with the result. A B-movie with a budget (some of the special effects are dodgy), Lockout is fun actioner that squeezes as many action scenes as it can, slowing down only so Pearce and Grace can flirt a bit before cranking things back up again. They lob in as many influences as they can (apart from Demolition Man and Fortress, there are hints of Escape From New York, Die Hard and anything you're having yourself) and even turn to the reliable bad guy mad coot: Gilgun is fun as he lays on as much psycho hard case as he does a thick Scottish accent. There's even an LOPD - that's Low Orbit Police Department to you.

Fun, yes, but it seems the writer-directors obviously had no shout when it came to the editing room - Lockout is rushed and cut asunder. In its quest to get through the story as quickly as possible, plot developments and turns are left on the cutting room floor leading to 'slight' confusion at times ('major' confusion would indicate that plot is important - it ain't). What could have done with a little trimming is the climax; Lockout has about three endings that would almost rival Return of the King.

But with the hammy Pearce spitting some corny one-liners and Stormare in Armageddon mode, Lockout could be a future guilty pleasure.