So...did you catch that quintessential moment of genre soullessness?
There's a kind of purity to the film's amorality, a blank and drooling truthiness.Well, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. It's that line, "Everyone's dead here," which actually means not that all human beings on the station have been killed -- because Emily's looking at a roomful of human beings with guns on her, after all. Rather, it means, loosely, "all the innocent people have been killed" -- or, more accurately, "all the good guys have been killed." The bad guys -- all those mother-rapers and father-stabbers, as Arlo Guthrie might put it -- are, definitionally, nobody. They have been cast out of the human family. Their fate is simply to leer and fester and then to be bloodily torn to shreds by some big daddy whose duty it is to restore order.
Emily, then, is essentially suggesting that the prison break be ended through the cold-blooded murder of every single prisoner in the station. This is something of a spiritual journey for her. When we first meet her, she's an idealistic reformer. She's come to MS-1 in the first place in order to investigate prison conditions. MS-1 puts all of its convicts in chemically-induced stasis. Emily represents a humanitarian NGO that is concerned that being drugged into a stupor for decades may adversely affect the prisoners. She's also worried that the prison may be using the convicts for illegal medical experiments. The stasis process is being considered for deep space exploration, and the prisoners make great guinea pigs.
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So, yes, this movie is vacuous. , There's a kind of purity to its amorality, a blank and drooling truthiness. I appreciate, for instance, the bland symmetry with which the film has decided that if the first daughter is not going to be black, then, by George, the prisoners shouldn't be black either. In the future, there are not, apparently, any racial dimensions to the justice system. Indeed, there are simply no dimensions to the justice system at all. MS-1 is not a towering symbol of government corruption and oppression; it's not a deserved punishment for the worst of the worst. Instead, it's merely a trope, which allows the name actors to express their compassion or resolve as the rudderless script moves them. Whether prisoners are mistreated or falsely imprisoned, whether they are driven to dementia or slaughtered outright, is a matter of complete indifference to Lockout. All it wants is a convenient warehoused population which can absorb its pity, its contempt, its loathing, and its occasional bursts of machine-gun fire and machismo.
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