Unlocked stars Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, Rupture) as Alice Racine, a CIA agent who had her fill of the frontline action when an operation in Paris, 2012, resulted in lot of civilian casualties. She hasn’t been able to properly get herself back together since then, so takes a desk job in the immigration dept of London’s MI5 and lives in a fancy flat with exposed brickwork – the kind of property that Sarah Beeny would probably rave about.
Oh, and we know Alice will deliver the goods when it comes to action because she has a punch bag set up in a corner of said abode, which she also uses to practice her kickboxing.
Terrorists are the bad dudes that Trump wants to sort out in real life, but in this film they rely on the age-old tactic of a plan to release a toxic gas into a public area, so people will become infected and then spread this in their own towns and cities. We’re told it’s worse than Ebola… they do name it, but it went in one ear and out the other. The name didn’t really matter, though.
Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III, Alice thought she was out… but then they bring her back in. And when we see her early on in a meeting with collague Eric Lasch (Michael Douglas), she certainly wears a pair of knee-high boots better than Al Pacino might.
What draws her back centres around a courier delivering a message from Imam Khaleel to a David Mercer (Michael Epp) in order to kickstart the bad stuff that goes down. The delivery of the message ‘unlocks’ the attack, effectively. So, despite the film having a completely forgettable title, there’s at least a reason for it.
But why her? It was meant to be dealt with by another chap, but since he turned up face down in a swimming pool, Alice is the only other option. And this is where one of John Malkovich‘s many lines of brilliance comes in, in his role as a CIA boss bloke, since he’s told that in order to clarify the status of the dead man, a CIA Doctor is coming in to take a look at him, leaving Malkovich to wryly retort, “Why, will things change between now and after lunch(?)”
But it’s a good job they did pick her, because the other guy wouldn’t have looked good in a pair of knee-high boots, either, and she looks great as she’s running for her life amongst lots of double-crossing, while shooting baddies with two silenced pistols simultaneously, in capital where all Londoners are cockneys, overemphasising their words.
Oh, and the other big names in this film are Michael Douglas, Orlando Bloom and Toni Collette (whose character name I can’ t remember and is not even named on IMDB – not that it makes a difference…. I’ll call her Annie, as she was made up to look like Annie Lennox from The Eurythmics), all three chewing the scenery nicely as they go about their business.
One thing that stood out, is that the CIA’s offices are always part of a set. Presumably the MI5’s are, too, but at least you get to see the sights of London so it doesn’t feel so fake in those sections. When both are talking to each other over a Skype link, however, it’s like they’re in adjoining rooms.
Going back to the title I still would’ve changed it, but to what? Let me have a think… In the meantime, last week in cinemas came Unforgettable, a mad stalker thriller that after having watched the trailer, I couldn’t remember a thing about it. In 2015, ITV scheduled a drama called Unforgotten that did rather well, but I can’t understand why since… well, soon after watching it, I couldn’t remember a thing about that one, either. The only truly memorable film that springs to mind beginning with “Un” is Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven.
Overall, Unlocked is a solid 6/10. It’s an entertaining 93 minutes before the end credits kick in, but it won’t win any points for originality and it won’t win any Oscars.
So, will we get Unlocked 2? Well, this film certainly leaves things open for a sequel. Of course, whether we see the continuing adventures of Alice Racine will depend on how well this does. It has a lot of competition from last week’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and next week’s Alien Covenant, sequel to Noomi’s own Prometheus, but Unlocked is the kind of film you expect to last around two weeks on the big screen and then make a mint on DVD and streaming services. I just hope the story’s a bit more beefy, even though this film does have some great moments.
Then again, who needs a beefy story when the story-lite Taken movies have made a fortune out of the protagonist and family just running and shooting all over the place?
Ah, just thought of a better title: Noomi Rapace Wears A Pair Of Knee-High Boots.
Now, onto my end credit adventures. Twice in two weeks I’ve seen a film at 11.10am on a Friday in screen 3. Last week’s was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and the end credit lights only rose to the same pre-film trailer/adverts level of 30%. This time, it was the more usual 50%, but just like last week as I described in that film’s review, one of the lights on the left-hand side is broken and shines brighter than the rest. Turns out the cover’s not fallen off, so something’s amiss with its programming.
Either way, the 30%/50% thing isn’t fixed, so back to Head Office with that. Last time I emailed, they continued to dig their heels in. Hence, I’m baffled as to why the customer experience doesn’t seem to matter to them.
Book tickets for Unlocked at Vue Cinemas.
Running time: 98 minutes
Cinema: Vue, Lowry, Salford Quays
Format: 2.35:1 (Hawk Scope)
Released: May 5th 2017
Director: Michael Apted
Producers: Claudia Bluemhuber, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Erik Howsam and Georgina Townsley
Screenplay: Peter O’Brien
Music: Stephen Barton
Alice Racine: Noomi Rapace
Jack Alcott: Orlando Bloom
Eric Lasch: Michael Douglas
Annie: Toni Collette
Bob: John Malkovich
Salim: Akshay Kumar
Noma: Adelayo Adedayo
Amjad: Tosin Cole
Ed Romley: Brian Caspe
Lateef el hajjam: Aymen Hamdouchi
Romley’s Assistant: Jessica Boone
Wilson: Philip Brodie
David Mercer: Michael Epp
Imam Yazid Khaleel: Makram Khoury
S019 Commander: Logan Hillier
Molecular Biologist: Kendrick Ong
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.