(US/Switzerland/UK - 2017)
Directed by Michael Apted. Written by Peter O'Brien. Cast: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Toni Collette, Matthew Marsh, Makram J. Khoury, Brian Caspe, Philip Brodie, Michael Epp, Ayman Hamdouchi, Tosin Cole, Raffello Degruttola. (R, 98 mins)
There's a few moments of inspiration for an overqualified cast in this mostly generic terrorism/spy thriller that's been gathering dust on a shelf since it was shot back in late 2014. It was in development long before that, as Peter O'Brien's script was kicking around Hollywood as far back as 2008. There's been some updates to the story, including an overdubbed line by a minor character referencing the 2015 Paris terror attacks, which took place long after the movie was completed. Though its concerns remains topical, UNLOCKED still plays like the kind of hot-button, post-9/11 thriller that would've been more timely in 2007 instead of 2017. Living in London and suffering from PTSD after a 2012 terrorist attack in Paris for which she still blames herself for not preventing, reassigned CIA interrogator Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace) is pulled back in when UK-based CIA agents uncover a potential biological terror plot engineered by David Mercer (Michael Epp), a rich kid from Bloomfield Hills, MI who was radicalized by the teachings of ISIS-like extremist Yazid Khaleel (Makram J. Khoury) and now recruits disillusioned teenagers throughout Europe for his cause. One such kid is Lateef (Ayman Hamdouchi), a 19-year-old Afghanistan-born British national and Khaleel courier. Lateef is apprehended by the CIA and when their London-based interrogator is found floating face down in a hotel swimming pool, Alice is ordered back on duty. Things go south when a phone call from an old colleague midway through the interrogation--informing her that she'll be needed to interrogate a 19-year-old British national named Lateef--immediately tips her off that she's been tricked by traitorous agents who have breached CIA security.
DEEP BLUE SEA kind of way by suddenly eliminating another major character out of nowhere, and it almost constitutes a twist when that person doesn't turn up again later. Malkovich is basically on hand to Malkovich it up to his heart's content, introduced bitching to his underlings that he's been called into the office on his anniversary and later middle-finger ad-libbing on a Skype chat with Collette's character when she isn't looking (this really does look like something Malkovich came up with and Apted let him run with it). And Rapace continues her string of committed performances after being the only good thing about the sci-fi thriller RUPTURE and playing seven different roles in this entertaining Netflix original WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY. After the already somewhat forgotten PROMETHEUS (does anyone talk about that anymore?), Rapace has very quietly made her case to be a major female action star, but who knows if anyone's paying attention?