Former SWAT leader David Hendrix is down on his luck and has failed to receive medical clearance after taking a bullet on the job. Despite being highly trained and competent, his efforts have been reduced to routine tasks for the NYPD. As if things couldn’t get any worse, he’s been forced to babysit Brody Walker, a hard partying celebrity that’s been sent on a mandatory ride along as part of his probation. Pampered and irritating, Walker is the last thing Hendrix needs. But all of that changes when a police training facility comes under attack by a team of ruthless mercenaries led by the mysterious Korver. Now, Hendrix and Walker must band together with the remaining survivors to fight back and keep the mercenaries from overtaking the compound…. if they don’t kill each other first.
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“Hey, I know you!” is a phrase you are likely to say to yourself with each new character introduction while watching the new action/thriller Gridlocked. It is stuffed with familiar faces such as Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Stephen Lang (Avatar), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Saul Rubineck (Unforgiven), Vinnie Jones (Snatch) and Trish Stratus (WWE). It is a gaggle of competent bodies that lend their extensive talents to a film in the vein of John Woo’s action adventures where bullets outnumber words on the script page.
Dominic Purcell plays former SWAT leader David Hendrix. David is a no nonsense bag ’em and tag ’em kinda guy. His job is his life and his life is put on the line in the daily pursuit of justice. David’s rogue actions require muting when he is paired with movie action Brody Walker (Cody Hackman) who is court ordered to participate in police ride-alongs after his hard partying behavior jeopardizes his career.
The newly formed reluctant couple of David and Brody could not be further apart in their views on life in general but are thrust together mirroring Michael J. Fox and James Woods in 1991’s The Hard Way. Brody attempts to win favor of the hardened Hendrix but the bonding lacks reciprocation. Hendrix does however take Brody to secret training lair where his fellow badass do-gooders practice their search and shoot skills.
The evening of fun and guns gets interrupted when a group of mercenaries infiltrate the training complex. Their objective is not immediately clear but their violent resolve is. Little is known of their purpose but they do share a connection with another handful of mercenaries lead by Korver (Lang) who has secured a nearby rural farmhouse much to the shigrinning death of its two inhabitants.
What ensues is a shootout. A shootout between the mercenaries that have breached the perimeter and the police, Hendrix and Brody inside. And then a shootout between more mercenaries and the police, Hendrix and Brody inside. And when Korver reveals his intentions, objectives become clear and bullets become commonplace.
Gridlocked transforms into a full blown shootout on par with a John Woo film. There is a stretch of bullet firing through the films third act that, had I had a counter, might just have set the record for the total number of shots fired within a 10-minute film span. Director Allan Ungar piles up a body count while unleashing an arsenal of unfathomable abandon.
Gridlocked is an action film true and through. There is a story to help jettison the firepower, but the story is worn and used with plot points used more admirably in better films. For what little original story is presented, Gridlocked takes its sweet ass time. Nearly an hour into the almost two hour adventure we still had no clue what the mercenaries were after. Luckily, the two main characters – particularly Purcell’s Hendrix are interesting and compelling enough to help us wade through the urgency of the villain’s purpose.
If you are the kind of individual who enjoy an all-out barrage of bullets then Gridlocked is the chicken soup to your flu like symptoms. Reminding us a lot of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 is a relentless rat-a-tat-tat echoing through a theatres sound system. An assault of the senses, Gridlocked is the no-holds-barred action film that effectively uses its confined setting to provide a highlight reels worth of bullet ballet.