Tackling subject matter that feels frighteningly topical in the current climate, veteran filmmaker Michael Apted directs terrorism thriller Unlocked. The story centres around undercover CIA interrogator Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace) who is guilt-ridden from failing to prevent an attack in Paris five years earlier. She is lured back into her dangerous line of work as London is put at risk by a deadly biological threat. She turns to her mentor Eric Lasch (Michael Douglas) and MI5 agent Emily Knowles (Toni Collette) for help and finds an unlikely ally in thuggish ex-marine Jack Alcott (Orlando Bloom) as she becomes embroiled in a plot to bring down the perpetrators behind the peril.
Apted has a wealth of experience in cinema, having directed a Bond movie previously, and this comes through most prominently in the neatly choreographed and swiftly edited fights and action sequences. The narrative traces the ‘expect the unexpected’ path that has become associated with projects of this ilk, and Peter O’Brien’s screenplay provides more twists and turns than the Thames.
Rapace is crucial to the film’s success, proving to be a strong leading woman and bringing the excellent star quality that she possesses. Contrastingly though, Bloom is less impressive as mysterious muscle-head Jack, channelling an inner Danny Dyer as a ridiculous cockney geezer with terrible tattoos and even worse one-liners. The rest of the supporting cast is filled with household names that look good on the poster but Douglas, Colette and Malkovich are quite underwhelming, all phoning in their performances to a degree.
Unlocked is a solid, if slightly forgettable, genre movie that has its moments but relies far too heavily on its leading lady to keep it entertaining. It works well only as a showcase to remind us of the supreme talents of Noomi Rapace. She carries the piece as feisty but business-like Alice who has been described as the female equivalent of Jason Bourne, navigating her way through a substandard story where every friend may be a hidden foe.