SHOCK reviews gritty action fantasy flick GRIDLOCKED.
Editor’s note: The Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 15th to 23rd and SHOCK is pleased to be able to provide coverage. Keep checking back for more features and reviews as the fest progresses.
Movie star Brody Walker (the affable Cody Hackman) has landed in hot water. An assault on a paparazzi peep caught on film, leads him forward as punishment to be the ride-along to leather-jacket- wearing, no shit-taking cop, David Hendrix (Dominic Purcell, PRISON BREAK). Hendrix was previously a SWAT leader but after being shot on the job, he has been demoted to glorified babysitter to Walker and to side work busting two-bit crackheads. Meanwhile, two hours outside of Manhattan, a far more sinister plot is hatching. Welcome to the world of GRIDLOCKED.
Seems a small army of mercenaries of all ranks and skills have ambushed and killed their way into a country home where they set up an evil operation whose intent is to take out David’s team, hereafter known as SRT5. Who are these people and what are they after? Well, the answers lie in the police training facility SRT5 works out of that is manned by Sully played by the one and only Danny Glover. While his appearance is brief it is quite wonderful and a treat to see him in action again.
Dominic Purcell does the gruff, stoic beat-em-up cop and he does it well. Purcell’s chemistry with Hackman is solid and they kind of grow on you as as a sort of cop-centric Mutt and Jeff.
Where a lot of films of this action-packed ilk fail , GRIDLOCKED does not. A personal pet peeve of this critic is when action scenes are rendered so dark, that only gun shots and brief flashes of movement can be made out. Gridlocked avoids that kind of murkiness and though the story calls for darkness (due to a power outage at the facility caused by the bad guys) the camera still captures the action quite nicely and fluidly. It kept me on edge anticipating the next round of flying bullets and bodies and it was awesome to see it clearly and illustrated with purpose.
The film isn’t light on the gross-outs and gore either. It doesn’t shy away from making you squirm, with so many skin crawling ways to torture and maim its on-screen victims. Instead of cutting away, the camera actually moves in when things get nasty. It’s rather heartwarming, in fact.
While GRIDLOCKED does not reinvent the wheel, it is a fun ride filled with fights, guns and more blood than you can fill a barrel with it’s a damn fun night at the movies.