"We could send in one man. One man with one very specific order. To get Emilie Warnock out."
— Agent Harry Shaw
Lockout is a 2012 action sci-fi film directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. It was written and produced by Luc Besson. The film is set aboard a super max cryogenic prison stationed in orbit.After an operation gone wrong CIA agent Snow finds himself wrongly arrested for the murder of his friend Frank Armstrong and accused of selling state secrets. Things don't look much better when Secret Service director Scott Langral presents him with evidence he killed Frank as well as claiming he saw him commit the crime with his own eyes. He is eventually threatened with incarceration on the MS One, a Supermax space penitentiary, where prisoners serve their sentence in stasis.However a chance to avoid this fate soon presents itself when the president's daughter Emilie Warnock finds herself a hostage aboard the MS One when a chain of events lead to the release of all the prisoners from stasis because prisoner Hydell is able to free all the other prisoners, after Secret Service Agent Hock violated one of the prison's rules. Hydell's brother Alex, a quite intelligent prisoner, ends up taking over the convict revolt.After some persuasion from Snow's friend agent Harry Shaw, who informs him his accomplice Mace is also there, Snow agrees to rescue Emilie from the station.
This film provides examples of:
Actor Allusion: Snow saying "Contrary to what you may think, I'm not actually Houdini". Guy Pearce actually played Houdini in the movie Death Defying Acts.
Accidental Pervert: Snow and Emilie fall out of an airvent onto the floor below, her landing on top of him with her head about even with his crotch. She looks up, he looks over at her, and says, "Oh, that isn't necessary, a simple thank you will do."
Afraid of Doctors: Snow is a mild example: He has no trouble blowing people up and shooting them but anything involving needles, surgery, or other medical equipment tends to make him at least mutter "Yech!"
Air-Vent Passageway: Snow and Emilie spend a lot of time crawling around inside the vents. Inevitably, the floor gives way and dumps them into the room below.
And I Must Scream: The cryogenic stasis prisoners are being held in has a tendency to break the minds of certain people subjected to it. Some suffer dementia whilst others simply go Ax-Crazy. When and how this happens seems to be particular to the individual and have little to do with time spent in stasis.
Attempted Rape: Hydell attempts to rape Emilie as soon as he escapes, but he's foiled by Alex, who sees the value in keeping their hostages safe and unharmed.
Badass Arm Fold: Downplayed by CIA Agent Snow. When being asked to perform the movie's main mission (go into space, save the president's daughter, yadda yadda yadda), Snow sits with his arms crossed, badass style, as he enumerates why the plan is stupid. It would be quintessentially badass, except he is in some ways powerless in the situation. He is seated, under arrest, surrounded by standing men who tower over him and are demanding that he perform a mission that he "would rather castrate myself with blunt rocks" than do. As such, Snow's badass pose (combined with his couldn't-give-a-shit demeanor) are the only things indicating bad-ass in a scene full of other potential bosses. HOWEVER, this ties into the entire movie in that Snow himself is somewhat incongruous to the world he finds himself in, and he doesn't give a shit.
Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Alex kills one prison engineer (see You Have Failed Me below) the second one has a problem getting the door open, so Alex has a third engineer brought up, shoots the second, hands the third the door control the second was trying to activate, and tells him he has two minutes to get the door open. Realizing this isn't enough time, the engineer tells him, "You can shoot me, but I can guarantee I can get the door open in five minutes." Alex is pleased, admitting how he liked that this third engineer knows how to negotiate, and lets the engineer live after he does what he said he would.
Chekhov's Gun: Hydell's scar is mentioned as having been not done by himself but by other prisoners to let everyone know he's a snitch. Snow later gives Shaw the same mark with his lighter so his new fellow inmates will know what he is as soon as the traitor arrives.
Snow's lighter swiftly turns out to be more useful than MacGyver's Swiss Army Knife. Well, almost.
Crazy-Prepared: Langral is Genre Savvy enough to get the necessary paperwork to relieve the President of the United States of his position and brings it with him. Said paperwork requires approval of the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet, meaning that he must have started the process soon after the takeover.
Establishing Character Moment: The opening sequence shows Snow to be extremely sardonic, as well as an extremely quick thinker who is good with improvisation.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Alex does seem to care about his brother, despite him being an Ax-Crazy liability. His last words are even "Who's going to care of you now?" despite having been fatally stabbed by him.
Expy: Even during the trailers people noted how Snow's character had a lot in common with Snake Plissken.
The Farmer And The Viper: Emilie suffers due to her desire to see people like Hydell treated fairly. He spends the rest of the movie killing people she knows and going out of his way to do worse to her. Arguably Alex is also victim of this trope, courtesy of the same person no less. He put up with Hydell when he would have killed anyone else because he was family. Though his death is closer to the "Scorpion and the Frog" variant given it effectively dooms them both.
Go for the Eye: Big, big squick moment when Snow is instructed, after giving Emilie a shock with a defibrilator, that she only has a few seconds to live unless he gives her an injection to the brain, by pushing a needle through her right eye, which, of course, the movie shows in vomituous detail. Even Snow lampshades how squicky it is by admitting it makes him sick.
Good Is Not Nice: Snow is snide, sarcastic, and deeply cynical throughout the movie. Most of his dialogue consists of world-weary snarkiness, and he's constantly rude to the woman he's trying to save, including cutting her hair against her will and punching her to make her pass for a male prisoner.
Harmless Freezing: Subverted. The cryogenic stasis has no ill effect on the prisoners' body, but it does seriously mess with their brain.
Heroic Sacrifice: Hock kills himself to allow Emilie more oxygen. Admittedly it was his fault she was in this mess but he did give her the time needed to escape. And of course Emilie telling her father to blow the station up despite knowing Alex was going to give her to Hydell if she did so. Subverted in that Snow comes back to save her specifically because she did this.
Hollywood Tactics: The US President orders a bunch of space fighters to rush the heavily armed MS1; instead of attacking, they fly around it and get shot up a bunch until they get into some kind of 'final attack' run for one of the fighters to drop a bomb inside the station. Instead of doing something more pragmatic, like simply shooting it down with an ICBM or something.
Left Your Lifesaver Behind: Inverted. Hock, when he's supposed to leave his gun behind. He actually brings it with him, thereby giving the criminal the only possible access to a firearm.
MacGuffin: Even before Emily gets nabbed to set up the main action, Snow is seeking a briefcase that contains proof of his innocence. Like all good Mac Guffins, its actual contents (or lack thereof) are ultimately irrelevant to its role in the plot.
Miscarriage of Justice: Snow is convicted in absentia for his 'crime.' When Snow points out that he has a constitutional right to a fair hearing, he's dismissed as having 'waived' that right by shooting a Federal Agent... Despite the whole point of a trial being that someone is innocent until proven guilty.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hock. Twice. First he brings a gun into the criminal's side of the interview room. Which allows Hydell to escape and release all the other criminals. Yeah, the whole hostage scenario was all Hock's fault. Then he locks Emilie and himself in a nitrogen death trap.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Hydell murders the warden before he was about to reveal Emilie was there. Constantly undermines his brother Alex's more Pragmatic Villainy and even kills him in a moment of madness, besides killing the person who made sure the prison didn't crash into Earth.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Emilie Warnock goes to MS One to examine the conditions the prisoners are being held in, specifically the effects of stasis causing people's minds to snap. She also notes that the prison seems to be a front for a deep space exploration company who want to test out the effects of stasis for long flights. Which turns out to be completely true. She gets shot and held hostage in a prison filled with scum that want nothing better than to rape and or kill her.
No OSHA Compliance: Snow, Emilie and Mace go through a doorway into an open airlock separating areas. Only the door which is open has a warning on it, which can't be seen until Snow strikes the button (from the inside) to close the door and open the other one, where we now see the notice (which Snow can't see). "DANGER: High Radiation Area. Protective Suits Must Be Worn." This is the only notice before entering the area and no notice appears anywhere inside the airlock.
Nothing Personal: Harry Shaw tries to tell Snow this when he's revealed to be the mole. He was offered a huge amount of wealth that he apparently couldn't turn down.
When the convicts get into the secured room where Hock and Emilie are hiding, they search and only find Hock, dead on the floor, and when one of the convicts passes under an escape hole, an explosive marked "Voice Activated" falls into his hand. Everyone else runs as the Too Dumb to Live convict says "Shit," activating the bomb he's holding.
Another convict is looking into the air vent where Snow and Emilie are escaping, and sticks his head up right into the laser target of another explosive, realizing just before it explodes that he triggered i
Pragmatic Villainy: In stark contrast to his brother Hydell, Alex recognizes the value of the hostages, especially Emilie and her entourage. He was also seems willing to work with the negotiator if only to further his own goals. Subverted with his tolerating Hydell simply because they're brothers. This undoes his plans and ends his life.
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Shaw boasts this, claiming that he's too valuable to do any hard time. Snow responds by giving him a scar that marks him as a snitch, so his fellow inmates will probably kill him.
Smoking Is Cool: Snow's character was most likely based off of the classic anti-heroes of the 20th century and like many of those heroes, Snow is depicted as a badass smoker. This is even referenced near the end when Shaw calls Snow a relic and points out that nobody smokes in the future.
Smooch of Victory: Hilarious subverted at the end when Snow is released and Emilie shows up, smiles prettily, and punches him across the face. Wincing, he says "for a second there I thought you were going to kiss me!"
Space Friction: MS One starts to have its orbit decay because the technician who's suppose to monitor its altitude is dead... Now, granted, that technically DOES happen to satellites, but it takes decades.
Stupid Evil: Hydell is pretty much a poster child for this trope, as he tries to rape the damsel or kills multiple people simply For the Evulz no matter what the consequences. He undermines his brother Alex's Pragmatic Villainy in taking hostages and keeping technicians alive to keep the space station in orbit just to satisfy his bloodlust, even though it would doom him. Hydell even kills his brother in a moment of anger when he again doesn't allow him to rape Emilie, depleting his own options even further.
Super Window Jump: Subverted. Snow leaps off a rooftop into a window, only to bounce off it.
Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Langral is eventually revealed to be this having genuinely witnessed what he thought was Snow murdering another agent. The implication at the start was he could be part of the frame up but actually turns out to be Good Is Not Nice. He also takes steps to ensure that the life of one person is not valued above the casualties the MS One would inflict after crashing into earth.
Team Killer: Hydell is just as likely to kill fellow henchmen as he is the heroes. In fact he even kills his brother in the end, despite how this in no way helps him.
Thicker Than Water: Another prisoner questions the riot leader Alex why he doesn't kill the obviously psychotic prisoner who is clearly a liability because of his homocidal urges. Alex responds that it's because that guy, Hydell, is his brother. This tragically ensures his downfall, as Hydell kills Alex himself when he refuses to put up with Hydell's lunacy anymore.
Twenty Fifth Amendment: Langral has the President of the United States removed from power by invoking section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, which, showing he is Crazy-Prepared, he's got the appropriate authorizations to do so.
What You Are in the Dark: Discussed when Snow points out that it's fairly easy to be altruistic when you're rich and powerful. Though when it turns out Emilie is willing to make the tough call, Snow accidentally overhears and goes back to save her.
Snow: "You know it's easy to be a saint with nothing on the line. You wait till you've got a serious sacrifice to make and then you'll find out who you really are."
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: One of Alex's prison henchmen outright asks this about Hydell and given his unpredictable nature and clear insanity it's a very good question. Alex responds that it's because he's his brother.
Will Not Be A Victim: this is done psychologically when Emilie refuses to cave to the demands of her kidnappers to have her father, the president, call off his attack and instead tells him to blow the space-jail (including herself) out of the sky.
You Have Failed Me / You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Alex wants to get into the room where Emilie and Hock are secured inside. He tells one of the prisoners to bring him a prison engineer. "No, two of them." When they show up, Alex shoots one of them, telling the survivor, "I hope this will eliminate the 'It's impossible to get in there' speech."