Bad script, flat direction, terrible (bordering on appalling) pacing, bad effects and sheer stupidity throughout, Lockout may have been competing for the worst film I’ve seen at the cinema (it certainly is the worst thing I’ve seen at the cinema this year, but there’s still time for worse) were it not for one small sliver chink of light – Guy Pearce.
The performance needs to be separated from the rest of the film in terms of the gulf in quality, although I’m still not sure if it’s intentional. The easiest way to describe it is that it feels like a brilliant impression of a bad Hugh Jackman performance – indeed I kept thinking “He was so much better in X” and then remembering that that was Hugh Jackman, not Guy Pearce and then trying to figure what the hell was going on.
And to be fair, I wasn’t really expecting much going in. Lockout is firmly pitched in the B-Movie camp, the problem is that it doesn’t realise this and pitches higher. It’s difficult to remake “Escape from New York” (itself firmly a B-Movie) in space and turn it into high art, but the problem here is that it isn’t quite schlocky enough. One suspects that with a slightly harder edge – or even accepting a higher certificate in order to up the bone-crunching quotient – it may have emerged as a better film, however the (slight) involvement of Luc Besson suggests that this may be different from what was originally pitched. Most B-Movies (well, the better ones at least) also manage to inject a little social commentary into the proceedings, but here there is none of that.
The direction is stilted with no invention at all, most of the time it feels like cut scenes from a video game, a fact not helped by the appalling CGI work which is entirely derivative of other (better) films. The pacing is beyond awful, helping to create no sense of tension what-so-ever and the film so stupid (it even fails at basic maths) that you find yourself wanting to shout abuse at the screen – as a case in point, I suspect that it would be far more than difficult to sky dive in space than it is depicted here. Even the final twist makes little sense, although by that stage you’ve given up caring what will happen.
Avoid like plague.