Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Lockout

Lockout is the single most frustrating movie I've seen all year. It's not the worst mind you, that honor still goes to Tim and Eric. What it is, however, is mindless, generic, lifeless and cheap. It's one of those annoying movies that you can predict 4 scenes in advance and you could build a fucking drinking game around the cliches. In fact, why don't we do that?

The plot is based around some loose cannon ex-CIA guy (take a shot), who is about to be imprisoned (take a shot) for a crime he didn't commit (take a shot). He is offered a deal (take a shot) if he enters a maximum security prison in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE, which is in the throes of a prisoner escape, to rescue (take a shot) the President's daughter (take a shot). But it turns out the prison is going to crash into Earth, so he has a limited amount of time (take a shot) to get the President's daughter out, and fulfill his own agenda (take a shot) and find a friend of his in the prison (take a shot) who has vital information that could exonerate him (take a shot).

How's that liver doing? Okay, we'll leave the drinking game alone for a minute (though that's the setup, the movie itself has a tonnnnnn more) and talk about the technical details. Actually...why am I talking about the technical details? Seriously, why? Their all TECHNICALLY fine, but they're dull and lifeless. The opening action beat in particular looks like something out of a droid ad, and all the rest are completely cliché and predictable, aside from an interesting zero gravity fight that lasts about 15 seconds.

As for the script and characters, what do you want me to say? Some movies are interested in moving past their clichés and making their initially cliched characters into fully formed human beings (see: Attack the Block). This one signed a contract at the start of production to never do anything of the sort. The script is boringly predictable, both in story and in dialogue. Would you believe me if I said that the main characters issue dry one liners every ten seconds? How about if I told you that the guy and the girl started out not liking each other (take a shot) but after going through some tough times and calling each other on their flaws (take a shot) they get a mutual admiration (take a shot) which begins to become romantic (take a shot)? Didn't think so.

Of the actors, Guy Pierce is the only one I didn't hate. I can't hate him too much, as it's not really his fault that the character is a walking cliché and as the lead, he fulfills the only real requirements of being generally likeable enough, occasionally amusing and a believable badass. Other than that, no one is really putting any effort into being anything other than a cliché and a couple characters are phoning it in so hard that their performances might as well be carried out through a tin can connected by some string.

And then there are the aspects that are just weird. I promised myself I wouldn't bitch about the lack of realism when it comes to their portrayal of SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE but there are some things that just confuse me. Like the sequence where the girl (I'm sure she has a name but I don't give a shit) spends 2 minutes insulting the main character, and then the next scene they're friends. This is the most glaring example, but it's far from the only one, and it seems to me that a lot of movie probably ended up on the cutting room floor, probably because a producer decided it was looking terrible and wanted to shorten the movie to maximize the number of showings they could have in a day. It's a fairly common practice.

This movie is just what it looks like: A cheap, generic lifeless mess of a movie, the exact kind of movie that opens early year because they don't think it can compete in summer. I find it ironic that it claims it's 'based on an Original Idea by Luc Besson' (no, really and that might be my new favorite credit) because it doesn't have a single original idea in it's head. If you want to recreate the experience of it, watch Escape From New York, with Star Wars on your laptop while drinking heavily. As for seeing it in theaters: Don't. See you next time.

Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he'd like to apologize to you and to Joss Whedon: I'm seeing Cabin in the Woods tomorrow.

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