On the face of it, it's not a bad idea to send 500 of the world's most dangerous criminals into a cryogenic sleep and then bang them up out of harm's way in a vast space ship orbiting the earth.
What's not such a good idea is to despatch the American president's daughter (Grace) to visit them on a humanitarian mission to make sure they're being well treated.
Predictably, she finds herself hiding in the bowels of the huge Strangeways-in-space after the lags are awoken from their artificial kip and - led by Vincent Regan's Glaswegian thug - take out the warders and commandeer the vessel.
Back on earth, the powers-that-be agree there is only one man who can mount a rescue mission - Guy Pearce's buff Agent Snow, an ex-government hardnut whom we suspect was wrongly convicted of espionage.
After nurturing the talent of directors Pierre Morel (Taken), Alexandre Aja (Switchblade Romance) and Louis Leterrier (The Transporter), producer Luc Besson has taken Irish filmakers James Mather and Stephen St Leger under his wing.
The result is a ludicrously enjoyable sci-fi thriller salted with some sharp lines caustically delivered by Pearce as a sort of thinking man's Jason Statham.
The action is slickly handled - lots of claustrophobic crawling down shafts while under fire - and the film also boasts a memorable villain in This Is England's Joe Gilgun as Regan's psychotic brother, a gurning nutter with an unquenchable bloodlust.
Such is the adrenaline rush that gaping plotholes can comfortably be ignored although there is an appalling segment of bad CGI early doors the like of which hasn't been seen since the notorious arctic surfing scene in Bond outing Die Another Day.
Still, if you want lithe presidential daughters rescued from salivating jailbirds by a former star of Aussie soap Neighbours then look no further.