Catastrophe strikes during the President’s daughter’s humanitarian mission to an orbiting space prison, and she’s take hostage during an inmate uprising. Now she’s isolated in space, surrounded by hundreds of hostile inmates, and time is running short before the prison station’s orbit decays and it plummets to Earth.
Rescue seems impossible.
Thankfully, the country has just the guy for the job.
Wise-cracking ex-CIA agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is caught in a set-up.
After attempting to intervene and save an ex-contact’s life, Snow makes off with a valuable briefcase, but is framed for murder and treason. Captured, interrogated, and beaten, Snow is told he’ll be put into stasis for 30 years… without a trial.
However, at the same moment, events are unfolding which will lead to his opportunity for freedom. During a humanitarian investigation of the treatment of inmates aboard the orbital prison MS One, the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) is captured during a prison uprising. She had suspected that wealthy corporations were funding research on prisoners in stasis in order to test the potential for deep space travel. She also feared that the stasis itself is harmful to prisoners, potentially causing dementia. While interviewing a prisoner, however, her team is the catalyst in the escape that leads to the mass awakening and freeing of the prisoners, and her subsequent captivity.
A direct assault on the prison is deemed too dangerous, both for the President’s daughter, and to the stability of the station. Should the station fall out of orbit, it could obliterate the eastern seaboard. So the plan becomes to send in a single operative to attempt to rescue her.
Even though it sounds like a suicide mission, Snow accepts. It’s his only chance to escape stasis, and his associate who hid the briefcase is on the station. He’s going in.
Onboard, a cheesy action movie with a dash of action movie romance ensues. Snow is a wise cracking, exasperated pessimist, and yet sparks fly between he and the President’s daughter. In a nearby space station, the President and the Secret Service try to coordinate his mission remotely, giving plenty of opportunity for Snow to balk at directions and crack wise. The villains are wonderfully menacing, and often are their own worst enemies. There’s plenty of fun to be had watching them chew scenery, threaten hostages, and fight with each other. And of course, eventually the station loses orbit, so the countdown clock to destruction is on.
Pearce is fun as the singly named Snow, and Grace gives him someone to trade barbs with nicely. There arent that many great action scenes, per se, but the story manages to keep your interest pretty well, and then the characters move it along.
It’s a fun enough movie, but never really over the top enough for me to fully enjoy it as cheese. Nor is it quite serious enough for me to embrace it as a straightforward actioner. As it is, it’s kind of a light, disposable, don’t think too hard action flick, but I doubt it’s anything that would make a “Cheese-Tastic Classic” one day. Were one of the mind to, you could easily pick a thousand holes in it, or point out some of the occasionally bad CGI, or the low-budget acting, but the movie knows what it is and just tries to give you some entertainment for your ticket price.