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Lock, stock and two looney Scots to handle

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To Lock Outpic1 (26869619) (26872077)

LOCK OUT

DIRECTOR: Stephen Saint Leger

CAST: Guy Pearce, Joseph Gilgun, Peter Stormare, Maggie Grace

CLASSIFICATION: 16 LV

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

RATING: ***

This is one fun sci-fi action thriller. Snow (Pearce), a disgraced Secret Service agent, has been charged with murdering a government operative and stealing state secrets.

Set in the futuristic year of 2079, the prison is not kept on earth but in outer space. Yep, here murderers and fraudsters are banished to a faraway land where they are injected and induced into a frozen state. Snow is about to get this sentence too, but all hell has broken loose in the “galactic world” as the president’s daughter has been on an assignment in the area and is taken hostage.

These are the world’s most dangerous criminals, plus they have been in stasis for any number of years, so they are a lot nuttier once they’ve thawed out. Joseph Gilgun as Rydell, one of two Scottish prisoners trying to run the uprising, is a particularly deranged and demented.

So, here’s Snow’s one chance to prove himself: a plea bargain offered by Secret Service head Langrel to ship off into space, sneak aboard the super-max facility and rescue the damsel in distress Emilie (Grace) from many riot-happy convicts. Pearce, it seems, is the John McClane of the space age.

He’s a sarcastic fellow with a pack of wisecracks ready to unload on anyone he comes into contact with.

It’s this suave tough-guy posturing, along with the violence, that keeps your attention. Joseph Gilgun as the looney Scot, however, nearly steals the show from Pearce.

Lockout’s over-the-top action feels a lot like the non-stop adrenaline rush of a PlayStation game.

The futuristic sci-fi elements are convincingly done and add some flair to a number of the action sequences.

The script has a few surprises as well, and manages to inject some unpredictability into a story that could so easily have gone the paint-by-numbers route.

Despite these good points, some tightening up of the action would have been welcome. Lockout tries too hard to be entertaining on too many fronts, and loses focus along the way.

It gets off to an arresting start. The film’s first scene, which sees Snow spitting out quips and blood as he endures a beating, quickly establishes Pearce as the wise-cracking and rather endearing protagonist of this hardboiled, zero-gravity adventure.

Once he and Grace finally team up, she proves to be a surprisingly suitable foil – easily disgusted by Snow’s demeanour, of course, but not so tough as to totally disguise her vulnerability.

Together, they go about avoiding chief villains Alex (a cool-headed Vincent Regan) and Hydell (Joseph Gilgun, spastic to a fault), resuscitating one another with needles through the eye (don’t ask), and trying to find Snow’s brain-fried partner-in-crime among countless tattooed ruffians.

Lockout does a fine job of coming up with obstacle after obstacle for our two leads to dodge – not the least of which happens to be good, old-fashioned logic. Don’t expect too much, other than a good time.

If you liked…. Taken … then you’ll like this.


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