John Carpenter’s Escape from New York set a template for action movies for years. It had impossibly high stakes, unexpected environments and with its main character Snake Plissken, an anti-hero bigger than the movie itself. Though the sequel Escape from LA went a little too far down crazy road, the original still has a popularity that endures. There are even plans for a remake.
So you can imagine that the movie has inspired a lot of filmmakers to pursue similar paths and Lockout is one of those that is cut from a very familiar cloth.
The plot can easily fit into a sentence so here goes: the presidents daughter is trapped in a maximum security prison during a prison riot and only one man can get her out. Sounds familiar?
Of course, this prison also happens to be a space station but that’s simply window dressing.
The one man who can do the job is ex-CIA agent Snow, played by Guy Pearce. He plays the wisecracking anti-hero by the book and is genuinely astonishing to see in action (pun intended). He looks and acts like an action hero of old and packs a tonne of charisma to boot. And that’s the kicker: though the movie sounds middling, it is Pearce’s performance that really elevates it to a potential cult classic.
It reminds me of a similar movie in the past called Fortress. But where that world seemed larger and more interesting than the main character (played by Christopher Lambert), the world of Lockout is Snow’s to conquer in style and to be seen doing so. The guy kicks arse like the best in the business.
This is certainly no epic movie but it is the kind that you can happily sit through with popcorn and have a pile of fun cheering on the hero to the end. Snow deserves more than the one movie, that’s all I can say.