In Unlocked Noomi Rapace plays Alice Racine, a tough CIA interrogator in a race against time to prevent a biological terrorist attack in London. From there, the movie embarks on a journey in genre clichés. Cue a gung-ho agent struggling with the guilt of a previous off-camera terrorist attack that she could have prevented; insert plot angles involving double-crossing agents, ticking time bombs, dialogue about the stakes not being high enough; and a seemingly awkward pairing with lovable rogue Orlando Bloom.
This is nowhere close to being a terrible film – even if the plot feels derivative. It’s directed by the capable Michael Apted, who previously made the Oscar-nominated Coal Miner’s Daughter and Gorillas in the Mist. Aside from Rapace and Bloom, this spy action-thriller is backed by an all-star cast of Michael Douglas, John Malkovich and Toni Collette.
To an extent, Unlocked works well enough. Bloom and Rapace demonstrate good action choreography, and Rapace’s character does appear credible as a tough, bold and intelligent protagonist, even if clichéd. Apted’s effective use of the London backdrop creates a good localised feel for the story as well.
Despite those positive elements, the picture is strongly rooted in a wholly uninspired story that doesn’t bring anything unique to the table and lacks substance. The dialogue is atrocious at times, and attempts at exposition and backstory are hilariously clumsy. For the most part, it seems like Unlocked is aping better thriller films and television shows like the Bourne series and 24. The development of key plot elements are hastily meshed together and insufficiently supported, leaving many moments so mired in disbelief that they cause the strongest of eye-rolls. To top it off, the feature has a remarkably convoluted climax, which perhaps tried to hint at an intelligent point about conspiracies and state paranoia, but had a few members of the audience laughing at its absurdity.
Admittedly, sometimes silly action-packed flicks can work – Con Air being an example of a brainless movie that hit the mark. Sometimes convoluted thrillers like Salt work well too (Unlocked and Salt share the same producers). But although Unlocked is watchable, it lacks anything that separates it from any other “race against the clock” film and does not offer any innovation that can elevate it over something to watch just to kill time.
Unlocked is released nationwide on 5th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for Unlocked here: