There are certain phrases that really excite Team MM. “Would you guys like some free shots?” is one of them. “Double up motherfucker! Double that shit up!” said by Dan when he’s talking about seeing two films in a weekend is another. The phrase that I’m referring to for today’s MM, however, is “He’s the best we’ve got… but he’s a loose cannon”. This is the phrase solemnly intoned by some government suit-wearing bastard in the amazing trailer to LOCKOUT, AKA MS One: Maximum Security (in Europe), AKA Space Prison (in our minds). Look how sophisticated I am - FOREIGN POSTER.
In the first ten seconds of LOCKOUT, or Lock Out as it appears on that poster, Guy Pearce is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and beaten savagely whilst making devil-may-care jokes to indicate what sort of character he is. That sort of character is best described as “John McClane”.
Guy Pearce doesn’t have a leg to stand on, he’s clearly betrayed his best friend and shot him for no reason at all, and there’s nothing else for it, he’s going to SPACE PRISON. Space Prison in this instance is a highly implausible space station where they keep the shittiest evil prisoners in cryogenic suspension . I don’t know why they can’t keep them in cryogenic suspension on Earth rather than spending, presumably, billions, flying them up to a space station, but that is not the kind of question this film is addressing.
Those bloody liberals are trying to get in the way of what needs to be done to ensure the smooth running of society, and the president’s daughter has, ridiculously, flown up to Space Prison to talk to the prisoners to make sure they’re being treated fairly. This means they thaw one out so she can ask him if they’re bringing him enough cups of tea and so on, but - and you’ll never believe this - something goes wrong! President’s Daughter’s overly gung-ho secret service bodyguard has idiotically smuggled a gun into the interview room in an ankle holster, and the prisoner manages to get it off him and shoot some sort of highly explosive wall - seriously, he fires a bullet and the wall explodes. We had no idea why everything suddenly blows up but BLOW UP IT DOES. The prisoner kidnaps President’s Daughter and frees all the other inmates! You can tell he’s evil because he’s Scottish. If he was any more Scottish the film would need subtitles. There’s another Scottish prisoner and man, you’ll never see this twist coming, but they are BROTHERS. This has no real relevance to the plot at all.
So things look bad. Space Prison, riot, president’s daughter. If only the government had some sort of crack operative they could send up to Space Prison to sort everything out, perhaps not even a volunteer but someone they had leverage over, someone who may not play exactly by the rules but gets the job done, someone who — WAIT. Yes! But sadly, Snake Plissken is busy, so Guy Pearce is going to have to do.
President’s Daughter is being guarded by her noble secret service agent, who fucked everything up and is basically the cause of everything going wrong. They manage to get into some sort of airtight lift situation, but oh dear, the nitrogen levels are rising dangerously, and they may suffocate. Noble Secret Service Agent realises that he is a black guy in a science-fiction film, and makes the tactical decision to shoot himself in the head so President’s Daughter doesn’t run out of air. Dan had the reaction he normally does when a black person in a film sacrifices himself to save a blonde-haired white girl, which is to shout loudly OH COME ON! while the rest of Team MM laughs at him. Ha ha Dan! You care about racism! That’s adorable! Team MM is so post-racial we can laugh about things like that. Hilariously, Guy Pearce blows a hole in the lift about ten seconds after Noble Secret Service Agent kills himself, making his sacrifice utterly pointless.
This is where, if you are the sort of person who asks questions, the plot starts to unravel. What are the prisoners going to demand with even a high-value hostage? They’re on a space station. The two Scottish psychos posture a bit and chuck a few people out of airlocks but while the lead Scot seems like he has some sort of plan in mind, really I don’t see where he’s going to go.
Suddenly, the International Space Station crashes into Space Prison! This comes pretty much out of nowhere, and it’s explained twenty minutes later that Space Prison is, thanks to the jiggery-pokery of the prisoners, about to crash into the East Coast of the USA. Fuck! There’s not much time, warns Earth Command or whatever, as they tell Guy Pearce that the entirety of Space Prison will plummet into the ground in approximately T-minus-the-rest-of-the-film.
Guy Pearce is such a hero that despite his rough-and-tumble, cavalier attitude, he puts President’s Daughter into the sole escape pod on Space Prison and blasts her to safety, but OH GOD, she’s ALSO such a hero that she slips out of it at the last second and insists that they have a crack at rescuing the other guards and staff and so on. Damn your liberal eyes, President’s Daughter! Why can’t you just stop caring so much about everyone? And why did you let Guy Pearce waste the only escape pod?
I think about two minutes later it’s revealed that everyone else who’s not a psycho rapist murderer is dead anyway, so she really should have just stayed in the frigging pod, but anyway.
One of the government swines down on Earth at this point executes a COUP, and deposes the president via the 25th amendment or something (is it really an amendment that if your daughter is on Space Prison and you want to rescue her, you can no longer be president? That seems strangely specific), so that he can send the Space Army to blow up Space Prison. It’s worth mentioning this little bit of plot, because it goes absolutely nowhere and is never mentioned again.
President’s Daughter is, unfortunately for her, beautiful and blonde. This means the prisoners, devils that they are, want to get at her, and specifically her naughty areas. Guy Pearce disguises her by cutting off all her hair, pouring a bunch of motor oil in what’s left, and punching her in the mouth. For some reason he doesn’t make her take her make-up off so she still looks like a beautiful girl, just one with an elfin pixie haircut and a cold sore.
So Guy Pearce and President’s Daughter make one last daring push to get to some sort of escape route, but they have to go through the place on Space Prison where all the psychos are having fights and looking all scary and rough. This goes awry for reasons I can’t quite remember, and then they are SEPARATED! The Scottish guy who is not the main one, who is a total headcase, kills his brother and gets a hold of President’s Daughter, who he has taken a bit of a shine to. Scottish people are fucking disgusting. It’s like Begbie from Trainspotting in space. Space Begbie.
Space Begbie is the main antagonist of the film, so when Guy Pearce stops him stabbing President’s Daughter in the very nick of time, thumping him in the face so they can make their getaway, we the audience chortles, knowing that soon he is sure to get his comeuppance in some sort of violent, bloody death at the hands of Our Hero. Stay tuned for that moment!
Guy Pearce and President’s Daughter make it to some sort of special spacesuits, but at this point the Space Army has started flying spaceships all over Space Prison to drop bombs on it to blow it up… for some reason. I don’t know why you’d blow up your presumably incredibly valuable Space Prison just because it is full of escaped psychos. Oh, it’s because it’s going to crash into the Earth. But surely they can fix that from Earth Command or something? Oh, I don’t know. Anyway, our heroes manage to leap off the space station in their spacesuits honestly JUST before a bomb blows the entire Space Prison into several fantastically expensive pieces.
Oh shit, Space Prison! You forgot to include the scene where Guy Pearce beats Space Begbie into a million pieces! Ha ha! No, seriously. Fuck you Space Prison! I need closure! This feels like one of about a dozen scenes that were just cut for time, perhaps because the American market couldn’t handle them or something.
Guy Pearce and President’s Daughter are in their spacesuits in space… now, this scene is kind of amazing. It goes, atmospheric re-entry, burning up, spacesuit sheds its top layer of space armour, parachutes go out, they land in the middle of Future Washington DC, all in the space of about five seconds. The editing is so shoddy that using an iPhone to film a toddler throwing a GI Joe at a patch of dirt would probably be more effective story-telling.
Denouement time! It turns out there was some twist in play, and one of the government bastards who sent Guy Pearce to Space Prison is actually some sort of corrupt bastard. Guy Pearce burns his face very, very lightly with a lighter for this… which seems like kind of an ineffective punishment for making Guy Pearce shoot one of his friends, sending his other friend to Space Prison (where he dies), sending Guy Pearce to Space Prison, and getting all the guards and stuff on Space Prison killed. Jesus fucking Christ Space Prison, how about you show the bad guys getting beaten up a little bit? I know you’re a French film but give me something to work with here.
Outside, President’s Daughter has given her guards the slip and is waiting for Guy Pearce. There’s a bit of light banter but she’s clearly going to bang him the second the camera stops rolling by the ancient laws of action films that ensure that the leading lady has to put out for whoever is the toughest man in the film who’s still alive at the end. I think the horrifying secret truth behind all the modern feminist posturing is that if a girl saw you absolutely beat the shit out of someone in front of her she would be unable to stop herself from putting out so hard your wang would be worn down to a nub. I didn’t say that! I’m not serious! All Margarita Movie reviews are totally tongue-in-cheek!
I’m the spacer woman from The SCALE Scale!
S - Story: 6. You really can’t beat the solid basic concept of a smartmouthed loose cannon going to Space Prison to rescue the president’s daughter from a bunch of rapists, but Space Prison blows it by not including anything else in the film that makes sense.
C - Comedy: 8. Quite a lot! MVP comedy moment is obviously when the black guy kills himself for no reason, but just referring to the film as Space Prison is worth a giggle on its own.
A - Awesomeness: 6. I’m docking 4 points for how derivative the awesomeness is in this film.
L - Ladies: 7. President’s Daughter is pretty good-looking, even when she transitions into Stealth Mode.
E - Et Cetera: 10. This was a rock-solid, completely satisfying MM. Stupid film, space, punching people, under two hours. Perfect!