Monday, September 23, 2013
It must be good, if Luc Besson Presents.
You know it's going to be awesome from the parade of shady European production house logos at the beginning. 'Luc Besson presents'? Does that mean Luc Besson was driving his vintage Aston Martin along the Riviera while getting head from a Swiss prostitute in trashy lederhosen one sunny afternoon (which is how I imagine a director like Luc Besson spends his spare time) and got a phone call from a guy he knew from poker night who yelled, "Luc! Can I put your name in the credits of my movie so it looks legit?" And Luc, who was somewhat occupied, yelled back, "Oui! Fine! Whatever you say! Oui! Oui!! OUI!"
'Lockout,' or 'Lockdown' (I can't remember which one it is), is a science-fictiony movie about the always ineffably appealing Guy Pearce HAVING TO RESCUE THE PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER FROM A SPACE PRISON. That plot definitely deserves to be in all-caps. OK, I lied. I said that shit about Luc Besson just to plant an image in your mind. Luc Besson wrote this movie, he didn't just agree to be in the credits because he owed a guy money.
This movie succeeds (by my personal definition of success) for two solid reasons. The first is the sparkling dialogue.
Dude from 'Fargo': "Who was the mystery man on the phone?"
Guy Pearce: "Uh, his name was fuck you."
Dude from 'Fargo': "Really."
Guy Pearce: "Yeah, he was Asian."
As Luc Besson would say, "OUI!" I wish all dialogue in the movies was like this. It reminds me of pleasant days after junior high spent playing Crystal Castles against my younger brother, swapping pithy bon mots. But forgive me for digressing yet again; let's return to the plot. The President's daughter, played by the most irritating character on 'Lost' (and that's saying something), ends up escaping with Guy Pearce by dressing like a convict and wearing the wig Julia Roberts wore in 'Sleeping with the Enemy':
I acknowledge that showing a picture of Julia Roberts in a wig from 'Sleeping with the Enemy' has nothing to do with this, but I'll take any excuse to talk about 'Sleeping with the Enemy.' Anyhow, they're trying to avoid getting raped or killed by the second reason this movie succeeds - the super awesome scenery chewing insane with insanity character covered in tats with facial scars and a fucked-up eye played, of course, by a crazy British guy:
Hee hee hee hee. One of the most important character design cliches is when you create a villain, give him a fucked-up eye so we know he's a villain. If you don't, we might not know that he's a bad guy. Luckily, in 'Lockout,' he has one (as you can see from the top image), so you don't have to work too hard. Because this movie is concerned with the truth, at the end Guy Pearce and the girl from 'Lost' solve all the story's problems by blowing up the prison. They escape by jumping into outer space and landing tidily on a freeway overpass, only to find out that SPOILER ALERT THE GUY GUY PEARCE THOUGHT WAS HIS FRIEND WAS ACTUALLY THE BAD GUY O NOES END SPOILER. But he didn't have a fucked-up eye! That is some tomfoolery on Luc Besson's part. He did, however, have a terrible American accent, so maybe that should have been the giveaway. Then our heroes walk into the sunset together swapping sexytime witticisms in a much-needed riff on the ending of 'Casablanca.'
As a bonus I had some semi-respectable members of the visual effects industry who shall remain nameless inspect this movie for quality control. The unanimous consensus was that the effects in the beginning in particular - when Guy Pearce is running away from the cops on a godddamned unicycle - were the worst ever in the history of cinema. Ever. In the history of cinema.
Them's fightin' words! Luckily, I agree.
I do feel like they dropped the ball with the end credits, though. This is one of those movies that desperately needed a gag reel running in the credits. That, or a post-credits bonus scene to make us think there's going to be a sequel. Maybe a quick scene of Leeloo and the crazy British guy re-enacting 'My Dinner with Andre'? Something like that.