A former government agent Snow is unjustly sentenced to 30 years for crimes against the U.S. However, when the President's daughter Emily visits the Maximum Security (MS) One space prison things go awry and Snow is offered a pardon if he can rescue her against all the odds. This gives him an opportunity to conclude some unfinished business if he can survive the the inmates released from their cryogenic chambers.
Lockout is not meant to be taken seriously and has unjustly met with criticism. In the spirit old school action films directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger deliver a fast paced, slick, sci-fi set in 2079 which lets loose an astonishingly pumped up Guy Pearce against 500 convicts. Although the twist is very predictable for anyone paying attention, there's enough futuristic shenanigans, action setups, excitement and shocks to entertain.
Pearce goes against his usual dry intelligent typecasting as a wisecracking, chain-smoking, hard man which he pulls off with ease. For our viewing pleasure he's clearly having a good time with Snow's tounge and cheek dialogue and throwing himself into the action. Maggie Grace is more than adequate as Emilie Warnock and is physically put though mill and like Pearce has a strong albeit uncomplicated arc. The casting of Vincent Regan as Alex the leader of the prison revolt gives the usual stereo type bad guy some weight and intellect. While psycho Hydell played by Joseph Gilgun is intensely menacing as well as amusing.
The early stylistic bike chase sequence aside the effects including the MS One and space sequences are successfully realised. There is a notable cringe-worthy eye piercing scene and plenty of crunching fistfights as well a energetic interesting story. It's edgy and hard hitting at times, the fight scenes and shootouts are spectacular and Alexandre Azaria score complements the on screen action. Luc Besson, Stephen St. Leger and James Mather's writing harks back to the days of old when action heroes were just that. Even though derivate of the many sci-fi thrillers it borrows from it's a finely executed and complied package. With visual and story elements reminiscent of Escape from New York (1981) and Outland (1981) the script delivers an abundance of one liners that even Schwarzenegger would be proud of.
Lockout is a straightforward, entertaining, sci-fi actioner that proves Guy Pearce can turn his hand to just about anything.