Directed by Michael Atped and starring Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, John Malkovich, Toni Collette and Michael Douglas, Unlocked is a modern espionage thriller as a CIA analyst races against the clock to save London from a biological attack.
This London-based terrorist thriller has all the star power, A-list cameos and Rubik’s Cube plotting you would expect from something in this genre. Guilt ridden CIA operatives hiding out after fumbled assignments experience flashbacks, then encounter old mentors whilst being pursued by half the police force in London. Bonds of urban trust are built to be exploited later, moles run rampant in search of illusive bio viruses, while unexpected allies turn out to be double agents. Peter O’Brien’s script has all these elements as well as solid performances from Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, John Malkovich and Michael Douglas.
Efficiently directed by veteran Michael Apted, Unlocked whips along at a fair rate taking you with it. Location work in and around London landmarks is done well and the plot itself contains enough surprises to keep you engaged. Toni Colette turns up looking like Annie Lennox, while Douglas brings star wattage, senior gravitas and a certain paternal instinct. Malkovich is used sparingly but to great effect, giving off an ever so slightly off kilter mad Malkovich moment or two amongst the plot points. Copybook Muslim extremists are portrayed as committed but ultimately soft-hearted perpetrators of peaceful protest, while more conventional evil doers actually pose the threat.
Unlocked attempts to keep you guessing even though the set-up, pay off and final denouement feel a little Bourne Identity. Rapace equips herself well in the action heroine stakes whilst holding her own against Douglas and Bloom dramatically. Other characters beyond the main players are under-written, acting as either plot device or window dressing respectively. Double crosses, which are given away in the trailer incidentally, are not granted enough time to bed in before being uncovered which leads to gun fights and lots of running. Beyond that Unlocked builds itself into quite a neat little thriller, which unfortunately lacks the courage of its convictions resorting to cliché by its conclusion.
In truth there is nothing wrong with Unlocked at all except we’ve seen it before. Coming on like Doug Liman’s Salt and lacking the kinetic kick arse approach of Atomic Blonde, Unlocked brings nothing new to the table. This is solidly average fare with some good performances by actors who have done it better elsewhere. Michael Apted represents a safe pair of hands and delivers good set pieces, half decent fist fights and an imaginative, if unsatisfying, final reel. However, any short comings sit squarely with Peter O’Brien who has written something entertaining but ultimately lacking in dynamism. Unfortunately it’s not enough to simply write a good thriller these days.
Written by Martin Carr
Directed by: Michael Apted
Written by: Peter O’Brien
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Michael Douglas
Released: 2017 / Genre: Thriller
Country: USA/UK / IMDB
Top 10 Films reviewed Unlocked on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. Unlocked is out on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download now.