What You Need To Know - August 25, 2017

Unlocked: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Unlocked: What You Need To Know

From the producers behind films such as RED and Salt comes a tense new thriller that pits an undercover CIA analyst against a terrorist plot to release a deadly virus on unsuspecting Londoners. It's called Unlocked, it's in stores on Monday (August 28th) and here's everything you need to know about it...


Who's in it?

Noomi Rapace leads an impressive cast that includes Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Toni Collette and Orlando Bloom.


And who's directing?

Michael Apted, whose previous stints in the director's chair have given us films such as Gorillas in the Mist, The World Is Not Enough and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Apted works from a script written by Peter O'Brien, a newcomer who has previously worked on the story for Bungie's Halo: Reach game, released in 2010.


What's the plot?

Rapace takes on the role of Alice Racine, a CIA analyst who is working undercover in London when she receives a call from her agency handler Eric Lasch (Douglas) instructing her to interrogate a terror suspect, a man named Lateef (Aymen Hamdouchi) who is thought to have information on an imminent attack involving biological weapons obtained from Russia.

Still haunted by her failure to prevent a terror attack in Paris five years earlier that resulted in the bombing of a bridge, Racine is reluctant to make a return to frontline duty, but when the agency issues an ultimatum she relents and makes a rendezvous with a team of British counterparts from MI5. Then things start to go awry.

Racine soon finds herself on the run from both the British and American agencies, all the while racing against the clock to foil the plot to unleash a deadly virus on London, but increasingly unwilling to trust anyone around her; almost everyone seems to have the potential to be a double agent, including her handler and the CIA's director of European operations Bob Hunter (Malkovich).

In desperation she turns to an Iraq war veteran Jack Alcott (Bloom) and MI5 agent Emily Knowles (Collette) for help in uncovering the truth behind the plot that threatens to wipe out London's population.


Does it deliver?

With some serious acting talent, an experienced director and a script which, although penned by a relatively inexperienced screenwriter, wound up on Hollywood's 'black list' of hottest properties just waiting to be optioned, on paper Unlocked looks like a very tasty prospect.

There are some issues here though; the pace feels a little slow in places, and there's no getting away from the fact that films with Islamic terrorist antagonists have become ten-a-penny in recent years, producing some all-too-familiar tropes as a result.

That said, Unlocked does have plenty of redeeming features. There are loads of plot twists, some of the action sequences are very slick and there are some great performances on offer here too; John Malkovich delivers an amusingly camp portrayal of the CIA director and Toni Collette is also predictably impressive. Even Orlando Bloom going full Danny Dyer (“I love a tagine!”) provides few laughs, whether that was the intention or not, and Noomi Rapace is genuinely brilliant throughout, managing to keep the film engaging whenever she's on the screen.

Most of all, Unlocked has to be commended for leading with a kick-ass female protagonist where so often in the past that role would have been filled by a man. It doesn't quite reach the heights of Bond or Bourne that it's aiming for, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. If you've enjoyed similar films like London Has Fallen or Eye in the Sky, this might just be right up your street.

Unlocked Michael Apted

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