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What’s your dad doing this weekend? If you call him up, brace yourself for the usual small talk, and then invite him out to see this solid throwback to the days of Die Hard and Cobra. You’ll be rewarded with an ear-to-ear grin that says 1988 never ended.

Lockout is the kind of manly nonsense no one wants to make anymore. (Today’s action heroes have to speak too much dialogue and love kids.) Memento’s Guy Pearce, on something of a roll following his peevish Monty in HBO’s Mildred Pierce, is our taciturn hero, Snow, an ex–CIA operative living in a dingy future. Having been set up for a crime he didn’t commit, Snow is bound for an outer-space prison where, coincidentally, the President’s adult daughter (Maggie Grace) is visiting. Things get scarily out of hand in orbit, the inmates run wild, and Snow’s got to rise to the stature of Escape from New York’s Snake Plissken in a hurry.

Some of the digital effects have a regrettable cheesiness about them (France’s Luc Besson is a producer and writer), and there are a few unintentional laughs involving cryogenic freezing. But where else are you going to find terse, Hawksian flirtation and—that perennial chestnut—a foreign-accented baddie (wiry Joseph Gilgun as a deranged inmate)? These were once pleasures enough; they still are, for those who can leave behind the yammering.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday April 13 2012
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stephen St Leger, James Mather
Screenwriter: James Mather, Luc Besson
Cast: Peter Stormare
Guy Pearce
Maggie Grace
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