Set in Georgia, the film begins with a police raid gone wrong. The results of these errors cost the lives of several young people. The film then jumps to Mack (Patrick Muldoon), an ex-military man who wakes up from what seems to be a hangover. Mack works at a hydroelectric plant where he conducts maintenance and repairs, keeping the facility safe.
But after clocking in and getting on with another day at work, something unexpected occurs. A small group of armed soldiers take over the plant with a deadly mission of their own. Leading the group of armed soldiers is Ron Whitlock (Bruce Willis), who plans on creating the ultimate disaster. Ron plans to flood the entire community in honour of the recent death of his son, who was killed in the police raid gone wrong. Now it’s up to Mack to leap into action, use his past skills, take out the dangerous soldiers one by one, and somehow prevent a major flooding disaster while also saving all the hostages held at the facility.
For those who enjoy titles like Die Hard and Under Siege, this is a film for you. It introduces a familiar one-man army concept, but thankfully, a few new elements are fun and exciting. Firstly, the location is something new. Having the leading villain played by the Die Hard actor himself, Bruce Willis, is also something different and fresh to see.
While it is no secret that Bruce Willis has had a trend of being involved in multiple painful and weak films, I was surprised to say I found his performance here quite pleasing. The actor is generally trying and does deliver moments that feel slightly compelling. It was nice to see the actor doing something different and putting more energy behind his performance. Perhaps the actor found more joy with this type of role? But sadly, when it comes to Deadlock, Bruce Willis’ performance is the biggest strength, and that’s not a good thing.
The lead, Mack, has many quirky one-liners that are overconfidently or downright cockily spoken. Concerning action, there isn’t much here. Sure, there are plenty of moments involving gunfire, but that is about it. Our lead is so skilled that just about every shot made with his gun is a bullseye headshot, and the skilled soldiers shoot like stormtroopers, missing consistently.
When the film hints at a big fight or showdown, it always takes the easy way out, only disappointing viewers. The continuity also suffers, and there are scenes that were obviously filmed at night while the very next shot is evidently daytime. Using brighter lights on location won’t trick audiences as to the time of day.
For the most part, the filming style is just ok, but some key scenes include use of shaky cam, which was unnecessary and painful to see. Like most one-person army films, our hero has a love interest that needs rescuing, but again, it’s corny, unbelievable, and unnecessary to the plot. The film, for the most, sure is brainless, but I had many issues with the final moments, which is rushed and makes no sense. Not only that, but it leaves key plot details out, hoping audiences will ignore it.
Overall, when actor Bruce Willis is the best thing about a movie, you’ve got problems. Deadlock is a familiar concept to films such as Die Hard and Under Siege. I’m surprised to say it, but seeing Bruce Willis play the film’s villain and having adequate screen time, was kind of nice. I also thought the location and basic premise had potential. But sadly, the film fails to deliver any suspense or real action. The leading hero has plenty of one-liners and cockiness, which is forgettable and uninteresting. Continuity errors are distracting, and the ending fails to land, again missing out on delivering key plot details with hopes the audiences won’t notice anything.