"Lockout" is going to get a bad rap for being "Escape From New York" in outer space.


And... for the most part... that is exactly what it is. But instead an ex-con going into a ultra maximum security prison to save the president of the United States, we have him going to save the presidents daughter. Instead on an edgy cast of Kurt Russel, Lee Van Cleef, Ernie Borgnine and Donald Pleasant we have an interesting cast of Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Joseph Gilgun and Vincent Regan. And instead of a risk-taking veteran director like John Carpenter we get a somewhat newbie team of James Mather and Stephen St. Leger as writer directors.


The set up is pretty basic, while on an official visit to a new maximum security prison to check prison conditions, the presidents daughter get grabbed by a ruthless inmate (Gilgun) while she is interviewing him. When the secret service agent assigned to her... WAIT!

This is why "Lockout" is going to get a bad rap. The premise is totally unbelievable. (1)Never would a first daughter go to a prison to personally examine it from the inside. (2) Never would she be allowed to interview one of the most ruthless prisoners even if she had the entire secret service with her. It just wouldn't happen! But I digress.


Meanwhile, an ex-CIA named Snow (Pearce) is about to be locked up for his part in a murder - of course he was set up and didn't do it. Though he apparently just committed the murder the day before, he has already been convicted, sentenced and getting shipped to the very same prison at which Emily is being held. Of course, he is offered a deal to rescue the daughter and maybe get his sentence reduced which he agrees to.


So with apparently no training in outer space combat, Snow is suited up for the ad-lib well-planned rescue mission which will pit him against 500 of the most ruthless criminals every sentenced to space.


Meanwhile the older brother (Regan) of the initial prisoner escapee has asserted his uncontested authority as the prisoner in charge over 500 ruthless prisoners who just woke up from an induce deep sleep and don't know him from squat. And he starts making demands for basically... nothing.

This is even before he even knows he has the presidents daughter! But he starts killing some of the people operating the vessel and what do you know... the prison starts losing altitude and is heading for [gasp] Earth.


Now Snow must rescue the president and get off the prison in less than eight hours or face certain atmospheric re-entry burn-up. Oh, while in the custody of the most ruthless criminals, cutthroats and rapists in the galaxy... none of the female hostages is touched.


Okay, Guy Pearce deserves to make money between serious films (his next film is Ridley Scott's much awaited "Prometheus") so I don't begrudge him for taking this part. Maggie Grace didn't do her career any harm, after all her biggest claim to fame is "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" and "Faster".


Bad guys Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun probably improved their lot as they were, as always, convincing bad guys though slathered in tons of cliche. No, the only ones to suffer are James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. Don't they realize if they had made it just a bit more believable it would have been a better film? Why not have the first daughter's breakdown while passing the prison? That would have made more sense!


Nope, the best that the directors could do was come up with a totally unbelievable scenario. That is where the film fails, otherwise, its a relatively entertaining romp of violence.


"Lockout" insults the viewing public with a ludicrous set-up and an even more ludicrous finale. Somewhere along the line directors must realize that even in nonsensical bloodbaths, the story has to have an air of believability to work.