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Unlocked 2017 12
Noomi Rapace as Alice Racine, a CIA interrogation officer

Unlocked: Terrorist plot to infect London

Riley Riley

The critics panned it, but fans of fast-paced action thrillers are sure to love the 2017 film Unlocked.

It was the last film made by veteran director Michael Apted before his death in 2021 at the age of 79.

Set in London and featuring an-all star cast led by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace, Unlocked tells the story of an Islamic terror plot.

CIA and MI5 learn that radical imam Yazid Khaleel (Makram Khoury) is planning a biological attack on an American target on British soil, in collaboration with American-born Islamic convert David Mercer (Michael Epp).

They plan to release the Marburg virus which causes fever and hemorrhaging, with similar symptoms to the dreaded Ebola virus.

There is no known cure.

CIA Interrogator Alice Racine is summoned by London station chief Frank Sutter (Matthew Marsh) to question and help break Khaleel’s captured courier, Lateef (Aymen Hamdouchi).

Racine is working undercover at a community centre after a Paris operation fails on her watch.

She manages to extract the secret message that Lateef is supposed to deliver, but before she can disclose the details receives a call from handler, Ed Romley (Brian Caspe), who confusingly wants to give her the same mission.

Realising she has been duped, Racine attempts to flee with Lateef in tow, but the courier is killed in the ensuing firefight.

She seeks refuge with mentor and former Paris chief, Eric Lasch (Michael Douglas), but is pursued and attacked once again.

Now on the run Racine takes shelter in a safe house where she surprises Iraq veteran turned small-time crim Jack Alcott (Orlando Bloom) in the act of robbing the place.

After another dust up, this time with the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command, Alcott ends up saving her bacon and she decides to reluctantly team up.

From here the action flows thick and fast.

Interestingly, Rapace fractured her nose during filming when she was accidentally struck in the face by an elbow.

She didn’t realize the extent of the injury until much later so and, after a brief blackout, she insisted on finishing the scene before receiving medical attention.

Rapace speaks fluent Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and English, in addition to her native Swedish.

Unlocked also features John Malkovich as CIA Europe Division Chief Bob Hunter and Australia’s Toni Collette as MI5 Intelligence Chief Emily Knowles.

With a cast like this, how could you go wrong? It’s a good thing I don’t read reviews before deciding what to watch or I might have passed on this one.

Seems the film was better received by the public than critics, some of whom seem to have an axe to grind.

Although set primarily in London, the budget apparently didn’t extend to shooting the entire film there. So, instead, most of the footage was shot in Prague with six days’ location work in London.

Director Apted is probably best known for shooting the bulk of the ground-breaking TV doco Up which follows the lives of 10 boys and four girls from the age of seven from 1964 to 2019.

He later directed Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), which was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.

His other work included Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Nell (1994), James Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Enigma (2001).

Unlocked is a well-crafted spy movie, with a contemporary plot, plenty of action and lots of twists.

You can catch Unlocked on Netflix.

 

 

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