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. But hurling characters through space down to Earth -- with nothing but parachutes -- does not pass the laugh test.
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? Even Java Jacket is still in business.
PLOT In 2079, a secret agent infiltrates a high-security space-prison. RATING R (violence, language, smoking)
PLAYING AT Area theaters.
BOTTOM LINE A creaky old script dressed in futuristic space-garb. Even by trash-cinema standards, this is pretty bad.