By Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 18, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
Film District



In the wack-job futuristic thriller Lockout, a disgraced federal agent (Guy Pearce) is dispatched to rescue a woman (Lost‘s Maggie Grace) who happens to be the daughter of the President of the United States (why not?). She also happens to be on a humanitarian mission to study prisoner conditions in an experimental penal colony when she’s caught in the midst of a violent jailhouse riot. In outer space. With no thriller cliché left unused, the gaily outlandish plot is matched by tin-eared dialogue, ripe tough-guy overacting from the very game Pearce, and best-that-she-could acting from Grace. For good measure, Peter Stormare rumbles through as a generic government heavy.

What could be fun, though, is just a big hunk of cheese — fromage, really, since it’s a French production from Euro-schlock fancier Luc Besson — and not nearly the clever idiocy it should be. Irish directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, who co-wrote the screenplay with Besson, are just off enough in their tonal calculations to make each scene a little slacker and clumsier than it ought to be to pull off this kind of gulp-and-toss entertainment. Too serious to be a parody and too stupid to be a viable action pic, Lockout floats like space junk in the final frontier. C


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  • 95 minutes
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  • Lockout