The latest action exploitation B-picture to be released, Momentum sees Alex (Olga Kurylenko), who is a mysterious thief that is involved in a bank heist at the beginning of the film. She quickly finds it was never just about the diamonds, but more to do with an elusive hard drive that is connected to a corrupt senator (Morgan Freeman). This turn of events sparks a frenetic cat and mouse chase between Alex and a team of master assassins led by Mr. Washington (James Purefoy). Now she must uncover the lies behind the heist and the hard drive, whilst discovering the secrets behind the men who have made her a target.
This is the directorial debut for Stephen S. Campanelli, and as it stands Momentum is on the one hand a female-driven action flick in the mould of something like Nikita, whilst on the other is your typical VOD-bound action movie. The movie does borrow familiar tropes that have been heavily utilised in other action flicks and done more solidly well, like the Bourne franchise and more recently John Wick, and the plot is so typically ludicrous with the ripest of dialogue that it has holes you could probably drive a tank through. Also, its conclusion pretty much sets up a sequel, which as a result makes the film feel sort of incomplete.
So in that sense, Momentum is silly nonsense, however in a year where there have been many B-movie exploitation actioners that have been nothing but turgid garbage like Taken 3, Survivor and The Age of Kill, Momentum was at least a breath of fresh air in comparison, being surprisingly enjoyable and entertaining. Plus, if you compare this with Everly, which too was a female-led action B-picture yet was sleazy and ghastly beyond belief, there is no contest frankly as to which is superior. Also, the film does have a certain degree of finesse about it when it comes to its stylish cinematography, location setting (shot in Cape Town, South Africa), and some its action set-pieces which are handled solidly enough bar the choppy car chases.
As far as performances go, former Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko does an impressive job as the film’s main lead and is probably the main reason to watch this film. Kurylenko brings real screen charisma and wit to proceedings, and whilst the character on paper doesn’t sound all that intriguing, thank heaven for Olga Kurylenko for making us invested in the character of Alex. Also, James Purefoy looks as though he’s having a good old time as the main villain, chewing the scenery and spitting it out for all he’s worth, and the sparring dynamic between him and Kurylenko is a delight to watch. It’s a wonder both of them managed to keep a straight face when doing those scenes as a result of the ripe dialogue. However, A-lister Morgan Freeman barely gets a look in, amounting to nothing more than a glorified cameo.
Momentum is in the end silly, trashy B-movie nonsense, yet it’s top quality trash of the highest order as it does what it sets out to do by being enjoyably entertaining and having a stylistic gloss to its visuals. It’s one of those films in that it’s so bad it’s brilliant, and very few movies have that charm. But it’s really thanks to Olga Kurylenko that Momentum is as enjoyable as it is by being superbly witty and brilliantly kick-ass. Pay attention Everly, this is how it’s done!
MOMENTUM / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: STEPHEN S. CAMPANELLI / SCREENPLAY: ADAM MARCUS, DEBRA SULLIVAN / STARRING: OLGA KURYLENKO, JAMES PUREFOY, MORGAN FREEMAN, JENNA SARAS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 20TH
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10