Lockout Review

Movie: Lockout
By: Maniac E
Date: November 15, 2012

Take no prisoners

It's a mission so impossible that not even the U.S. Marines can do the job. No, this one will take don't hold your breath yes, One Man. The invention of the One Man Movie has been one of the handiest story devices to come along since the Fruit Cart. All I need do is quote two sentences from the trailer, and in your mind, you know exactly how the Deep-Voiced Trailer Guy sounds when he says them: "My daughter ... is on a goodwill mission on that station. There's only One Man who can get her out ... Snow!"

OK, now, hold onto your seat. The worried father speaking is why, the president of the United States, of course. And where is the station his daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), is on a goodwill mission? I'll bet you can guess this one. It's a maximum security prison in orbit around the Earth, naturally. And what about One Man Snow (Guy Pearce)? He is a brilliant and versatile man of action, capable of all things, and yet the Secret Service is pursuing him because he has his hands on a briefcase and is suspected of spying. And what is in the briefcase? My best guess is: a MacGuffin.


I probably mention MacGuffins half a dozen times a year. I wonder if there's anyone left who doesn't know what one is. First defined by Alfred Hitchcock, the MacGuffin is whatever everyone in the movie is in a lather about. All we need to know is that Snow has it and the Secret Service wants it. It doesn't matter in the slightest what's in the briefcase; Snow doesn't know, so why should we? Snow is an overwritten hero who talks like a sitcom character. Every line is a wisecrack, a gag, or what he fondly thinks of as a witticism. If you were on a mission to rescue the president's daughter from a space station commanded by a tattooed psychotic with glowing eyeballs (Vincent Regan), would you have time to think up one-liners? Of course you wouldn't. That's why this job can only be undertaken by... One Man Snow!


They say no one has ever escaped from Alcatraz by swimming. A prison in orbit is even more escape-proof. And there's another detail. Many of the space station's prisoners have been cryogenically frozen and are being held in suspended animation. A prisoner like that, he isn't going anywhere. Why, you might ask, would the president's daughter take it into her head to go on a goodwill mission to an orbiting prison? She wants to be sure the deep-frozen prisoners aren't being mistreated. This woman is all heart. Unluckily, some of the most violent prisoners have taken over the prison, and with Emilie as their hostage, they're in a powerful position.


The generator of this story is the inexhaustible French producer Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element," "La Femme Nikita," and dozens of others). He has skillfully assembled the story elements and left them in the hands of directors Stephen St. Leger and James Mather, who reason that with breakneck action and shiny special effects, we will have no complaints. It just about works. The idea of the president's daughter being held captive isn't blindingly original (it's an alarmingly dangerous occupation), but placing the story on a space station is a masterstroke, since we're about filled up to here with prison movies set on Earth.


I imagine the movie's intended audience will enjoy itself. I enjoyed myself in my own peculiar way. I like to ask myself how real people would feel in a situation like this. If I were sent on Snow's mission, I would be paralyzed by fright most of the time. But then I'm not One Man. I would be dead several times over by the ending of this film. But not to worry. I'm not going to tell you they parachute to Earth and land in New York City. Nothing like that.



Image 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, entertainmentOne'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 entertainmentOne.


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.




While the movie itself is lacking in multiple ways it is a fun watch thanks to the great audio and visual effects. entertainmentOne did give us a great bluray just too bad that there aren't any extras on the disc.

E1 Entertainment






James Mather, Stephen St. Leger






Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare