Lockout Blu-ray Review
There's no denying that the Region B locked 1080p 2.4:1 aspect AVC encode is fantastic. In fact, it's just shy of spectacular. Whilst it has some glaring deficiencies that have been well documented, most notably the particularly dodgy CG sequence on the motorbike at the beginning of the film, frequently excused with the term "stylistic" (I'm not buying that for a second) - the digitally shot picture is otherwise excellent.
Blacks are the stand out performer for me, deep and strong. They never feel like they're anywhere close to being crushed, and save for a light pepering of grain, there's no colour deficiencies in them. Shadow detail is excellent, and it ought to be considering how frequently it's put to the test with dark scenes and strong focussed lighting.
Detail is impeccable throughout, with fine object detail revealing the most intricate of subtleties on props. Textures on clothing is fantastic, with close ups revealing the fine weave on some of the prosoners suits and Snow's Flak Jacket. Another notable element on close ups is the skin texture, with every bristle of stubble on every prisoners face descerable, along with beads of sweat on Snow's face. Really stunning. The president's daughter's hair, though unrealistically impeccable at all times, has an incredible looking texture to it. Particles of debris after explosions (and there's quite a lot of those) are distinguishable and really show off the movie's attention to detail.
Colour is handled well, with very deliberate grading decisions leave the picture leaning towards deep blues and yellows. This in turn gives a vaguely greenish hue to the overall picture. Skin tones often have a slightly yellowish hue to them hue as a result, but largely they look natural - a sign of gentle but deliberate grading. The orange of the prisoners jump suits really pop against the somewhat bleak and dark backdrop of the prison. Nothing feels too saturated and always seems to be under control. Contrast is heavy, but not pushed past the point at which we lose depth to the image.
I can categorically state with all confidence that there is nothing unruly here, no notcable DNR, leaving a lovely breath of grain over the image, no edge enhancement (it absolutely doesn't need it), great shadow delineation, all in all a fantastic image.
Now... Just when you thought this glowing picture review was done, there comes a big fat "but". You've probably guessed what I'm about to mention, and perhaps you thought Lockout might have gotten away with it this time, purely on the basis that I personally genuinely enjoyed the movie. The dodgy CG. In it's defense, it's only one scene that is stand-out terrible and that's the bike scene towards the beginning of the movie. It's a joke - awful. Borderline unforgivable. It comes early on in the movie, and you will notice it, even if you haven't heard literaly everyone that's seen this movie mention in already. Here's the "but"...
It will not ruin the movie for you. It will not degrade your enjoyment one bit. It's there and that's never going to change, and we could argue all day about how it should have been left on the cutting room floor, but it wasn't. For me, this is just one of those things that we have to get through and move on. Once you can do that, it really won't spoil anything at all. However, it can't go unnoticed, and therefore, the otherwise impeccable picture drops a point here, a small token by way of apology.
The DTS-HD Master audio track that Lockout boasts is excellent. A brilliant example of the DTS format, and one that gave my system a rare old work out. Dialogue is crisp and clear, and never gets lost despite the huge amount of explosive effects. High frequencies are reverberated authentically despite the fact that there was a considerable amount of ADR on the production. There's a depth and gravel-like quality to Vincent Regan's ominous and muted delivery that fully demostrates the range of frequncies that have been given attention. That's just the dialogue.
Everything about this audio track is bombastic. Literally booming and cracking and whirring and whizzing all around the surround and frontal array. The dynamic range is huge, and really lets gunshots and punches and any other impacts to power through, always maintaining a balance with the music and dialogue. In fact, even when there's heavy driving orchestral music and fighting going on, the wise-cracks and witty quips still cut through brilliantly, and the reverb tail is still audible.
LFE is, well... It's everywhere! However this is no bad thing, as it's always adding a lower register depth to the proceedings. You don't often hear music mixed to the LFE, and I suspected it felt rich for the amount going on, and upon further investigation, I was surprised to see that some of it was indeed mixed into the LFE. Quite a brave move really, especially considering how much of the music was mixed to the surround array too. Amazing how it didn't turn into a messy din of cocophonous audio mush. Top marks.
A decent raft of extras here, contrary to the US release which is rather refreshing to see, though some of it is reused, and some is inexplicably in French.
Interviews with Cast and Crew -
Interesting, informative and often quite funny, this is a collection of cast and crew interviews with -
Guy Pearce - discussing his character in an honest and very likeable way. He obviously enjoyed beefing up for the movie as he explains how he loved shooting in Serbia near some fantastic gyms that he used everyday.
Maggie Grace - Relatively dull, comes across a bit bland, and it's almost as if she tries to fit as many big words in as she can in a sentence.
Joseph Gilgun - Jo, who plays Hydell is hilarious in interviews. Definitely worth a watch
Stepeh St. Ledger - One of the two directors giving his humble take on working with Luc Besson
Torsion Field's Sequence - Bizarrely this is all in French and is subtitled. I guess I was missing something, but I expected it to be narrated by one of the directors, who are both Irish. Anyway, its a discection of one of the movies many action sequences in which Snow must fight a beefy bad guy in a zero gravity environment with three huge fans below him.
MS One Action - A five minute segment that reuses some of the interview footage interspersed with action scenes on the space prison.
MS One Construction - An eight minite examination of the design and construction of the space prison, with footage of the serbian crew building sets and painting little details in. Strangely, completely un-narrated.
Unreleased Scenes - Two and a half minutes of unseen footage. Pretty self explanatory.
Lockout is a fast paced actioner that when taken as it's intended is entirely enjoyable. Luc Besson pulls the strings behind the scenes and with a somewhat B-list cast supporting an on-form Guy Pearce, it's virtually impossible not to enjoy the movie as much as the cast enjoyed making it. Pearce is clearly enjoying himself in the role as Snow, an ex soldier, framed for a crime he did not commit, delivering funny one liners all over the place whilst simultaneously punching everyone in the face almost all the time. Set on a space prison some time in the future, comparisons have been made between it being a cross between Die Hard and Bladerunner. The former, I can relate to with the similarities between the central character here and Bruce (perma-smirk) Willis as John Maclane, the latter is more of a stretch. Borrowing heavily from the many actioners that preceded it, including Escape from New York, it's an all out white-knuckle actioner that will punch you right in the chops with it's tongue in cheek charm.
With impeccable visuals, let down only by one terrible CG scene which the movie more than makes up for, it's round about the reference mark for quality. Audio is no exception with a brilliant audio track, though a largely forgettable score, the package on the whole is a winner. Sure, it's not to everyone's tastes, but if a balls to the wall out and out action romp is your cup of tea, you won't go far wrong with Lockout.
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