Deadlock (2021) Review

Deadlock Poster

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). Sounds 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Our Score

6 thoughts on “Deadlock (2021) Review”

  1. Watching this today to get my own thoughts written down. Bruce Willis will forever be my favorite actor thanks to the amount of wonderful performances he’s given in the past (there’s some good ones recently but far less than before). How was he in this? Whenever he gets the chance to be the bad guy he seems to perk up, maybe that’s the case here.

    1. He was better than he’s been in some of his recent films like Apex, but still not a good performance. What did you think of it?

      1. Just got done with it. I thought it was fine, i guess. Some decent moments and it did seem like Willis was enjoying the role more than usual. He wasn’t great but i thought he was way more entertaining than Muldoon. I’ll get my own review out tomorrow-ish so i guess we can exchange notes then lol.

  2. At least we now know what the term ‘B’ movie actually stands for and this one ticked all the boxes in the first seven minutes from bad acting, and I really do mean bad, through bad script plots, and on to really bad cinematography. Willis hamming it up for all he was worth hardly raised it into the ‘Hello, one face I at the very least recognise’ category.

    In short, a rehashed ‘Seige’ movie that even failed to get that right. At least the dog got the message, said its piece and left the set for good in disgust.

  3. This is the most IQ draining movie I have ever seen. The step sister called the cop; even after they have rescued people from the Dam, and he was there when they arrived. So nobody could tell him that troops had taken over the dam, and they needed cops to swing into action. But the guy had to go there to get killed. Very terrible plot. I wonder how all the casts and production team were so dumb to make the movie that way.

  4. I actually wanted to watch Deadlock for one primary reason…. Willis is the bad guy. It’s very rare we get to see that. Grant it, he wasn’t as sinister or clever as he could’ve been and there were some awkward moments, but it was still entertaining to watch him snear and growl with revenge.

    The shooting scenes were absurd — bullets flying out of machine guns by trained mercenaries like water cannons and not one hits the good guys…. at just a few yards away? C’mon.

    Then, halfway through, the plot becomes as murky as the Georgia swamps around them but then tightens up again.

    So, overall, if you look away every few minutes and intermittently kill the volume, it was a fun and exciting watch.

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