If there were a reason to see LOCKOUT, and there really isnt, it would be to savor the way Guy Pearce gleefully surrenders the last iota of credibility in exchange for whooping it up with good-natured abandon as a near-futuristic action hero. The rest of this Luc Besson-enabled collection of clichés barely registers in comparison. Alas, just enough of it does to be annoying.
The time is 2079 and the dystopian future is as bleak and monochromatic as its been portrayed for the last four decades. The Oval Office is in a bunker, the president (Peter Hudson) is the 54th to hold that office, and Pearce plays an ex-CIA agent who has, surprise surprise, been set up by someone in the government. As is the way with such stories, his one chance for redemption is to infiltrate the maximum-security prison orbiting the Earth, and to rescue the presidents comely daughter (Maggie Grace) from the inmates who have been awakened from the stasis that keeps them under control and taken over the operation.
To say that there is nothing original or even engaging, aside from Pearce, is to massively understate the flicks lack of accomplishments. There is a McGuffin that will clear Pearce, a fiendishly clever psycho (Vincent Regan) calling the uprisings shots, a fiendishly unhinged psycho (Joseph Gilgun) undermining his efforts, and the comely hostage who is by turns an idiot, a cryer, and an warrioress, depending on the needs of the script at any given moment. Everyone, except Pearce, takes everything very seriously, even the lighting folks, who keeps everything soothing and shadowy so as not to call too much attention to the barely competent sets. Even the special effects have a dismal sort of ennui to their perfunctory nature, getting the concept of entropy correct, but missing entirely what really happens to a human being shoved out into the zero-pressure of outer space.
Things explode, people die, the president dithers, sparks fly between hostage and rescuer in a way as painfully predictable as being shoved from the sanctum of the space station into the zero-pressure of space must feel. Throughout, Pearce makes light of it in ways that any audience forced to endure the proceedings can cling with gratitude. Wiry, ironic, and effortlessly unflappable, he and his character both deserved a better adventure.