LOCKOUT is pretty much what I hope for from a Luc Besson production: solid b-movie fun, good gimmicks, good energy. But unlike the B13s or the TRANSPORTERs or the TAXIs or the YAMAKASIs it’s not the action that’s the highlight, this is more of a character and concept driven entertainment.

You could say the same about TAKEN, ’cause it’s a post-action mess made palatable by Liam Neeson getting to play a black ops hardass with a straightforward, personal goal. Like TAKEN, this has Maggie Grace playing an abducted daughter who has to be rescued (this time the president’s daughter taken hostage on a low orbit maximum security prison/space station). But it’s not the SPACE-TAKEN I was expecting, because the tone is completely different. The biggest surprise and the best part of the movie is that Guy Pearce as Snow, who has to rescue her, is a total smartass. He speaks mostly in quip, and successfully so, always keeping the movie fun instead of being annoying like could sometimes happen. The movie around him takes itself seriously, but he refuses to follow its lead.

I felt good about this one starting with the opening scene of Pearce, in closeup, giving wiseass answers during a police interrogation. Each non-answer is punished with a punch to the face, his head bumping off screen revealing a credit, then covering it back up when he re-enters the frame. Feature film rookie co-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger come up with a couple of these great visual gimmicks: a row of gunmen perfectly lined up to be hidden behind Snow’s head until the camera pans, an illusion caused by an inconveniently located mirror, a guy who opens his mouth and you can see through the back of his head ’cause he just got shot.

I read that this was a heavy green screen movie, but I didn’t notice except in the weird CGI motorcycle chase at the beginning, which looks artificial to the point of this-has-got-to-be-intentional stylization. The space ship effects, on the other hand, look good to me, and if they weren’t using practical sets I sure didn’t realize it.

The story is a good mix of simple and convoluted. There’s a bit of cloak and dagger shit (double crosses, secret messages, guys fighting over a briefcase) that starts in New York City, 2097, and continues into space and back. Snow, set up and in the custody of the Secret Service (headed by the always creepy Peter Stormare), facing 30 years in stasis, repeatedly refuses the option to free himself by accepting the mission to rescue the president’s daughter from the unfrozen psychos who have hijacked MS1. But when he finds out one of his associates in the briefcase affair is in the prison he says he was only kidding. So he’s gotta rescue the girl but really he wants to find a guy.

Some of the action filmatism is a little chaotic for my tastes, but it is discernible and full of great gags and ideas. The opening scuffle and chase has several clever moves (pulling a hotel bed sheet to bounce a gun into his hand) and a Wile E. Coyote-esque fall. Snow is a trained badass who in one scene does a parkour like climb and jump, but he’s fallible, so he takes a couple humorous tumbles. And he’s not sure what to make of the giant space motor thing that affects gravity in such a way that he floats over it and has to fight an attacker while flying. It could be a reference to the Fizzy Lifting Drinks in WILLY WONKA, but no burping.

In a way LOCKOUT kind of reminds me of P.W.S. Anderson’s DEATH RACE, another disreputable science fictional piece I heard terrible, terrible things about but ended up admiring for its solid b-movie structure supporting a high volume of lowbrow thrills. But that one built its Frankenstein character around the Jason Statham persona. The biggest joy of LOCKOUT is this specific character of Snow and the way Pearce plays him, completely different from the generally milquetoast and forgettable characters he often plays. Honestly the story could be anything as long as it had this Snow guy stuck in it, and not happy about it. I also like the daughter, who somehow forgives him after he forcibly cuts her hair, dyes it with motor oil and toilet water, and punches her in the face. No time to explain to her that it’s a disguise, and for some reason the bloody nose is supposed to help her pass for a male prisoner. (Seems questionable.)

No, Snow doesn’t have any interest in playing the knight in shining armor. His first-daughter-treatment-protocol seems to come from Val Kilmer’s in SPARTAN. Their bickering threatens to get old fast, but it’s a tight 95 minute movie so it’s not long before it gets to a turning point where each of their actions prove their selflessness, and from that moment on you can tell they respect each other. They still take jabs but now it seems flirtatious instead of bitter.

Part of their disagreement is political. Snow is supposed to be some kind of right winger, and two of my favorite lines are teasing her about being a Democrat. He just says that ’cause her dad is a Democrat, but she represents liberalism by coming to this prison to investigate human rights abuses and her (correct) belief that the prison is cover for human experimentation of the effects of space living.

Maybe she’s supposed to be naive – after all, she’s standing up for the rights of guys who go on to demonstrate that they really are the worst scum formerly on earth – but she does turn out to be correct. Snow’s friend does get his brain scrambled by their method of freezing, that’s something she’s trying to stop. And the heroic acts she performs are not about learning a lesson from Snow, or giving up her values. She already knew how to fire a gun. She disobeyed him to help save the hostages. Once he’s rescued her she then uses her wits to solve the mystery he failed to and save his ass. So I think it’s meant as more of a reaching across the aisle, Hands Across America, Tammy Faye and Ron Jeremy type of inspirational getting along type of a story.

The villains aren’t as memorable as the heroes, but they’re okay. There’s an in-charge guy (Vincent Regan) and an out-of-his-mind-rapist guy (Joseph Gilgun). He’s one of these skinny shirtless tattooed weirdos that moves like a monkey, which I think is becoming a familiar villain archetype. The one problem I had with him is his accent is so thick I had to keep turning the subtitles on. If I’d seen this in the theater I’d probly have understood less than 4 sentences out of that guy.

Man, I keep thinking the title is LOCKUP, but that’s wrong. I’m not sure why it’s LOCKOUT. There is a point where the guys at home base have their communications with Snow cut, and that’s referred to as a “lockout,” but that’s hardly important enough to be the title. If you’re just gonna name it after one little part then it might as well be called TOILET WATER HAIR or FIRST DAUGHTER FACE PUNCH. Or how bout STAR INCIDENT? Maybe that’s not specific enough.

Anyway, LOCKOUT can come in any time!


I don’t know man, I’m just trying to come up with a clever way to say it’s pretty good. Snow would have something funny to say about it.

Special thanks to Jareth, Majestyk, Larry and whoever else was talking this up in comments, inspiring me to catch up with it.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2012 at 12:42 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

56 Responses to “Lockout”

  1. infooooooooooooormer

  2. Damn fun movie. Spot on review.

    I like how in the opening interrogation Snow starts to puff a cigarette, gets punched in the jaw, disappears & reappears in the frame, and the cig is still in his mouth but now broken at a comical 90 degree angle.

    These filmatists know what they’re doing. Lot of imagination on display, breezy but intriguing noir-thriller-mystery-action-character story, genuinely murderous brutish bad guys, and, to my eyes, fairly dazzling sets & action pieces (even the brief part that looked totally fake), all within a very efficient 94 minute package. Bravo.

    In conclusion, “Rock out with your cock out on planet LOCKOUT**. Fun for the whole family this holiday season!” or something. Yeah, Vern’s right; Snow would be better at the promotional quipping.

    **(Though this is the official title, in my opinion, we all know this movie is really called GUY PEARCE IN SPACE, aka SPACE JAIL.)

  3. It was originally called MS: Maximum Security One when the original trailer came out if I remember correctly.

    I just saw last night that this was available on Netflix streaming. I saw it in the theater and thought it was pretty forgettable, and I’ve been a fan of these Besson’ productions. I don’t remember anything about the opening credits, or other things you discuss other than the oil, toilet water, face punch bit. I think I’ll have to revisit.

  4. See, this is one I gotta disagree with Vern on.

    The problem here is that
    A. the character NEVER takes a single thing seriously. They’re trying to do a Snake Plissken thing, but Snake recognizes when he’s in danger and isn’t fucking cracking jokes non-stop
    like a comedy sidekick character or something. It’s seriously on the level of one of those zucker brothers parodies at times in terms of how the Snow character is handled.
    It doesn’t help that at best maybe 20% of his quips actually land, which is way too low.

    B. The action is completely uninspired and forgettable. No intensity or fun set-pieces. You’d think with the space station concept there’d be lots of interesting unique things they could do,
    but they totally squander the location. Once he’s inside, it’s just a boring corridor crawl. It’s PG-13, so you never see anyone actually getting shot or hit by bullets, and there isn’t
    even an interesting fight or confrontation with any other main villains.

    It’s a shame cause I think it’s a GREAT setup for a b-action movie, but it just absolutely does not deliver in my opinion.

  5. Snow is like the anti-Captain America, the Bizarro Steve Rogers. They’re the same character, but totally different.

    They’re both men out of their time — Snow because he’s a cynical faux-asshole who still smokes (apparently very rare in 2079 according to LOCKOUT’s script) and doesn’t fit in with the hierarchy of the CIA or his contemporary society; Captain America because he’s a humble goody2shoes patriot transplanted into an asymmetrical futuristic battlefield populated by the most sarcastic but grandiose faux-assholes ever conceived.

    Snow aggressively tries to piss off every one of his bosses and everyone in a position to help him; he hates fitting in, and he hits on cute girls in the command center before he relays important tactical intelligence to the CIA chief. Rogers tries to follow every order to the letter and tries to fit in, being his personal best (training on the boxing bags) while going above & beyond to maximize the potential & effectiveness of his team, even if there is friction among Avengers teammates. You can see the gears grinding in his head when he’s trying to solve a problem, trying real hard to help the greater cause, unlike Snow who makes it a point to tell everyone he doesn’t give a fuck and by the way that’s what he did last night with your wife.

    Captain America is infinitely tactful around Dr. Banner, and he says “Ma’am” when addressing females for fuck’s sake. Snow would only say “ma’am” if it were used as a slur against some dude’s masculinity.

    They both have a particular allegiance that they say they are willing to forgo if it means contributing to a more important mission, but then once they’re kneedeep in the shit they both secretly re-focus on their first priority, that personal allegiance or hang-up that drives them even as they sort of follow orders from The Man.
    They both have a strict code of honor. Snow just hides his better, under several layers of snark, scruff, nicotine, and horniness. Captain America doesn’t have any of those layers, none of those darker trappings of manhood, but he is still undeniably just as manly and strong-jawed as Snow.

    See, they’re the same. Same function, same results, same manliness, same chastity & care toward the female in need, same stick-it-to-the-man ethos that combines with personal codes of honor to help them solve big mysteries & save the world. Same everything. Except totally different.

  6. I wonder if Guy Pearce read this script and was like “I bet I can Denzel Washington the shit out of this movie” and by God he did.

    Between this, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE PROPOSITION, LAWLESS, and MEMENTO I think the man qualifies as a Dark Horse nominee for the Bad Ass Hall of Fame.

  7. I enjoyed the “bulkheads” comment that led to the bad guy’s head being blown up with the det-cord device.

    That’s cleverness, snarkiness, double-entendreness, character trait revealing, and comical overkill all in one right there. Evidence of a good script and good action filmatism in my opinion. And pretty brutal shit in a PG-13 movie.

  8. That’s the thing about this movie, there were a lot of clever flashes but it would have been nice if they applied some of that to the mechanics of the actual breakout instead of having the entire thing come about because a trillion dollar space prison has the most comically lax security since the honor system jail on “The Simpsons”. I suppose I should just turn my brain off and enjoy it but the fact that no logic at all got applied to that set up did lower my enjoyment bar a bit. A simple genius supervillain bad guy would have gone a long way here.

    Just so I don’t sound too down on the film allow me to say that Maggie Grace also did a nice job.

  9. “I read that this was a heavy green screen movie, but I didn’t notice except in the weird CGI motorcycle chase at the beginning, which looks artificial to the point of this-has-got-to-be-intentional stylization.”
    Yeah, for me that scene was weird. Not for the CGI itself, but the speed of which things were going. I couldn’t tell if that was how fast things were meant to be happening, or if it was sped up as a stylistic choice because it’s a flashback.

    “The villains aren’t as memorable as the heroes, but they’re okay. There’s an in-charge guy (Vincent Regan) and an out-of-his-mind-rapist guy (Joseph Gilgun). He’s one of these skinny shirtless tattooed weirdos that moves like a monkey, which I think is becoming a familiar villain archetype. The one problem I had with him is his accent is so thick I had to keep turning the subtitles on. If I’d seen this in the theater I’d probly have understood less than 4 sentences out of that guy.”
    I think I read that the accent was Gilgun’s idea, as they were originally going to be english. I can say that even as a scot myself I could tell his accent would be pretty indecipherable for americans, how he did was very evocative of a particular type of Glasgow accent.
    I did find it interesting that Snow doesn’t have a big showdown with either one of them. He just punches Gilgun once and bolts, and the last shot of Gilgun has him psychotically pressed up against a window, when the more conventional thing to do would be to show him seeing the bomb and getting an “oh shit” look on his face before it exploded. Instead they seemed to maintain the respect they had for him as a scary villain.

    It was kinda weird when I watched this in the cinema, because I’d heard that the american version was edited down compared to the european version, but the one I saw didn’t seem that much more brutal. The gunshot through the mouth and decapitation scenes for instance were kinda beyond PG-13, but not really (you don’t see the head actually cut off, just the body out of focus from what I remember), so I’m still not sure if I saw an unedited version or not.

    It’s a shame it didn’t do too well, because more Snow movies could have been fun.

  10. The most hardcore PG-13 movie I’ve seen in 2012 is TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN 2. Seriously, the battle scene at the end puts most contemporary cinematic fantasy-action to shame. There are many, many decapitations. It’s fucking great.

    The other 85% of the movie is hard to watch, though.

  11. I did not understand a damn thing Gilgun said and I didn’t have the benefit of subtitles.

    I agree, the further adventures of Snow would work in any situation. Just thinking about Space Guy’s ripped body makes me feel guilty about eating so much yesterday.

  12. I’ve kinda wanted to see TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN: PART 2: REQUIEM based on what I’ve heard of Michael Sheen’s performance in it. One thing I saw talking about it said the sad thing about the movie is he’s so entertaining because he just doesn’t give a fuck, whereas everyone else is actually trying.

  13. so, I’m the only one that hears the name Snow and can’t help but think of “Informer”? really?

  14. Back in 1991, I was astonished that DANCES WITH WOLVES was PG-13. I remember talking to one of my high-school classmates and we were both like, “No WAY that should have been a PG-13! When that guy gets the tomahawk in his chest?!? That was an R movie, seriously!”

    The title may be an homage to the sadly underappreciated John Flynn (ROLLING THUNDER) prison film with Sylvester Stallone and Donald Sutherland, LOCK UP.

  15. Great review Vern. This film really is silly good fun. LOCKOUT feels like an unofficial sequel or reboot to Carpenter’s Snake Plissken films, and Pierce seems to be having a blast doing his take on Plissken. I was caught off guard by the jarringly unrealistic CGI motorcycle sequence early in the film, but when it became clear they were not trying to pass off the CGI effects as realistic I settled in for the ride and enjoyed the film.

  16. My favorite aspect of the film was that Snow is queasy about blood. There are a number of scenes in the film where he happens upon some evidence of violent doings and responds with some variation of “eww!” Awesome little Badass Trait.

  17. I really wanted to like this, but ultimately the lack of good action killed it for me. The opening fight was the one action scene that seemed like they put any sort of effort into it, all other scenes were badly choreographed and too short. The final “confrontation” with the bad guy was one of the most anti-climatic things I have ever seen in an action movie. They might as well have gone with a Desperado-Style flash to white. Still, Guy Pearce’s performance was good enough to make this movie somewhat bearable, which is saying a lot.

  18. Have you fellas SEEN network TV lately? Shit, between CSI, Grimm and Fringe there is a LOT of in-your-face gore. I can’t believe what I’m seeing most days. I see some dead body lying in a lake of blood with numerous deep scratches on it from being mauled and I think “Ok, this is on network TV but PG-13 movies don’t even show gunshots with blood anymore? Wow.”

  19. (Sorry, my post was a reply to JD’s ‘Dances With Wolves’ comment. I didn’t expect 3 more people to post so quickly!)

  20. CaptainTass – yup, movies have become really homogenized while other mediums have gone in the opposite direction, ESPECIALLY video games, your average M rated video game would probably be a NC-17 movie if they had the same ratio of violence and even a lot of R rated moves of the past would probably be NC-17 today

    and as far as sexual content goes, it’s a fucking joke, the last time I saw a bare pair of breasts in a theatrical movie was Hot Tub Time Machine and that was already almost 3 years ago, it’s especially absurd considering how easily available pornography is in this day and age and yet when was the last time you saw full frontal nudity in a mainstream movie?

    the only real R rated thing movies can get away with anymore is language, you can have as much cussing as you want, but anything beyond that has become taboo

    I think it’s just another sign how movies have in some ways become out of touch with modern culture

  21. Ummm…Tass: I said, “BACK in 1991″….And ironically, network tv could be horrendously violent back then too. TWIN PEAKS, in particular, I remember had some astonishing moments as bloody or horrific as anything in an R-rated film of the era.

    Griff: But they were Jessica Pare’s breasts. And they easily match and surpass every bare-breasted girl on screen in 1985, both individually and all together. I mean, those beauties count for a lot, right?

    Movies may or may not be out of touch with modern culture: I don’t think modern culture is quite at an NC-17 average yet. I hope not. That wouldn’t be a good thing. That said, I wholly agree that the general softening of content is damaging to cinema, especially genre movies. If you want to do stylized violence or minimalize gore, fine. But if you want to go hard-core with it, even in a sci-fi or fantasy context, if you want to make Carpenter’s THE THING, or ALIEN, or Verhoevan’s TOTAL RECALL or Milius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN, you should damn well have that option. It’s true–up to about ’93 or ’94, part of the fun of even average, big studio horror and action films was walking in and not knowing how far they were going to go, wondering if they were going to shock or astonish you. That’s very rare now in studio films. CABIN IN THE WOODS did it with the “Merman” scene–that was a classic, “Oh my GOD! I don’t–awww, man, aww, that’s, I can’t beleive it!” moment.

  22. I thought this was ok, disposable fun but that’s just it like alot of Besson productions: Disposable. It’s harmless.

    Writing-wise I found it unfortunately lazy, and quite frankly I didn’t care about that whole reveal about the case. I know alot of action movies today dig convoluted plotting, but I kept thinking this could’ve been a solid UNDER SIEGE/DIE HARD rip-off if it had you know, stayed a UNDER SIEGE/DIE HARD rip-off.

    Still things I liked: That emergency escape spacesuit which you can (literally) fall to Earth, and even that crazy design of the White House in the middle of what, highways or something? And the Oval Office is stories underground, as if there was WW3 at one point and the OO stayed underground long after the conflict, with some remains (that giant coin?!?) which I like because I like movies when without going indepth or orange juice concentrated, they hint or suggest a great mythology.

    For example, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (a pretty good movie that LOCKOUT was somewhat inspired by) with that dialogue between Russell and Cleef.

    “You flew the gulffire over Leningrad.”

    (I can’t remember unfortunately the exact line.)

  23. In defense of informer by snow, that song spent 7 consecutive weeks at #1 on the billboard charts. The whole album is pretty good too (yeah I own it on cd). Lockout rocked. Guy Pearce tore it up as the reluctant hero, Maggie Grace actually played someone likeable, and the action was comprehensible. It’s just a good time.

  24. “that song spent 7 consecutive weeks at #1 on the billboard charts.”

    no offense Tom, but that doesn’t mean a song is good, you know what else spent a lot of time at #1 on the billboard charts? fucking Achy Breaky Heart

  25. I never said the song was good but I’ll take informer over achy breaky heart any day. I just wanted to remind everyone that was a big hit in 1991 or whatever. People forget you know. And yeah, that song is good by the way. I dare you to karaoke that song.

  26. Karaoke informer not achy breaky heart.

  27. Snow’s 12 inches of snow and his follow up Murder Love is a weird fusion of color me badd and dance hall reggae if you’re into that kinda thing

  28. I liked this ! Not as much as I was expecting , but I liked it , especially for Guy Pearce performance . It has so many elements of a lot of great movies: smartass hero in enclosed space full of criminals , like Die Hard , crawling in futuristic tunnels like Alien and the most obvious is the “Escape from…..” theme like Escape from New York. The name of the protagonists is also really similar : Snake and Snow. I remember a while back the rumor of an “Escape from Earth” , a sequel to Plissken Adventures , but nothing never happened , so I figured that this is as close as possible , so I gladly went to see it . I liked it , but that skinny guy villain really annoyed me , plus (SPOILERS) he’s the one stabbing the Main Villain , and I wanted Snow to do that , possibly after a long fight scene ( end of SPOILERS ) , but , oh well , I hope for a sequel , even a DTV one !

  29. It was fun to see Guy Pearce play a character with a sense of humor. He’s been on quite a roll recently: The King’s Speech, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Mildred Pearce, Lawless and Prometheus. It’s like he has started to pick up Jude Law’s slack. At times I wished that this movie was a little better, since it has a wonderfully ridiculous premise. But it still went down easy and was entertaining all the same.

  30. Loved this when I saw it a few weeks back. Excellent banter from the cast. A solid B movie. Hope to see Snow smoking and cracking wise again.

  31. I’ve always found it weird how in terms of censorship, violence against non-human creatures is much more acceptable. It seems kind of racist that decapitating a vampire or werewolf or alien is fine, but a human? That’s too much. This is an in-story thing too in a lot of fiction as well. In Buffy, the cardinal rule of being a Slayer was never to kill a human, no matter how evil they are, whereas the demons and other creatures were fair game, even though the show depicted a lot of them as sentient, with a very human-like personality.

  32. Good point, Stu, but I think the racism against human-murder is based mostly on the physiology of arterial spray & gore that goes with decapitations & stabbings and such.

    I was shocked at how a PG-13 movie like TWILIGHT 5: THE DREAM CHILD: TEAM MOUTH FOREVER could have so many decapitations and beast-on-beast attacks (for real, you guys have to check out that beautiful climactic battle scene), but surely the only reason this happened, along with your solid “not allowed to do violence on human beings in most PG-13 movies or BUFFY” logic, is because somehow the filmatists made it so non-human necks contain zero blood vessels. (This makes the filmatists akin to the killer in MINDHUNTERS during the coffee-passing-out scene, if you want to accuse them of being much sicker than their filmic, non-graphic output suggests.)

    That, and quick editing.

    That, and they didn’t commit the horrible R-rated sin of showing any nipples or pubes, because that would just give every American a fucking fainting spell. I know my eyes & Judeo-Christian sensitivities haven’t recovered since the shock of that hussy Janet Jackson’s titty popping out during the Super Bowl 9 years ago. Maybe NippleGate ruined everything.

  33. Are we sure the alleged violence in LOCKOUT isn’t in regards to the unrated version?

    Mouth, I haven’t seen Twilight 5, but I noticed in the other Twilights that when you decapitate a vampire it is like chopping he head off an ice statue. I wonder if it’s the lack of blood founts that PG-13s these decapitations?

  34. Well, we could substantiate Stu’s observations by looking at SUCKER PUNCH, for example, in which we see dozens of WWI robo-zombie things (resembling humans) get shot in the face, get shot in the chest, get stabbed in the neck, get flying-hatcheted by my girl Vanessa in detailed slow motion, etc., in which we see a dragon have her throat graphically slit and the human perpetrator dig into the unnatural cavity to retrieve some bits of dragon anatomy, in which we see many human-esque robots kitana-sliced in 2, slung through metal walls, shot point blank in the face, and rocked by the force of a high speed train running tracks-adjacent to a vertical metal structure that serves to obliterate one anthropomorphic robot, etc..

    Evidently, brutality and an extremely high [non-human?] body count is okay in PG-13. Bloodshed, however — human bloodshed — is not.

    Clearly, this double-standard, this racism against non-human entities in fantasy movies & tv shows is the civil rights issue of our time.

  35. That goes back to LORD OF THE RINGS y’all. Lotta dead decapitated orcs. Yet somehow THE MATRIX got rated R.

  36. I agree with the assessment of non-human violence. Another example: in Breaking Dawn Part 1 there’s the scene where the werewolves have their psychic powow to decided if they’re going to regulate on Bella’s fetus. The one female wolf objects to their plan, and the male next to her just lunges at her and beats the everliving shit out of her. I don’t know if that shit would fly with humans. Also come to think of it it’s very much in the spirit of the Twilight saga’s stance on gender roles.

    Also keep in mind that if it’s a human inflicting violence on a non-fantasy animal, it’s serious shit. Like if they made Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz into a film and they had the scene where the killer squeezes the pet hamster to death. MPAA would cut!

  37. I read a while agp that the last Twilight movie WAS rated R because of that final battle scene, but Bill Condon wrote a long letter about how there is no other way to kill a vampire than decapitating him and it would be necessary for the story. The MPAA gave in, saying that the main problem that they had, were the graphic sound FX anyway, so they toned that down and got their PG-13.

  38. Fred Topel – Don’t forget AVENGERS, where I counted several of those evil-invading-aliens-whatever-they’re-called* getting shot, brain matter splatter out. (or was it just one?) If that was a human character, and of course red as Hawaiian Punch blood, R rating!

    *=I know what they’re called, but does it matter?

  39. Goddamn, I love this site. There was so much badmouthing when Lockout came out, but I went and watched it anyway, had a good time, and just knew that once ol’ Vern posted his review I’d find some like-minded people round these parts. First DOA, now this. Nice.

    I actually enjoyed that CGI motorcycle chase scene. It was so absurd and frantic that it worked.

    As for the ratings discussion, I do feel that movies are out of touch these days. Still can’t believe how much of a hold the MPAA has over what we watch (and it doesn’t just affect American audiences. Their decisions determine what the rest of the world sees as well. It’s a joke).

    Mainstream movies are again going through a 1950’s “prim and proper” phase where content is so clean and domesticated that it actually borders on offensive. Just thinking of Matthew Modine’s bloodless death in The Dark Knight Rises makes me groan. But it’s okay, these things have their cycles and eventually there will be a 1970’s styled resurgence of riskier, envelope-pushing storytelling (kinda like what TV has been going through in the past 10 years).

    I just wanna see tits in action movies again, man. That’s really the only thing that Haywire lacked.

  40. RRA- Yeah, they edited out a human’s knife related death down so you don’t see the blade sticking through him, but kept in the Hulk squishing an alien warrior’s head like a grape, and the giant flying cyborg space serpent things getting blown into chunks.

    Comics are kinda weird about this too. The company’s rate them themselves, so it’s not really an official thing, but a comic featuring a scene like this:
    got a “T for Teen” rating, but if it had swearing and titties, it would have gotten slapped with an Adult rating.

  41. Guy Pierce makes the movie worth watching. He has his funny moments and some decent chemistry Maggie Grace. The anorexic bad guy is convincingly crazy, but can only be enjoyed with subtitles. The movie moves along quickly, which is good and bad. Good because it didn’t really feel that long, bad because most of the time you have no idea how something blew up or how someone got shot or how something got overridden. I think the black secret service guy basically screws up everything.

  42. “and as far as sexual content goes, it’s a fucking joke, the last time I saw a bare pair of breasts in a theatrical movie was Hot Tub Time Machine and that was already almost 3 years ago, it’s especially absurd considering how easily available pornography is in this day and age and yet when was the last time you saw full frontal nudity in a mainstream movie?”


    You’re watching the wrong movies. Last summer alone, releases like Magic Mike, Savages, Killer Joe, Cabin In The Woods and even Total Recall had explicit nudity in them. I’m talking about tits or butts in plain view, some during sex scenes. Killer Joe even had bush shots from Gina Gershon. And there was probably plenty more in other movies.

    Last year mainstream full frontals I know of: Drive Angry, Hangover 2, I Spit on Your Grave.

  43. I don’t know if the US version of LOCKOUT is the same as the European/German version. The German version has two scenes that were cut from the movie as bonus material that are rather unusual:

    (Spoilers) The first scene shows the actual final fight between Snow and the skinny bad guy while they’re falling from the sky (after the prison was destroyed) and the scond a kiss between the protagonists at the end.

    Since when want producers that the directors cut the final fight scene and the kiss at the end? I personally like the ending as it is, but I missed the mid air fight scene.

  44. Andreas: Ah, that explains why there seemed to be such an abrupt cut between them free falling and their landing with their parachutes opened.

  45. Saw this the other day and really liked it… Except… PG-13. They need to stop with the fucking PG-13. I mean, this movie was obviously edited down to be PG-13. I don’t necessarily need my movies to be R, but when there are obvious cuts made to turn it into PG-13 it takes me right out of the movie. I get the philosophy of wanting the kids to be able to get in so you can make $, but did someone really think that Lockout would become a blockbuster if they just don’t show that guy’s head explode?

  46. From what I’ve seen, unrated cuts of Luc Besson-produced movies usually aren’t that different from the PG-13 cuts. You’d think there would be an exploding head shot in the Lockout unrated cut, but there isn’t.

  47. If you’re talking about gore on TV?


  48. Yeah. Even I didn’t have time for SUPERNATURAL original, as at first glance it just seemed to be a pair of pretty boys going around doing exorcisms, but then I saw a promo pic of them holding striker shotguns and I had to check it out and it’s got headshots, decapitations, stabbings, throat slittings, immolation, hearts being pulled out, Lucifer making people explode, hands being put into blenders…

  49. It’s funny, though–when you actually look back at a lot of big-studio movies made under the absolute draconian worst days of the Production Code, when basically EVERY movie had to be the equivalent of a modern PG to even get released in theaters, it’s amazing how effective the action and violence often was. Movies were really handicapped when it came to sexuality. That’s for sure. But as far as action and violence, it wasn’t always the cliche, “two cowboys facing each other, one pulls out a revolver and fires, other guy falls down and dies with no blood or even a hole in his shirt” stuff. They actually got away with a helluva lot.

    Classic example: Raoul Walsh’s WHITE HEAT. Cagney. Air holes. You’ll see what I mean. It’s a brutal moment that still shocks today.

  50. As a Scot I would like to point out that the skinny psycho guy was perfectly understandable at all times. And also he was hilarious.

  51. I’m Norwegian and even I understood him…

  52. I’m all for Carpenter getting money but I’m uncomfortable with the precedent this is setting. It pretty much guarantees we’ll see more slavish, corporate-financed remakes and fewer looser independent ripoffs What if Carpenter had done this after HALLOWEEN came out? Would the slasher genre have even happened?

    And what’s The Asylum gonna do now? Won’t someone think of The Asylum?!

  53. Yeah, I can imagine that this will have a huge impact on today’s homage culture, which might be a good or bad thing. But I don’t think THE ASYLUM has anything to worry about, since most of their mockbusters really only use different names, but apart from that have nothing to do with what they are supposedly copying. (Or at least that was the case with the few I actually saw.)

  54. *only use SIMILAR names

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>