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Lockout (Blu-ray Review)

26 Jul, 2012 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Box Office $14.33 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace.

Elaborate set-ups and visual effects aside, there is little to disguise the fact that Lockout is essentially Escape From New York in space.

Like the John Carpenter classic, this Luc Besson-produced update involves an isolated maximum security prison, a person associated with the White House trapped there and a roguish agent sent in to rescue them.

In the case of Lockout, it’s 2079 and the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) is touring an orbital prison that is supposedly safer because it puts its inhabitants into stasis, which is controversial due to the potential brain damage it causes. A snafu with a secret service agent leads to a prisoner getting his gun in predictable fashion, and soon enough all the inmates are running wild and demanding their freedom in exchange for hostages.

Enter ex-CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce), the Snake Plissken stand-in offered a chance at redemption if he saves the first daughter (which echoes the plot of Escape From L.A.; in New York it was the president himself who was trapped) and retrieves some top-secret documents.

Pearce is an effective badass as Snow, and shows some good rapport with Grace, but the film doesn’t feature him enough, diverting into too-long interludes with the prisoners themselves, who consist of the usual assortment of stereotypically annoying psychopaths.

As could be expected of an ambitious sci-fi film with a low budget ($20 million), the CG effects often look like something out of a video game, with chase sequences that zip by too quickly to register any sense of realism. The scenes in space, however, are much better.

While the Blu-ray contains an unrated version of the film, as opposed to the theatrical ‘PG-13’ cut, this amounts to a little more gratuitous violence and not much else. The Blu-ray is rather light on extras, with just a pair of featurettes — one about the making of the film, the other about the visual effects.

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