'Gridlocked': Film Review

Gridlocked Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Fantasic Fest
A decent under-siege flick ruined by its lame buddy-cop premise.

No, really, Danny Glover is too old for this.

A limp attempt to revive '80s/'90s buddy-cop comedy tacked onto a mostly diverting siege actioner, Allan Ungar's Gridlocked could be a serviceable B-picture with the removal of at least half an hour and more than half of its ill-executed central plot. As it stands, the story of a bad-boy actor forced to shadow a supercop is a buzzkill distraction from the story of that elite lawman fending off an assault on a remote bunker. Appearances by Danny Glover and veteran character actor Stephen Lang will be much needed to attract eyeballs on video.

Prison Break's Dominic Purcell plays the supercop in question, David Hendrix, who after an injury has been pulled temporarily from his elite Strategic Response Team unit and put on regular police duty. Cody Hackman plays Brody Walker, a young actor who's had more run-ins with the law than his floundering career can take. Somehow, his handlers contrive a plan in which he can clear his record up by doing some ride-along time with Hendrix. Exactly how would this constitute community service? Both men hate the idea.

Just as the smarmy actor is working his way into the cop's good graces, they find themselves in a life-or-death scenario: They're visiting Hendrix's old crew when the isolated SRT station comes under attack. A group of mercenary hard-asses (who know Hendrix from his military days) want something inside the station, and the few good guys inside must keep them out until the cavalry arrives.

As Assault on Precinct 13 copycats go, this will do just fine. Though Ungar panders to genre buffs with some cuter-than-they-should-be in-jokes and thinks that doubling the length of a shootout is as good as doubling its intensity, the scene inside the barricaded station offers plenty of tension and crazy-enough-to-work schemes with which the outgunned, outnumbered good guys might outwit their captors. But the movie can't forget the grating premise that got it to this point, and even after Gridlocked has gone a long way toward winning annoyed viewers over, a deeply lame coda sends us out with a bad taste in our mouths.

Production company: Hackybox Pictures

Cast: Dominic Purcell, Cody Hackman, Stephen Lang, Trish Stratus, Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Saul Rubinek

Director: Allan Ungar

Screenwriters: Rob Robol, Allan Ungar

Producers: Geoff Hart, Bruno Marino

Executive producers: Mike Hattim, Louie Maisano, Jenna Mattison, Vincenzo Varallo

Director of photography: Pasha Patriki

Production designer: Kristy Hollidge

Costume designer: Kendra Terpenning

Editors: Michael Lane, Allan Ungar

Music: Jacob Shea

No rating, 115 minutes