Monday, April 16, 2012

Four Reasons You Might Be Drunk Enough to Watch Lockout

 Lockout is not a good movie. It's not even a "so bad it's good" movie. Lockout is a series of movie-like images played in sequence (mostly) scotch-taped to a five minute short film of Peter Stormare interrogating Guy Pearce, who only makes wisecracks about "trampolining" Stormare's wife. Under most circumstances, this sounds like a So You Won't Have To candidate, but I come to you with another possibility. One that acknowledges Lockout is a lousy movie. Maybe even barely a movie.

 That is not to say that it is unwatchable. If you were, shall we say, inebriated beyond the point that you cared whether a movie makes sense or not, you might be the target audience for this film. I suppose you could be something other than drunk, but Cap'n Howdy's Blogorium does not endorse the use of drugs or any other illegal activity. We're on the "up and up" here, so to speak, so if you'd rather find another way to be so intoxicated that Lockout is appealing, that is your business.

 Allow me to present four scenarios under which you could enjoy Lockout:

 1. The "USA Up All Night" Effect - So let's say it's 3:00 in the morning, and you've managed to get yourself home after last call without running over anything, stumbled into your apartment, raided the fridge for comfort food, and collapsed on the couch. You press the remote, but it slips from your grasp and rolls somewhere on the floor. Not so far away you couldn't pick it up, but dammit, you're drunk. Fuck that remote.

 Fortunately, USA Up All Night is on*, and Lockout is starting. Guy Pearce is being a smartass and getting punched in the face for it. You're laughing because the censors went easy on Lockout (it's only PG-13, but like you care right now) and they leave in the line "his name was fuck you... yeah, he was Asian." So what the hell, you think, I can sit here and watch this. Lockout requires no effort on your part, just sit there and don't pay attention. The President's daughter went up to SPACE PRISON and the inmates got loose and now they're holding her hostage. And only one man can save them... Snake Plissken. No, wait, Snow. Snow Snow. No, wait. Marion Snow (That's Guy Pearce's character).

 Let's say you don't remember locations so well in this haze in this stupor of yours. Good news! Lockout has a title card for nearly every character and every building in the film. Some of them, like MS One (it stands for Maximum Security and not Microsoft) and LOPD (Low Orbit Police Department) repeatedly, as though you were returning from a commercial break. Perhaps a commercial break with Rhonda Shear or Gilbert Gottfried. Lockout wants you to take it easy while it does the heavy lifting. Not well, mind you, but it's giving the bare minimum of effort and a D Minus is still a passing grade.

 Speaking of barely passing grades...

 2. The Laws of Physics aren't Important to You - Look, your head is already swimming from that "power hour" and then the shots. And the other "power hour." And that Appletini you sipped on to get that girl's phone number when her friend wasn't all up in your business. It's HARD to want to think about the myriad of stupid things that Lockout does that can't possibly happen. So fuck it, man! You're drunk!

 Yeah, so you can't just let go of something in space and then fall in the right direction no matter what. Repeatedly. Sure, it's a really bad idea to have a SPACE PRISON that isn't in geosynchronous orbit and is instead piloted by one guy. The exact guy that the prisoners shot out of the airlock. Wait... no, they shot the Warden out of the airlock. I guess it happened off camera. They said it happened, so now SPACE PRISON is going to crash into Earth (LOPD is in geosynchronous orbit, so that's not an issue, even though the International Space Station crashed into a window in SPACE PRISON but just caused a guy to freeze and didn't suck him into the vacuum of space).

 But hey man, why do you want to think about that shit? You're trying to focus on holding a 2-Liter Cherry Coke in one hand and half of a Quiznos Meatball footlong from this afternoon in the other. You don't have time to wonder why pilots in space are wearing the same gear they would if they were flying jets, which would mean their cockpits were somehow... never mind. Shit, you just dropped a meatball on your t-shirt, and it rolled on the floor. Probably next to the remote. Damn. That's DOWN THERE, and right now we are not speaking of DOWN THERE. We've got SPACE PRISON up here.

 So now Snow and the President's daughter (Maggie Grace from Taken) are free falling through Earth's atmosphere and their suits start burning up but then stop. SPACE PRISON blows up, which makes them fly even faster, and a piece of debris hits the President's daughter (man, who cares what her name is?) but doesn't pulverize her spinal cord (and neither did the explosion) so when her suit comes off Snow can just grab her and they can breathe and his parachute will definitely support both of them as they land on a freeway that is coincidentally in the SAME CITY WE STARTED THE FILM IN.

 That City? New York. Wow, this movie is a lot like Escape from New York, but in space. Man, you feel pretty pleased with yourself about that. Chug some Cherry Coke for that, and don't worry about that last paragraph, man. It's just a movie.

 3.The Phrase "High Speed Unicycle Chase" Sounds Cool - Don't worry that the high speed Unicycle chase is blurry and impossible to follow. You ARE drunk, but it looks that way normally.

 4. Damn Right That's Original! - Lockout is "based on an original idea by Luc Besson," which may be the only thing funnier than all of Guy Pearce's wisecracks. Thankfully, the fact that just about every plot element is a ripoff of a movie I guarantee you've seen, you're drifting in and out thanks to that meatball sub and it really comes in handy to wake up just in time to see something familiar.

 At first, it might trick you into thinking you're watching another movie: the prisoners frozen in stasis reminds you of Demolition Man, and then they unfreeze immediately. One guy even has the presence of mind to see two guards walking by, so he pretends he's still frozen (the only prisoner still frozen) in order to get the jump on them. We already covered Escape from New York (and if you're really drunk, you might just assume that Escape from LA is the same movie, where Plissken actually goes in to rescue the President's daughter), and wait... Maggie Grace was in Taken, where she was Taken by disreputable ethnic stereotypes, right? Okay, let's replace "Middle Eastern" with "Irish," make the lead bad guys brothers, and what the hell? You can follow this. No problem.

 Now maybe there's a way a sober person could watch this film and not suffer from a head explosion, Scanners-style. I guess that's possible, as just about anything is possible. People cheered for the Battleship trailer ("from Hasbro, The Company that Brought You Transformers") when it played before Lockout, and I'd be willing to wager that this film is far more watchable than anything Michael Bay's done in the last ten years.

 I'm just saying that there were five of us watching the film together, and when we weren't laughing hysterically at the lapses of logic, plot holes you could pilot SPACE PRISON through, and the terrible dialogue, we were flummoxed by how anything that happened in Lockout could possibly happen. You can't even turn your brain off and enjoy how stupid the film is because it keeps trying to explain things. And it does such a terrible job that it only compounds the issue.

 Let us for the moment ignore the fact that the title doesn't make any sense.

 You can watch Lockout, and maybe you'll want to. I cannot in good conscience recommend you pay money to see it, or even say that I recommend it. I don't want you calling me evil after you walk out of the film with permanent brain freeze. But if you happen to be very drunk and Lockout happens to be on television and it's too late at night to bother doing anything else, then it's a movie you can pass out during, wake up intermittently, and probably tell your friends it was "all right."

 * Because you're drunk, this might be confusing, as you still know that USA Up All Night hasn't been on in years, but what the hell, who am I to question this? It beats reruns of NCIS.

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