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Lockout: Unrated Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 14, 2012 by  



In your face action! “Lockout: Unrated Edition” may be a popcorn action film, but for action film fans, “Lockout” looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray and its immersive lossless audio soundtrack is impressive!  If you are looking for a straight-up action film on Blu-ray that delivers in video and audio, you won’t be disappointed with “Lockout: Unrated Edition”.

Image courtesy of © 2011 EuropaCorp. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: Lockout: Unrated Edition

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2012

DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 Aspect Ratio, English, Italian, Portuguese  5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: UNRATED

DVD RELEASE DATE: July 17, 2012

Directed by James Mather, Stephen St. Leger

Screenplay by Stephen St. Leger, James Mather, Luc Besson

Based on the original idea by Luc Besson

Executive Producer: Luc Besson, Andjelija Vlaisavljevic

Producer: Marc Libert, Leila Smith

Music by Alexandre Azaria

Cinematography by James Mather

Edited by Camille Delamarre, Eamonn Power

Production Design by Romek Delmata

Art Direction by Oliver Hodge, Frank Walsh

Set Decoration by Malcolm Stone

Costume Design by Olivier Beriot

Starring:

Guy Pearce as Snow

Maggie Grace as Emilie Warnock

Vincent Regan as Alex

Joseph Gilgun as Hydell

Lennie James as Harry Shaw

Peter Stormare as Scott Langral

Jacky Ido as Hoc

Tim Plester as John James Mace

Mark Tankersley as Barnes

Anne-Solenne Hatte as Kathryn

Peter Hudson as President Warnock

Luc Besson (Director of The Fifth Element) presents this futuristic thriller about a renegade CIA agent (Guy Pearce, PROMETHEUS) who is betrayed by his government and sentenced to 30 years frozen in a cryonic chamber 50 miles above Earth. The only way to avoid serving time is a suicide mission – overcome a gang of ruthless prisoners and rescue the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace, Taken).

When it comes to action films, Luc Besson definitely knows how to entertain the masses.

From films such as “The Fifth Element”, “Leon: The Professional”, “Taken”, the “Taxi” films to name a few, Besson is well-known for his films. He’s also known as a man who gives people chances to shine in his film, not just as acting talent but also as part of the crew.

For the 2012 film “The Lockout”, Besson produced co-wrote the screenplay for the film with co-directors/co-writers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger (the film would be the duo’s directorial debut).

The film would star Guy Pearce (“Memento”, “L.A. Confidential”, “The Hurt Locker”), Maggie Grace (“Lost”, “Taken”, “Knight and Day”) and Vincent Regan (“300”, “Troy”, “Unleashed”).

While the film is generally known as a popcorn action film that did make more than its budget, Guy Pearce did receive positive reviews as an action star.

And now “Lockout: Unrated Edition” will be released on Blu-ray in July 2012.

“Lockout” is a film that is set in the distant future, the year 2079 and begins with CIA Agent Snow (as portrayed by Guy Pearce) who is working on a case regarding a CIA agent selling secrets about the space program.  Unfortunately, Snow is suspected of killing an undercover agent and when Snow tries to take the case featuring state secrets, he is pursued by police and is captured.

Secret Service director Scott Langral (as portrayed by Peter Stormare) threatens to have Snow incarcerated in the maximum security space penitentiary known as MS One.  A place where prisoners are kept in a controversial frozen “stasis” as they await their sentencing.  Meanwhile, as the Secret Service grills now about the whereabouts of the briefcase, Snow’s friend, Agent Harry Shaw (as portrayed by Lennie James), tries to locate Snow’s contact, Mace, who may know where the secret information is hidden.

Meanwhile, the President’s daughter, Emilie Warnock (as portrayed by Maggie Grace), has arrived at MS One to conduct an investigation with prisoners regarding “stasis” and if it has affected their minds and led them to dementia.  As Emilie’s group is warned not to bring firearms while they interview the prisoners, when they approach the sadistic prisoner known as Hydell, he manages to steal a hidden revolver that Emilie’s bodyguard was concealing and escapes.

Now Hydell has released prisoners from MS One, including his brother Alex, who becomes the leader of the prisoners.

With a riot now taking place on MS One and the President’s daughter is possibly a hostage inside the prison, the Secret Service feels they can send one man to rescue her and that is Snow.  At first, Snow is reluctant to help the government, especially since he was beaten during his questioning.  But when his friend Harry tells him that Mace is inside MS One and can help him prove his innocence by finding him and finding the whereabouts of the case.

So, Snow decides to take up the job and is taken to MS One to save the president’s daughter.

VIDEO:

“Lockout: Unrated Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  The film looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray!  From the opening scene of seeing the stubble on Guy Pearce’s chin to the closeup of Maggie Grace’s eye.  And the fact that a lot of the film’s settings are CG, there resolution is high and detail is fantastic.  It’s important to note that the film is more on the cool side, as the film is shot in a metallic structure of blues and grays.    But overall, “Lockout: Unrated Edition” looks impressive!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Lockout: Unrated Edition” is presented in English, Italian, Portugues 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  And as one can expect from a Besson-related film, that is plenty of action.  There are explosions galore, gunshots galore, metal breaking apart, people being slammed, a chase scene… the lossless soundtrack for “Lockout” is immersive, chaotic and for audiophiles, they will love the immersiveness of this film.  Dialogue is crystal clear, music and special effects are crystal clear, great use of surround channels and LFE.  Impressive!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Lockout” comes with the following special features:

  • Breaking Into Lockout – Making Of – (11:07) Featuring the directors and cast talking about their characters and working on the film.
  • A Vision of the Future – Production Design & Special Effects – (10:13) Interview with Frank Walsh (Supervising Art Director), Oliver Hooge (Art Director) and richard Bain (Visual Effects Supervisor) talking about the visual effects of the film and the use of green screen.

EXTRAS:

“Lockout: Unrated Edition” comes with a slipcase plus an UltraViolet code for instantly stream or download to PC or Mac.

Guy Pearce has been given new life as the action hero Snow in the film “Lockout”.  While directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, “Lockout” has the look and feel of a frenetic Besson popcorn action film!

“Lockout” takes the banal concept of things go wrong in prison and it’s up to one man to save the day.  Seems very Jack Bauer (for those familiar with “24”) but the prison is set in space and instead of grungy concrete walls, you get metallic, danky prison settings, we are given a green screen CGI futuristic prison setting which actually looks very cool!

In fact, the sci-fi futuristic visuals are well-done.  The visual effects crew were very good in focusing on creating a sci-fi look and feel of the film.  But working entirely in green screen also presents a major problem with the fact that many actors have problems in acting when no one is there and reacting when nothing is around you but green. They have to trust the director and crew and it’s not the easiest thing to do for an actor.

And so, this presents the problem of “Lockout”, the acting.  While I thought the wisecracking, stoic Snow worked well for Guy Pearce, anyone wanting more depth with his character will be sadly disappointed.   If there was anything that really didn’t make sense or work is the one man having to infiltrate the prison to save the President’s daughter.  One man?  President’s daughter?  Farfetched isn’t it? For some people, it was.

But audiences should know by now, Luc Besson films are popcorn action films that are not meant to be taken to seriously.

From “La Femme Nikita”, “Leon: The Professional” and even the “Taxi” films, these films revolved around a single person getting involved in some trouble but yet managing to save the day despite the odds or how crazy things may seem.

It’s like watching a Roland Emmerich film, you know there will be tons of action and a lot of destruction in the world.  No way should one expect anything deep or romantic, you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

I am in awe to read some people who felt disappointed that “Lockout” was not mentally challenging or there was not enough bloody violence.  And once again, I bring up the fact that this is a Luc Besson film.  This is not a David Fincher film, nor is it a banal horror film.  The film is about one man trying to save the President’s daughter and get the hell out of the prison.

The antagonists are angry prison inmates and the callousness of some of these inmates are shown effectively (many innocent people randomly) and yes, even the president’s daughter, Emilie, played by Maggie Grace, the scared and fearful hostage (although, we have seen this before for Maggie Grace in Besson’s other film “Taken” and wouldn’t be surprised if we see the same type of emotions coming from the character in the upcoming “Taken 2”).

But the fact is that these films are never meant to be serious, they are popcorn action films, nothing more and nothing less.

As for the Blu-ray release, I’m not entirely sure what scenes are unrated as the original runtime is 95 minutes and the unrated version is 95 minutes.  But I can say the film looks absolutely fantastic in HD courtesy of its CG environment.  Closeups are full of detail, such as one scene where you can see the stubble of Pearce so clearly, or even the detailed cuts of a character.  The film looks excellent on Blu-ray and it has a lossless soundtrack that is also quite immersive, considering the many action scenes.  The disappointment was mainly of its two only special features.  An audio commentary or more special features other than two, would have been nice to have on this Blu-ray release.

Overall, “Lockout” was a film that I enjoyed.  And for those who enjoy popcorn action films, especially films in futuristic settings will definitely enjoy “Lockout: Unrated Edition”.






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