Ho. Lee. Crap. When I first started seeing trailers for Lockout earlier this year, I knew I’d like it. You know why? Because it was a little movie, not well advertised and yet it just looked so damn cool. It looked like the kind of movie that John Carpenter would have made in the 80s and, really, it is: “Escape From New York in a space prison.” That’s a very apt description, one that I used when explaining this movie to a friend the other day. Basically, Lockout is like a Neil Marshall or Neveldine & Talyor movie, the kind of thing you watch and say, “Man, they do NOT make movies like this anymore!”
Co-directors and co-writers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger know the kinds of films they like and made a movie that fits in with them without being too, too homage-y. In the future, prisons are actually these huge ships in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Guy Pearce’s Snow is a CIA agent who gets framed for murder and is offered the chance to make things right by heading into one of the prisons after a visit from the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) incites a riot and breakout. From there, Pearce gets dropped into the prison, teams up with Grace and goes about trying to save her and clear his name.
It’s a pretty simple plot that gets a little more twisty and turn-y at the very end, but for the most part it’s a straightforward action movie the likes of which you just don’t see anymore. When I say that I mean that this is a pretty high concept film that did a surprisingly good job when it comes to special effects while still being fun and exciting. I did some looking over on Box Office Mojo, though, and it doesn’t seem like this movie was a huge success. It cost $20 million to make, but only made $28 million worldwide, so while it obviously made its money back, that’s not a huge return on investment. Interestingly, Lockout actually grossed more then Escape from New York with that film making $25 million in 1981.
I want to see more movies like this and hope people keep giving Mather and Leger money to make flicks because, if nothing else, they showed that you can do a helluva lot with not a lot of money (in Hollywood terms). Also, I would very much like to play a video game based on this film, so if someone could make that happen, I’d be a happy dude.