Sometimes the Top 10 in Netflix has a weird collection of international TV series and films, at least in my feed. The newest releases usually dominate the top spots, but this week the 2017 film Unlocked popped up, and the description made it too interesting to skip.
It’s a typical back-and-forth CIA / MI6 thriller with lots of twists and turns. Without giving away any spoilers, you can imagine a planned attack with several teams moving the plot forward or trying to prevent the event. If you like these kinds of films, then you will like this one. But this film has an absurdly all-star cast.
John Malkovich, Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas, and Orlando Bloom all headline. The supporting cast, while less noteworthy, is instantly recognizable from other films and shows. The performances border on fair to very good; none are exceptional, none are disappointing. The film feels quality but misses a step or two attaining that high level.
There are a lot of twists, and I only guessed one and missed the rest. This is because the scenes alone are terrific and sell their plot points well. It’s when they are clamped together as a film the whole package misses the mark. It’s like a sports all-star game. Lots of stars to captivate, but they don’t gel as a team.
Noomi Rapace is fantastic in the fight scenes, and her raspy voice doesn’t disappoint when delivering those conflict lines. Michael Douglas barely presents what we would expect, just narrowly missing to bring you into his intensity. John Malkovich is solid and seems to think he’s trying to play the role of his lifetime, and it comes across way too intense for the film’s level, but it’s a good intensity.
The production quality is top. Fight choreography and cinematography are smart. I would prefer less grey days and more sun and some bright daytime scenes, but that’s London I guess. I didn’t care for the music at all, as it seemed a bit distracting. Sound design is solid and we can hear the actors deliver their lines clearly, and their environment matches what you hear.
Hollywood has stopped making the jihad-plot film, at least at the A level. So it seems a bit dated, back to when Homeland and Sleeper Cell was top entertainment. Nonetheless, it’s a good use of 90 minutes if you want some twisty spy stuff without thinking too hard. Get comfy and let the plot unfold without trying to best the secrets, and you’ll have a good time escaping from every day life for a while.
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