Hmmm dare I say a Die Hard clone in space? I don't wanna go there I really don't but I think I may have to slightly go there. 'Die Hard' with some continental Besson flare. That flare being evident in the rather short swish high speed bike chase sequence at the start that seems to be a curious blend of videogame and live action comicbook visuals. Either that or its just poor cgi, not sure, looked kinda neat though.
Of course its not exactly 'Die Hard' in space but once the action kicks in you do get that feeling from time to time. Prison in space ('Fortress 2') with lots of naughty spawns all in hibernation. Presidents daughter goes there to see if all the prisoners are being treated well (typical PC goodie goodie), prisoners get loose (didn't see that coming), take presidents daughter hostage so the suits send another freshly convicted badass to save the day.
That badass being Guy Pearce who does add to the 'Die Hard' theory with his snug fit t-shirt and continuous quick wit during the most awkward moments. You do get the impression he's trying his best cocky smart ass Willis routine and while a few lines are sweet it gets dull fast.
From here on the action is violent and brutal with lots of big bald men fighting each other and running amok with guns. For some reason the leaders of this convict outbreak are two Scottish brothers, I got the impression they really wanted Gerard Butler for the lead bad guy seeing as the guy they have (Regan) is a dead ringer for him. If you like brutal Scottish lunatics portrayed by fellow countrymen of England and Wales then behold the glory before thee.
So the plot is completely flat out unoriginal but the look of the sets and space sequences are impressive. Everything does look realistic, not an overblown future with silly laser guns. The sets are of cold steel designs in various tones of blue and grey, add to this the nice lighting and shadow work to really give the place an epic gloss that is slick and ultra cool. I expect nothing less than quality from Besson with action and this film does deliver exactly that with some great visuals, mainly in space.
Its a good smack in the mouth film with lots of aggression which obviously you can't take seriously. Thusly small issues of how the prisoners manage to overcome hibernation so quickly after being released, Pearce's character giving Grace's character a quick trendy haircut so she can fit in with the general population of psycho's without them noticing she's a woman (yeah right!), the end sequence plummet and can gun turrets fire bullets in outer space/orbit?....you must overlook all.
Problem is at the end of the day its just a run of the mill action flick in space with a little bit of brains around the edge. It looks good and that's its trump card, a solid action flick and expensive looking B-movie.