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A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.
For more about Lockout and the Lockout Blu-ray release, see Lockout Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 10, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James
Directors: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
» See full cast & crew
Lockout Blu-ray Review
Escape from High Orbit.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 10, 2012
It seems as if there's been a shortage of good, big-budget, big-studio Sci-Fi Action films of late. It's nice to see the genre return to the big screen and in a big way in Lockout, Luc Besson's (The Fifth Element) brainchild story of a wrongly-accused convict sent to an orbiting space station to rescue the President's daughter from inmates who have taken control of the installation. In essence, this is nothing more than Escape from New York without the clunky graphics, dated feel, and John Carpenter's synth score. It's absolutely unoriginal filmmaking, but it's loads of fun and done just right, a dumb Action movie that arranges all the right pieces into exactly the right places, something of a good old throwback movie that might have even starred Arnold were it made in his heyday. Lockout also lacks smarts or anything resembling a deep plot, but they don't get a whole lot better than this when it comes to mindless poporrn-munching cinema with lots of explosions, gunfire, space ships, and even a little bit of intrigue, suspense, and humor to carry the movie when the guns cease and the action slows.
Snow (Guy Pearce, The Hurt Locker) has been sentenced to prison for a crime he claims he didn't commit. In the year 2079, prison isn't just concrete walls, bars, and three square per day. It's an orbital station where inmates are kept in stasis. It seems highly efficient, but not everyone is sold on the merits, including Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace, "Lost"), DOTPOTUS (Daughter of the President of the United States). She's heading to the overhead colony, known as M.S.-1, to oversee operations and check on the condition of the installation's 497 prisoners, some of whom may fall victim to various mental instabilities as a result of their unique incarceration. When one prisoner, Hydell (Joseph Gilgun, Harry Brown), is awakened and questioned by the well-meaning Emilie, he nabs a weapon from the girl's secret service agent, kills him, and sets free all of his fellow prisoners, including Alex (Vincent Regan, Troy), a cunning, ruthless enemy who won't relinquish control of the station so easily. With the President's daughter in the line of fire, a military rescue mission is ruled out. The solution: send in a single man to save the girl. Snow is promised a pardon to do the deed, but can he withstand hundreds-to-one odds and make it out alive, and with Emilie safe and sound right behind him?
Lockout may be described in its advertisements as "Die Hard meets Blade Runner," but it really is just a remake of Escape from New York; replace the President with the President's daughter and replace New York with an orbital penal colony and it truly is the same story. After all, Lockout doesn't have the smarts of Blade Runner or the charisma of Die Hard, but it knows its place and doesn't even try for the former, though it does make a run for the latter. Lockout is an infinitely likable little movie, not a great movie, but a highly entertaining, brain-off, slickly-crafted Sci-Fi Action flick that does a good job with every element, flubs none, and seems very content with what it is, which is nothing approaching Oscar contention but rather a quickly-paced run and gun adventure. On the surface, audiences know exactly what to expect: a stale plot, slick filmmaking, cool sets and special effects, some stylized action, charismatic characters, and a minor plot twist or two. Yet the surprise is how well it all comes together, how well it works as pure entertainment, how much fun it really is when watched in the proper context.
The directing tandem of James Mather & Stephen St. Leger make Lockout feel fresh, not at all like a re-imagining of a fan favorite. It finds its own identity with a collection of good characters who don't form much of a shape other than "flat" but who do manage good chemistry -- Pearce and Grace in particular -- and demonstrate an understanding that Lockout need only be fun, not great, to work. Pearce carries the film nicely as the tough guy, a man wronged, with a smart mouth and a penchant for getting into and out of trouble. In other words, he's a stock action hero, but sometimes that's all a movie needs. Likewise, the bad guys look and act menacing; there's little depth and precious little personal history, but again, does a movie that knows, acknowledges, and enjoys its place need more? Lockout additionally enjoys sound special effects -- there's a nifty outer space battle near the end -- and fine set dressing. The picture blends believable future-thinking technologies and everyday objects with a worn-down, grimy, inhospitable look, foregoing some idealistic vision of the future for a more plausible one, which works well even as the movie maneuvers through a largely implausible video game-style scenario.
Lockout Blu-ray, Video Quality
Lockout looks absolutely spectacular on Blu-ray. Though a fairly dark picture with minimal color and a whole lot of grungy, grimy, worn-down set pieces, Sony's 1080p transfer features nary a flaw and never a moment when even veteran and the most demanding Blu-ray audiences won't be dazzled by what's on the screen. The digital photography yields details that are incredibly close to those enjoyed by 35mm film. Facial close-ups reveal an awe-inspiring level of rich textures, some of the most naturally sharp, intricate, accurate yet seen, digital or film. Every facial nuance is clearly resolved and displayed to perfection. Likewise, clothing textures, filthy corners of the prison, and well-worn surfaces appear with startling resolution. The image is consistently crisp and naturally sharp, with only a few brief soft shots evident during high-speed special effects segments, such as a motorcycle chase early in the film. As noted, colors are few, but the palette is natural and balanced within the confines of the film's intended appearance. The prisoners' orange jumpsuits represent the biggest single splash of color in the film, and while they contrast nicely with the gray, blue, and dark green surroundings, they never appear over-saturated or anything but impeccably realistic. Flesh tones take on a slightly bronze tint, and black levels are spectacularly accurate and balanced. A trace amount of banding is present in a handful of shots, but not enough to knock an otherwise perfect transfer from Sony.
Lockout Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Lockout's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack matches the picture quality pixel-for-pixel. This is a complete track that's as nuanced as it is energetic. The track presents listeners with a fantastically natural sense of spacing even in the beginning interrogation sequence, as just a slight rumble and an otherwise authentic sense of quiet and emptiness is punctuated by hard hits and Snow's verbal quips. Indeed, the entire track offers a wide open feel; the track's naturally massive soundstage handles futuristic locales aboard the prison vessel and the sounds associated with them with pinpoint accuracy, from the slightest beeps to the heaviest elements. Gunfire pops around the stage with startling efficiency, clarity, and danger. The final battle raging outside the station offers zipping spacecraft, heavy weapons fire, and explosions that demonstrate the track's flawless handling of the low end that all play with amazing precision, placing the listening audience directly in the middle of the chaos. Dialogue is perfectly focused up the middle, playing with the expected clarity, never lost or garbled around other effects or music, the latter of which is consistently clean, spacious, and true across the entire range. This is a wonderfully seamless, all-inclusive, completely-immersive presentation. It's everything a modern Action lossless soundtrack should be on Blu-ray.
Lockout Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Lockout contains two film-related supplements, a collection of trailers, and a UV digital copy.
Lockout Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Don't count on seeing Lockout on any best-of-year awards lists or in Oscar contention for any category -- there's more of a chance the good folks over at the Razzie Awards will find a spot for it -- but mark it down as one of the year's most simple and effective entertainment vehicles. Everything about Lockout just works, from the acting to the characters, from the sets to the special effects, from the story to the pace. Plus, it's a real treat to see the Action Sci-Fi genre back up front-and-center. Never mind comparisons to Die Hard or Blade Runner or even Escape from New York; Lockout works fine as a standalone movie, a Coke-and-popcorn good time that, hopefully, ushers in a new wave of like-minded Action/Sci-Fi pictures. Sony's Blu-ray release of Lockout sparkles. Though the disc is disappointingly short on extras, the technical presentations are expectedly superb. Highly recommended.
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Lockout Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: July 17-24 - July 15, 2012
This week sees the Blu-ray release of Lockout. The latest film from producer/writer Luc Besson's B-movie action stable Lockout attempts to present a nearly full-scale replica of John Carpenter's 1981 cult favorite Escape from New York; swap out "futuristic Manhattan" ...
• Lockout Blu-ray - June 4, 2012
Next month, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Lockout to Blu-ray. Written and produced by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), this action-thriller details the brutal repercussions of a riot on an outer space prison. Lockout is expected to street on July ...
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