It's a mission so impossible that not even the U.S. Marines can do the job. No, this one will take — don't hold your breath — yes, One Man. The invention of the One Man Movie has been one of the handiest story devices to come along since the Fruit Cart. All I need do is quote two sentences from the trailer, and in your mind, you know exactly how the Deep-Voiced Trailer Guy sounds when he says them: "My daughter … is on a goodwill mission on that station. There's only One Man who can get her out … Snow!"
OK, now, hold onto your seat. The worried father speaking is — why, the president of the United States, of course. And where is the station his daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), is on a goodwill mission? I'll bet you can guess this one. It's a maximum security prison in orbit around the Earth, naturally. And what about One Man Snow (Guy Pearce)? He is a brilliant and versatile man of action, capable of all things, and yet the Secret Service is pursuing him because he has his hands on a briefcase and is suspected of spying. And what is in the briefcase? My best guess is: a MacGuffin.
I probably mention MacGuffins half a dozen times a year. I wonder if there's anyone left who doesn't know what one is. First defined by Alfred Hitchcock, the MacGuffin is whatever everyone in the movie is in a lather about. All we need to know is that Snow has it and the Secret Service wants it. It doesn't matter in the slightest what's in the briefcase; Snow doesn't know, so why should we?
Snow is an overwritten hero who talks like a sitcom character. Every line is a wisecrack, a gag, or what he fondly thinks of as a witticism. If you were on a mission to rescue the president's daughter from a space station commanded by a tattooed psychotic with glowing eyeballs (Vincent Regan), would you have time to think up one-liners? Of course you wouldn't. That's why this job can only be undertaken by … One Man Snow!