Lockout Credit: Film Disctrict

Two Stars
Directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace
Rated PG-13

"Lockout" is set in an intriguing future in which the most-hardened criminals are cryogenically frozen aboard an orbiting maximum security prison. It's a great sci-fi concept that seems to promise a one-two punch of sleek visuals and provocative, resonant content -- an ambitious meditation on the rights of all men, if you will.

Then the characters open their mouths, the plot kicks into full-gear and all hopes are dashed. What could have been a thoughtful Kubrickian enterprise, or at the very least a top-of-the-line sci-fi genre piece, instead aspires to little more than stock C-grade action schlock.

The U.S. government offers alleged-traitor Snow (Guy Pearce) a reprieve from his own sentence to MS One, the aforementioned prison. There’s one condition, of course: Amid a widespread prisoners’ revolt, Snow must secretly enter the mammoth structure and free the president’s daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace), who’s there on a humanitarian mission.

Co-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger (with a healthy assist from co-writer/producer Luc Besson, who came up with the orbiting prison idea) painstakingly set their imaginations aside. They go out of their way to emphasize standard, tame fight scenes, torpid chases and, just in case you thought about taking things seriously, campy one-liners from Snow.

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