Justice and instinct are the focal points of Deadlock. High-paced and mostly contained in the events of one day, the script explores in a superficial manner lines of police corruption, drugs and gun violence. Mack (Patrick Muldoon) is a former soldier, now working as a welder at the local nuclear power plant. Catalysed by a police raid (portrayed in the opening sequence) that seemingly goes wrong and ends up killing a young man, Ron (Bruce Willis) hijacks the plant in the middle of a school field trip, demanding justice and proclamation of innocence for his dead and imprisoned sons, whilst flooding the entire town. It’s all violence and revenge ideation right from the get-go.
Riddled with quick, successive action sequences, Deadlock uses constant tracking shots alongside an abundance of crossfades and erratic camera movements to keep everything in constant motion. This allows for really smooth transitions with the handling of guns and the display of violence. However, viewers may be rattled by how unsteady the frames can be, balanced only by the focus the tracking shots provide. The production also prioritises photography, using aerial shots and flare aesthetics, complemented by solitary long notes in the score that, along with the tint of yellow and blue filters, give the picture an overall feel of desertion.
Acting-wise, Willis unfortunately looks bored playing his role. There’s stoic and clinical, and then there’s bland and monotone. His usually emotionally stiff acting – which worked endearingly in a lot of his previous filmography – fails to achieve anything in this feature. This is, of course, the opposite of Muldoon’s extremely overeager performance, which is so energetic that it comes off as fidgety against everyone’s else’s mediocre delivery. Luckily, it does correlate with the film’s high-paced action.
As it stands, Deadlock lives up to its name in that it offers no genuine realisation of any of its chosen themes, and nothing tangible is ever resolved. It rushes to the start the same way it speeds through its ending. There’s a lot of talk in between about justice and doing what’s right, but it only seems to be incoherent thoughts, without really saying anything of value. While fairly fun, it is still just another generic action film that fails to stand out amongst the many others that came before and will come after it.
Deadlock is released digitally on demand on 27th December 2021.
Watch the trailer for Deadlock here: