The year is 2079, but some things haven’t gone out of style, according to the sci-fi action flick “Lockout.” Secret agents still lug around metal briefcases, they still hide things in low-tech train-station lockers and they still calm their nerves by having a smoke. Apparently, even Zippo is still in business.
These are sure signs that the makers of “Lockout” weren’t paying close attention when they reworked their antiquated script into a futuristic space-prison movie. That’s too bad, because “Lockout” has an appealing lead in Guy Pearce, whose tightly coiled intensity worked so well in “Memento,” and its producer and co-writer is Luc Besson, the French king of the cheap thrill (“The Transporter,” “Taken”). But there’s cheap, and then there’s this rip-off.
Pearce plays Snow, the usual ex-operative who’s so tough that he cracks jokes while taking a beating: “I guess that’s why they call it a punch line.” Snow is infiltrating a maximum-security space station (where Joseph Gilgun livens things up as a psychotic convict) to rescue a hostage named Emily (Maggie Grace, of “Taken”), who happens to be the president’s daughter. Emily turns out to be Snow’s equal in the lousy one-liner department. Her best comeback: “Are you always this obnoxious?”
“Lockout” might have gotten by if it displayed a little creativity, but writer-directors Stephen St. Leger and James Mather can’t even reach basic believability. It’s one thing to stage a prison riot and forget to include any guards.
From the overall story to the niggling details, nearly everything in this ostensibly high-tech movie feels hopelessly outmoded. Would you believe that in 2079, cops still show up to interrogation rooms holding paper cups of coffee?