Director: Michael Apted
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, John Malkovich, Toni Collette, Michael Douglas, Aymen Hamdouchi, Akshay Kumar, Tosin Cole, Adelayo Adedayo, Philip Brodie
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Coarse Language and Violence)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 4 May 2017
Synopsis: Alice Racine lives a quiet life in London. Once the best interrogator in the CIA, Alice failed to unlock a prisoner in time to save the lives of several people, prompting her to leave field and become a caseworker. When the CIA apprehends a suspect who is believed to have direct knowledge of an imminent terrorist attack, Alice is called in unexpectedly. She is successful on "unlocking" the suspect but before she can fully pass it off to her superiors, she gets a call from her old colleague at Langley. Quickly realizing she has been set-up, she narrowly escapes, and finds herself on the run. Knowing the CIA has been compromised, Alice must turn to the few she can trust as she searches for those responsible and tries to prevent a deadly biological attack on the city.
Terrorist attacks are real. The recent attacks which happened in broad daylight in crowded downtown London and Sweden are prime examples of them. Unlocked is yet another conspiracy thriller that is based on the subject matter. Yet it never strays far from formula and again fails to contribute anything interesting to the entire conspiracy premise.
Swedish actress Noomi Rapace plays Alice Racine, an ex-CIA interrogator who chose to relegate herself to a desk job after she blamed herself for not able to stop a bombing attack in Paris years before. When the CIA managed to capture an Islamic suspect who is believed to have information on a planned biological attack, Alice’s skill is once again call to action. But once Alice has retrieved the info from the suspect, she realized the CIA agents are not what they are. Who are the people she can trust in the end? Is it ex-marine turned burglar Jack (Orlando Bloom), her ex-boss Eric (Michael Douglas) or MI6 agent, Emily (Toni Collette)?
Unlocked is definitely not a slow-burner, for most of the running time it’s pretty compelling to watch especially Rapace who makes such a terrific heroine figure. Even her supposedly desk-bound interrogator character knows how to handle a gun swiftly and goes mano a mano with anyone who gets in her way. Rapace no doubt once again provides a solid presence (and the movie to call her own) after her breakthrough performance in the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
When it comes to storytelling, either writer Peter O’Brien has watched too many conspiracy movies or watched too little in the past decade. O’Brien opted in favour of a predictable propaganda affair after a thrilling opening first act. Even with the atrocious acts committed by ISIS gracing the headlines now and then, Unlocked seems to imply the biggest enemy actually lies within the government. The inclusion of Islamic characters ultimately feels like a lazy attempt to spin a tale based on current trend instead of delving deeper into the subject.
The biggest star probably goes to Prague for doubling both London and Paris even if the thriller co-stars Orlando Bloom and Michael Douglas. Without giving much away, both actors appear only for a fraction of the screentime. Perhaps you just want to see the former heartthrob onscreen again for nostalgic sake or getting mauled by a Rottweiler and Douglas being the classy Michael Douglas appears to port over his role from Haywire, another conspiracy action thriller from 2012. For the record, John Malkovich plays the head of CIA, European division and he largely entertains the audiences with his sharp wit and humour.
Director Michael Apted who is known for his Gorillas In The Mist, The World Is Not Enough and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and recent television work liked Masters of Sex seems to be here simply for the paycheck. There is hardly an ounce of creativity to be found here despite the fact that the screenplay was featured in the 2008 blacklist. To be fair, almost nine years have lapsed and with principle photography completed in 2015, Unlocked is a product that is way past it’s selling date. Overall, you won’t be disappointed with the pacing and action bits. The story however is often derivative and misguided that a search through Netflix should garner better titles.
(Ironically the movie should have remained locked)
Review by Linus Tee