Making the Grades
Late in the 21st Century the United States has supposedly figured out the ultimate money making tool. Called MS1, it’s a jail in space where countries all over the world can rent a place to house their most dangerous criminals. With a half million nasty convicts on board, all kept in a comatose state, it appears to be the perfect landlord opportunity and security solution. That is until Emilie (Maggie Grace), the American President’s daughter, becomes convinced a major investor in the prison operation is using the inmates as space research guinea pigs.
Embarking on a humanitarian mission to check out the situation for herself, Emily’s arrival sets off a series of events that result in an unexpected awakening of the incarcerated population. When the guards prove helpless to contain the rioters, officials are forced to turn to the only man capable of saving the girl: Another criminal named Snow (Guy Pearce) who has just been sentenced to MS1 himself for conspiracy against the government.
Brimming with ferocious action that features shootings, stabbings, and torture, this film will likely have parents scratching their heads in wonder about movie ratings in the U.S. And the violence is only half the story (well… perhaps it is literally all the story…). Profanities are heard throughout, including a sexual expletive, various scatological remarks and terms of Christian deity. There are sexual comments and innuendo as well. Add to this a questionable hero character (who is a chain-smoker) and the final product hardly seems appropriate for a PG-13 audience.
But those are not the only reasons teens and adults would be better off saving their money. In actuality, the only benefit offered by this film is it’s short running time. Along with assaulting your ears with a pounding overwrought score, the movie also touts a protagonist who cracks jokes just long enough to run out of time before the bad guys arrive and a predictable script that ignores basic science (like the law of gravity). My verdict for this painful production is to lock it up and throw the keys away.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Lockout.
Is keeping a prison space ship an economically viable proposal? In 2009 in California, the cost to keep an inmate in prison for one year was roughly $47,000. With the ship’s supposed 500,000 inmates, that equals $23.5 billion per year (assuming the cost would equal that of a Earth based prison). The total cost to date for the International Space Station is $150 billion (including Space Shuttle flights) and it accommodates a maximum crew of 7… although they aren’t put to sleep for their entire stay.
Why do movie scripts often rely on convicts and ne’er-do-wells to save the world? What does this say about our perceived attitudes toward government law enforcement?