Saturday, 5 May 2012

Review: Lockout

Rating: 15
Duration: 95 mins

Guy Pearce is memorable for some of his film roles, whether it be the amnesia-suffering Lenny in Memento or the unpopular by-the-book Exley in L.A. Confidential, and it's fair to say he doesn't always opt for the conventionally straight forward. However, here he takes on the character of devil-may-care, misogynistic slacker Snow, in space romp Lockout.

What's clear from the beginning is the visual aesthetic of the film: it's clunky, small-fry and very cheap looking, but can arguably be its intention in order to replicate those low-budget sci-fi action flicks of the 90s. Similar to Battleship, it is perhaps important as to how one interprets: either take it at face value as a genuine, serious attempt, or perceive as homage to trashy 90s TV movies.

Pearce exudes a witty, unconcerned and, at times, charming performance that feels at home within the context of the film but is ultimately a very throwaway mixture of character and plot. The dialogue is ridiculously cheesy, and surely intentionally so, because it generates some laughs due to its absurdity.

Whilst Lockout offers action, fun and frivolity, the tackiness and sheer daft nature makes it hard to really appreciate and engage with, making for a very forgettable film, that includes some other talent such as Joseph Gilgun (This Is England). Maggie Grace (Taken) slots into the world well, but it's unsure whether her acting is intentionally bad and whether in fact she is 'in on it' or not.

The locations looks rather small and confined (even though they are admittedly on a locked down space craft), but not in a good way. It fails to pull off the satirical angle it strives for, especially with some horribly created CGI such as as scene where Snow partakes in a high-speed motorbike chase because it looks truly ghastly.

VERDICT: A lot of people will see this as a poorly made film that reflects its low-end budget - around $30m, which, for a modern sci-fi with a big name as the lead, isn't a lot - and sadly, whatever its intention, just comes off as a sloppily formed and terribly cheesy adventure that holds no weight in the scheme of things (pun possibly intended).