Lockout – 2012
Directed by James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stromare
Written by Luc Besson, St. Leger, Mather
Guy Pearce is one of the great actors of our time. Before and since his mainstream breakthrough in the classic L.A. Confidential, he has consistently picked challenging projects that tested his limits both physically and emotionally. A lot of these movies, while good, never saw much in the way of box office. Movies like …Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Ravenous, Memento, The Proposition, The Road and Animal Kingdom all received mad props critically, but found only limited appeal due in part to their subject matter. In 2010, he was King Edward VIII in The King’s Speech, the second movie in three years (along with The Hurt Locker) to won the Oscar for Best Picture. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was a step towards the mainstream, and he will be one of the main villains in Iron Man 3. And then there’s…this.
Throughout the events of Lockout, Pearce delivers unimaginative lines with all the nuance of say…let’s go back to John Murray from Moving Violations. His reflex reaction to every occasion is a smirk that one would expect from any teenage boy. Combine this magic with the non-stop snarl of Maggie Grace, and you have the most toxic “chemistry” possible. One would think it’s a step in the right direction that Grace refrains from doing any of that silly teenage girl running that she performed in the otherwise brilliant Taken. As the President’s daughter, she manages to leave the impression that she is a girl trying to play a tough chick.
The screenplay of this film is dreadful, and that’s kind of surprising, given that Luc Besson has its hands all over it. Sure, he is an action movie machine, but he has worked on such gems as Leon, The Fifth Element, The Messenger, and last year’s surprisingly good, Colombiana. Lockout is polluted with enough cliché to fill almost 3 Sylvester Stallone movies. And I am not talking about the straight to video ones. I am talking about the ones that relegated him to video before his movie star pals bailed him out.
The biggest disappointment for me is the appearance of Joseph Gilgun. I had formed a feeling of indelible warmth after seeing him conquer the Tired Pony video for Dead American Writers, that I always thought he’d play a completely nice guy in the first movie I would see him in. You know, kind of Rhys Ifans, circa Notting Hill. Watch this video, and I think you’d agree:
In Lockout, he is a nutjob who goes around doing, you know, nutty things. It’s not that he was all that bad at it, but the rest of the film was so bad, I just wanted some place that was cuddly. He was not cuddly. He’s kind of annoying, and, I suppose a little dangerous. Thanks for stealing my cuddly away. Jerks.
(* out of *****)