Five hundred of Earth’s worst prisoners, all English-speaking males, do their time “in a state of stasis” inside an orbiting penitentiary. It’s 2079. The fifty-sixth U.S. president’s do-gooder daughter Emilie (Maggie Grace) shuttles up to monitor the bad guys’ sweet artificial dreams. Her tour of the privatized prototype goes seriously south. Prisoners wake up, run riot, and overrun the LOPD (Low Orbit Police Department.) The plan for rescuing the First Daughter is to insert ex-CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce), a hardcase wisecracker doing thirty years on Earth for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit espionage. “Lockout” is an action chase thriller accessorized with subplots about an insidious CIA insider, psycho-sibling rivals, a dementia-afflicted sidekick, and secret human experiments. The Irish duo Stephen Saint-Leger and James Mather co-direct a script based on “an original idea by Luc Besson,” who is on board as an executive producer. In their fifteen-minute 2004 short “Prey Alone,” an investigator sends fighter jets through subway tunnels in pursuit of an international fugitive. Turns out everyone is a character in a video game. That conceit partly carries over to “Lockout,” a “futuristic thriller that refuses to take itself seriously.” St. Leger sees the pair played by Pearce and Grace as locked in a replay of the roles Bogart and Hepburn had in “African Queen.” Agent Snow’s zingers get tiresome about the same time Grace grates in her trite trajectory. With Peter Stormare, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Tim Plester. 95m. (Bill Stamets)
“Lockout” opens Friday.