When it comes to action thrillers, Unlocked doesn’t provide anything new or refreshing. It’s the kind of movie that falls alongside the rest in its genre. Predictable and bland. The plot revolves around a CIA interrogator (Noomi Rapace) that’s tasked with solving an elaborate terrorist scheme on London. The film may have many faults, but casting recognizable talent isn’t one of them. Now, whether this talent plays up to potential is another story.
Rapace puts a valiant effort in the leading role. She’s fairly believable as the impulsively resilient Alice Racine. Rapace unleashes some nifty moves in her fight scenes. She appears imposing and thorough. The rest of the supporting cast includes Michael Douglas, Toni Collette, Orlando Bloom and John Malkovich. Not a bad list of quality actors but unfortunately they appear miscast. Douglas is passable playing Racine’s mentor Eric Lasch, but the character falls into this predictable cliche that you should immediately catch onto (no spoilers). Collette and Malkovich both play these bickering government authority figures that lack any substance. While Bloom’s character doesn’t add much to the overall direction of the plot.
Actors aside, the major drawback of this film is its convoluted plot. This film tries to be too smart and complex for its own good. In that way, it has similarities to another recent film that couldn’t get out of its own way with its convoluted plot, Atomic Blonde. The filmmakers just conveniently assume the viewer is in on the plot twists and understands the character objectives, when in reality it’s difficult to follow. The lack of explanation of the story provided a major hurdle in keeping my attention throughout. It didn’t help matters that there were several scenes that added to the boredom with a lack of any significant action, aside from boring convos with added fancy government lingo.
Unlocked flashes some potential at times, but doesn’t simplify things enough to make it engaging. Less characters randomly popping on-screen. Less spy-talk. Less turns and twists. There is only so much backstabbing that can be done that makes sense without diluting the story. Point is, less is more. Had the film took that into account, it had a real chance to be a smart and entertaining action thriller.
On the surface it’s easy to get swept up and excited by the cast and premise of this film. It looks a lot better on paper than it plays out on-screen. A big name cast that doesn’t live up to the hype. A story lacking any significant intrigue. For a movie of this realm it’s important for it to be engaging and entertaining, but it’s hard to invest when you don’t care much for the characters and their objective.
Ultimately, this is one of these films that may be worth checking out on Netflix on a cold dreary night with little attached expectation going in. If you’re committed enough to try to follow the plot and figure out which character serves what purpose, then more power to you. In the end, Unlocked doesn’t live up to its name, as it doesn’t unlock anything special or compelling in the plot worth keeping your attention.