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'Lockout' review: An absolute must-rent

**1/2 (out of four)

Add “in space” to “Escape from New York” or “Con Air” and you pretty much get the gist of “Lockout,” an action movie with ambitions only of stupid fun and completely ridiculous, logic-bending action. The “fun” part comes and goes.

Guy Pearce stars as Snow, a wrongly convicted ex-CIA operative in 2079 Washington, D.C. with a choice to make: Succumb to a 30-year sentence in an outer-space prison that freezes its inmates or sneak onto the maximum-security facility, which murderer and rapist inmates have recently overtaken, and save the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace of “Taken”). Despite the 497 prisoners sure to disapprove, Snow takes the job.

Rocking a “Warning: offensive” T-shirt and an attitude to match, Pearce brings dry wit to Snow’s constant, annoyed sarcasm until the guy’s personality goes from charming to grating. He’s better when turning down the smartass and turning up the badass to take on the prisoners’ leaders (Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun) who don’t do aggressive Irish stereotypes any favors.

Perhaps on their next project, first-time feature directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger will deliver action that favors excitement over chaos. Yet the laughs and the ultimate, oddly winning absurdity of a laws-of-physics-be-damned climax translate into a good-enough adventure that will look especially good-enough from your couch.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

 

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