Lockout appears on paper to be a solid attempt at being a sci-fi action thriller that is similar to Blade Runner, but fails in large part due to a below average script penned by Luc Beeson. Beeson is famous for writing popular films like The Fifth Element and Taken, which were both very good films, but this one can not hold a candle to them. The Fifth Element and Taken were so good because of their uniqueness or terrific action sequences, while Lockout had none of the above. Instead, it is a cliche ridden, formulaic sci-fi film that offers some fun but otherwise you will most likely want your money back. Beeson and company clearly didn't have a big budget to work on in the making of this film, thus the special effects leave us all wanting more. The opening chase sequence looked like something you would see out of a regular Playstation game. In their attempts to make Lockout into something like the other great sci-fi action thrillers, they managed to capitalize on some of the elements that made them successful while failing to realize how cheesy they can be nowadays. The only way it is similar to Beeson's earlier work is by having a likable main character in Snow (Guy Pearce).
The movie follows Snow (Guy Pearce) who is an ex-CIA agent following a botched mission that ended with the very people he worked for searching for him. He and a higher ranking officer met to exchange some highly sensitive information that implicated other agents as rats. Secret Service agent Langral (Peter Stormare) states that he saw Snow kill the higher ranking officer in cold blood and ordered for Snow to be sent to MS1, a high profile prison in space for the worst criminals. Before Snow is sent away he meets with Shaw (Lennie James), who asks where the sensitive information went as it was all placed inside of a briefcase which he handed off to his partner Mack before he was picked up by Langral. As all of this is going on the President's daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), is shown to be sent off into space to visit the MS1 on a humanitarian mission. She simply wants to investigate how the prisons are being treated. The prisoners are put into a stasis sleep which is said to have some nasty side effects on the human brain. Emilie first interviews one of the worst inmates, Hydell, who has been affected by the stasis sleep. Before the interview, all of her bodyguards are forced to surrender any and all weapons on their bodies but one doesn't give up a gun strapped to his leg. Hydell quickly notices it and frees the rest of the prisoners on MS1.
When the Secret Services catches wind of the President's daughter on MS1 with hundreds of free criminals, they turn to Snow and ask him to save her. Being the reluctant hero that he is, he declines at first but Shaw explains to him that Mack is in the prison, Snow then jumps at the chance of going. After some below average special effects, Snow eventually gets in the prison thanks to his bravery. From there on out the film becomes more and more predictable with some average action sequences. When Snow finally meets up with Emilie, she cannot stop asking questions and begs him to help the other hostages escape. The problems at first between both Emilie and Snow are what you would expect from a harden solider and a privileged younger woman in these kind of films. To make matters worse one of the villains, Hydell, is incredibly hard to understand due to his psychosis mixed with his incredibly thick accent.
Is it good? No. Is it bad? Very close. The film benefits largely from having two capable actors in Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace as they both have tremendous chemistry with one another. Pearce does a terrific job in delivering the comedic and sarcastic one liners throughout the entire movie. It is a shame though, as he is a terrific actor who has not seen terrific success throughout his career. Maybe he needs a new agent to better represent himself. Maggie Grace due to her work in Lost was one of my least favorite actresses but she did a very good job in her role as Emilie. She had the right amount of arrogance and humor infused in her performance. The two actors both seemed to realize that the film was a little cheesy and played to it, while the other actors like James and Stormare, just came off as carbon cut outs that didn't offer too much. The directors James Mather and Stephen St. Lager did a good job of attempting to cover up their low budget by putting a haze over the camera giving it a much grittier look. It worked for sure with the futuristic look of Washington D.C. All in all, if I were you I would wait to see this on some movie station. It isn't completely horrible but you wouldn't be missing much if you skipped it.