Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 5/10
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Michael Douglas, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Akshay Kumar, Adelayo Adedayo, Tosin Cole, Brian Caspe, Aymen Hamdouchi, Jessica Boone, Philip Brodie, Affaello Degruttola,
The world is always on the brink of terrorism, an outrage that brings out the dreadfulness of nationalistic fervour and the scars of yet another round of indignation. Yet cinema sometimes cannot get enough of it, it cannot tear itself away from the genre as if it is a bird that cannot stop laying golden eggs into a feathered nest. Some films are able to carry it off because they make it believable, some though find the weight of expectation far too much to deal with and suffer because of it; such is the sorry state of Unlocked, a film that wants to be a franchise, that has the attributes of the fantastic Noomi Repace and John Malkovich within its clutches, it fails to not only deliver but garner sympathy for its cause.
Whilst the idea itself may well have been decently presented, sometimes a little contrived and too close to the world that was inhabited by the television series Spooks, it did none the less fall into the territory of being a commercial for the so called war on terror, an ambush, an assault that could have got the nod from an even less capricious and erratic government as it steps up the words and rhetoric to getting people to hate where there is none, on both sides.
Unlocked also saw the same predictable ally turned antagonist and unfortunately one that could be seen so far off it that it was given a red card from an observant referee officiating in a match a hundred miles away. The response to such acts are always muted and glossed over in many minds but it is almost as if some producers/directors/writers believe that the public never watch television, other films or even read.
The film does have some good qualities, thankfully the appearance of Michael Douglas will always find a way to make a cinema audience smile with relief as his acting prowess comes into play and whilst the character deserves more, to even have the screen legend in the film is enough to have fans making waves to see him perform. The same could be said of Orlando Bloom, no longer the young man who swept crowds of their feet as he took on the roles of Legolas in The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit Trilogies and Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean, instead these days his performances should be in keeping with a man whose career has hit the highs of youthful splendour and who now is very much an older, respected cinematic statesman.
There is not much to cheer in the film, some of the stereotypes are beyond even Hollywood’s remit and the sense of possessing an overwhelming urge to see past the lacklustre and take on board the moments that shine are too far and in between to really capture the audience’s heart or minds. Whilst Unlocked is nowhere as bad as the awful London Has Fallen, it still finds a way to sink slowly into the fading memory and become a bit part player in the world of espionage, it is only kept afloat by some good acting and a desire to not be considered an afterthought of the genre. A film that hung on till the bitter end when it might have found itself a better position in life by acknowledging its huge faults and dispensing with some of the more obvious moments completely.
Ian D. Hall