Review: Unlocked

5 10
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PLOT: When a CIA interrogator (Noomi Rapace) based in London discovers a terror plot with connections to the upper echelons of the service, she finds herself hunted by both former colleagues and a skilled team of assassins.

REVIEW: UNLOCKED should have been a lot better than it is. Initially a hot spec script that wound-up on the “Blacklist” of best, unproduced, screenplays, it finally turns up on VOD (more than two years after the end of principal photography) as a pedestrian chase thriller. It’s no better or worse than a mild-arc on “Homeland” or “24”, and seems to have been a paycheck job for all-involved, from director Michael Apted (THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, the UP series) down through its surprisingly starry cast.

It’s another action part for Noomi Rapace, following hot-on-the-heels of her much-better WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY. While that film has style and gusto, UNLOCKED is network-TV level bland, with a predictable plot and an absence of compelling action. Rapace plays a CIA interrogator working undercover as a housing officer, where she gets the occasional salient tip, such as one from a particularly smart teen (Tosin Cole) with sidekick potential. Cue lots of gory flashbacks to the aftermath of terrorist bombings in France (distasteful moments that explain the long release delay) while Rapace hits the heavy bag, our hint that she’s more than just a desk jockey.

After being forced to kill her way out of a trap, Rapace finds herself on the run from both the CIA (with John Malkovich trying to inject some irony into his stock part) and MI5 (Toni Collette), who work behind the scenes to nab her BOURNE IDENTITY-style. Somewhere along the line, she hooks up with her former handler (Michael Douglas – in a thankless and predictable part) and a slick cat burglar, played by Orlando Bloom, who manages to infuse the proceedings with a bit of life.

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Rapace herself is used to dull effect. A good actress, she’s far better in roles that require a bit of eccentricity. UNLOCKED is so straightforward that it makes her boring, and the only time she really seems to be enjoying herself are during the quick scraps (none of which are as well choreographed as in MONDAY) and a few scenes where she gets to banter with Bloom. Otherwise, one can’t blame her for not really burning up the screen, as the material is so dull and predictable.

A funny thing has happened to action movies over the last few years. Regardless of their quality, a few years ago most of them, were they to feature enough recognizable performers, would go theatrical. UNLOCKED, with Douglas and Malkovich on-board, would have certainly been picked-up, but now, stuff like this is consigned to VOD. That’s fine for the star-driven cheapie programmers Emmett-Furla put out, but UNLOCKED, with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura on-board, along with Apted (who’s never had a movie bypass theaters) was clearly designed as a legit theatrical release. That makes this something of a case study. Run-of-the-mill just isn’t good enough anymore, at least not if you don’t bring something new to the table. UNLOCKED is no better than TV fare, and not much more than a moderately acceptable rainy day watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Source: JoBlo.com



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