Safe houses, surveillance toys, a mole in the system who must be identified. “Unlocked” runs through the usual spy-movie checklist.
That’s not a terrible thing. “Unlocked” won’t blow anybody away, but it has the appeal of a basic genre picture. Fans of this kind of skullduggery will likely be satisfied.
The film’s offbeat protagonist is Alice Racine, a CIA officer on hiatus in London after a traumatic terrorist incident in Paris a couple of years before. The movie’s ace in the hole is that Alice is played by Noomi Rapace, the offbeat “Prometheus” star, who animates an otherwise stock part.
Alice gets dragged back into spycraft when a London contact brings her in to interrogate a terror suspect. There’s a very nice revelation right in the middle of this long sequence, something that changes the story in a rewarding way.
Peter O’Brien’s script isolates Alice so that she must solve her own problems without the help of the espionage infrastructure. A wild card comes into play in the form of a cat burglar played by Orlando Bloom.
The pairing of Rapace and Bloom seems promising; the star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Lord of the Rings” franchises looks more weathered and grown-up now, and his character’s roguish attitude could give the movie a boost.
But don’t get your hopes up about a possible romance in this cutthroat world. The film has other fish to fry, some of them global-conspiracy-oriented.
Its main update on the formula is the idea that a virus — the old-fashioned kind, not the cyber kind — could be a devastating weapon in the hands of terrorists.
“Unlocked” is directed by Michael Apted, whose reliable career has ranged from documentaries to thoughtful social-issue films to a James Bond flick (“The World Is Not Enough”). This movie allows Apted to touch on political concerns in the form of a genre movie.
So “Unlocked” is competent, but not especially inspired. Key supporting roles are filled by the always-watchable Michael Douglas and Toni Collette — plus there’s John Malkovich, giving a little clinic on the art of the eye-roll.
The main draw remains Noomi Rapace. Internationally acclaimed for the Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, this intense actress has deserved cooler leading roles than she’s gotten. “Unlocked” benefits from her tough but haunted presence.
“Unlocked” (2½ stars)
Noomi Rapace is the main draw in this standard-issue spy picture, about a CIA officer who must go it alone during a terror trackdown in London. The movie won’t blow anybody away, but it is a competent genre flick, and Rapace gets good support from Orlando Bloom, Michael Douglas and John Malkovich.
Rating: R, for violence, language
Opening Friday: Varsity