Deadlock (2021) Review
It’s the event you’ve all been waiting for, the Bruce Willis movie of the month! This month we proudly present Deadlock, directed by Jared Cohen (Swim, Devil’s Revenge) and co-written by Cohen and Cam Cannon (USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, A Haunting at Silver Falls). Looks like we’re in for a real treat this time. I mean doesn’t that poster look like it represents a great film its studio is proud of?
After a drug bust turns violent and leads to the death of one of the Whitlock boys and the arrest of the other, their father Ron (Bruce Willis, Apex, Survive the Game) loses his shit and kills the first two cops he sees.
Meanwhile, Mack (Patrick Muldoon, American Satan, Vanquish), former Ranger and current bitter alcoholic has dragged himself into work at the hydroelectric plant after an epic night at the bar. He better sober up fast because Ron, some militia buddies and some mercenaries, aided by Boon (Matthew Marsden, Savage Dog, Resident Evil: Extinction) and a couple of others inside the plant, are taking over. They’re planning to open the floodgates and drown thousands of innocent people if they don’t get what they want.
Because the fates of everyone living downstream from the dam aren’t enough, Cohen and Cannon spice Deadlock’s plot up with a pregnant plant employee (Kelcey Rose) and have a busload of school kids touring the plant as well.
Having stacked the hostage list with clichés, Deadlock then proceeds to reintroduce Mack who was off welding away from the main building. It also gives him a partner, Tommy (Douglas S. Matthews, Isle of the Dead, Enter the Dangerous Mind), a security guard hiding in the bathroom because he wasn’t going to fight these guys over “a white man’s dam”.
If you guess that from here these two become bulletproof, running across wide swaths of open ground while picking off bad guys without getting a scratch, congratulations you’ve seen as many shitty action movies as I have. And, there’s no way around it, Deadlock is a shitty movie.
The action scenes are plentiful, I’ll give Deadlock that. But they’re directed so poorly there’s no excitement to them. And that’s on top of the script’s total disregard for reality. At one point Mack and Tommy are crawling around some steel platforms while the bad guys blaze away at them. Apparently in the world of Deadlock ricochets don’t exist and they get away without a scratch.
What we do get are convenient plot twists like the pregnant woman being married to the cop who shot Ron’s son. And Mack hates him for giving him a speeding ticket. Mack also hates his ex-wife Sophia (Ava Paloma, The Scrapper) who works at the plant as well.
When Officer Fullbright (Chris Cleveland, Chinese Speaking Vampires, White Elephant) gets to the plant, Deadlock suddenly throws a totally out of nowhere game-changer at the viewer. And I do mean out of nowhere. It’s an infuriatingly massive cheat that would have ruined Deadlock if it didn’t already suck. Doubly infuriating because if they had run with it from the start the plot could actually have been more interesting. I’m guessing the idea hit them halfway through writing the script and they couldn’t be bothered doing rewrites.
It’s too bad because the idea of a Die Hard rip-off with Willis as the villain is a pretty neat idea. It’s at least as creative as anything else he’s done in the past few years. Unfortunately, his performance is on par with the rest of the film and nowhere near Alan Rickman’s masterful performance as Hans Gruber.
Saban Films released Deadlock in a limited theatrical run as well as On Demand and Digital Platforms today, December 3rd. You can check their Facebook page for more information. A date for the DVD and Blu-ray release hasn’t been announced.