SPACE -- That's how far this lockout has taken us. These are the reaches to which we've been driven. The cold, lifeless, seemingly endless expanse of boredom and desolation that is Netflix instant viewing. Luc Besson (Creator of The Fifth Element) brings us Lockout, a film starring Guy Pierce (Memento) as Snow, an ex-CIA operative who could charitably be called wise-cracking. This is mostly evidenced by the way he talks about fucking his interrogator's mom while getting punched in the face. Actual dialogue:
INTERROGATOR: "What was his name?"
SNOW: "His name was 'Fuck You.'"
INTERROGATOR: "Really." (with sarcasm)
SNOW: "Yeah, he was Asian."
*Punch to the face.
WASHINGTON, D.C., 2079 (184 years before the events of The Fifth Element) -- The first scene is basically Snow getting beaten up and flashing back to a bathroom fight scene straight out of the new Casino Royale movie, the opening fight scene of which was a flashback as well, if I remember correctly. In said flashback, he gets a call on his cellular phone; he's been double-crossed, says some guy named "Mace." There's a chase scene. So far I think this whole thing is just the 2006 Casino Royale. He delivers a sensitive briefcase to Mace, but is captured in doing so.
Back to the future: The president's hot, blonde daughter is, naturally, inspecting the highest-security prison in the world. Except it's not in the world. IT'S IN SPACE. This is SuperMax-MS1, where all the inmates are rapists, murderers, Scottish, and frozen in stasis. The president's daughter is investigating the treatment of the incarcerated; there have been reports that going into stasis may have nasty side effects like damage to the cerebral cortex, increased aggression, and going completely fucking insane (psychosis). There are rumors that this facility is experimenting on prisoners to find a viable stasis for travel into deep space. One of the crazy prisoners is awoken so that the president's daughter can interview him and we're treated to the first engaging acting of the film, from some guy that's not quite Robert Carlyle. For all I know it could just be Gary Oldman playing Robert Carlyle playing a madman a la The Beach. Well of course Not Quite Robert Carlyle steals someone's gun and releases every last one of the 497 inmates of the penal colony, including the Poor Man's Gerard Butler, who is his brother and appears to be cold-blooded and craftier than most. Turns out not everybody goes batshit insane when they're frozen; the staff just happened to pick the most batshit insane person possible for the first-daughter to interview. Good choice, Guys.
Snow is offered his freedom in return for infiltrating MS1 and rescuing the president's daughter. He plays it cool, chats it up with the ladies, doesn't seem interested, but then someone tells him Mace is imprisoned there, so he gets in a space suit, jumps onto the space prison, and climbs on-board. Once he's in, he's got to get to her before she suffocates, because some dumb-ass shoots a control panel to lock himself and the president's daughter in what I thought was an escape pod, but that guy shoots himself in the head to preserve oxygen for her, so at least that was cool. She's unconscious by the time Snow gets there and he has to revive her by stabbing her through the eyeball with a needle into her brain. The needle is "self-guiding," so I guess that explains why she doesn't suffer any damage to her eye or anything. I can't decide if this clears the bar set by The Rock, in which Nicholas Cage has to stab a needle into his own heart, or not. Then Snow has an anti-gravity battle in which he and some dude are suspended in a shaft above an anti-gravity...thing. Or maybe it's a gravity-generating thing, I don't know how gravity works in space buildings.
Snow and the president's daughter butt heads, letting you know they're totally gonna do it in the end, and it turns out she can handle a gun ("I thought you were a democrat!" he quips!). They get what info they need from Mace, but it's not until they watch the penal colony collide with and demolish the International Space Station that we're told that MS1 is falling out of orbit and, of course, is going to land directly on the Eastern Sea Board of the United States. Also, Mace dies.
So Snow effectively completes his mission, putting the daughter (I really don't remember her name) on the only escape pod, which only has room for one for some reason, and sends her off. But she's an empowered, modern woman of the future. She's too headstrong to be so easily handled, so she re-appears, saying she couldn't go because that would doom the other hostages. She really pulls a power play on this Snow guy--let's him know she's not just along for the ride.
So of course she immediately capitulates to the bad guys and gives away their position to save the hostages and, once their location is known, Not Quite Robert Carlyle shoots and kills every last hostage. Good one, Lady. Real smooth. But then in the next scene we find out that the staff totally was experimenting on inmates, so their deaths aren't regrettable, after all! Hooray!
At this point, the US government is sending an entire armada of space ships to destroy the space prison and one flies through the center of it a la Return of the Jedi and drops a time bomb on it that has a visible count-down clock and everything, you know, just in case you are on the outside of the space ship and need to know how much of the thirty seconds on the bomb has elapsed so you can hurry up your prayers. Not Quite Robert Carlyle stabs the Poor Man's Gerard Butler and the space prison explodes. Boom.
So anyway our two protagonists parachute from space to Earth and everything works out cool and she gets the briefcase for him and exonerates him and I don't see why she had to do that anyway because her dad's the fucking president and can pardon whomever the hell he wants and I'm pretty sure it's revealed that Snow had the secret information on his person the whole time, anyway, but there's one final twist that I shall not reveal and in the end it's clear the two main characters are going to have sex and all is well!
I give this movie three stars out of five (3/5), once adjusted for Netflix Instant Viewing expectations. It's probably only a 2/5 on a true scale. There's some amount of charm that Guy Pierce misses when he tries to do the Bruce Willis-style sarcasm. He comes off as more bitterly unhelpful than playfully bemused. The film goes to some lengths to paint Snow as a 'bad boy' ("You're a relic, Snow! Nobody smokes cigarettes anymore!"), but it never quite works. The other actors hold their own and the over-the-top premise follows the expected action formula closely with enough special effects that it's still a pretty enjoyable movie if you're trying to waste your Sunday in bed. Which I was. Also I never figured out why it was called "Lockout," except that there was no hockey. The End.