Bland Momentum an Instantly Forgettable Waste of Time
Recruited by a former lover for a one-time bank job in Johannesburg to steal some diamonds, things go south for Alex Farraday (Olga Kurylenko) when it turns out the man she and her team are working for is nothing less than a corrupt United States Senator (Morgan Freeman) completely disinterested in the gems they’ve been tasked to nab. Instead, he wants a USB stick hidden with the loot, and he’s willing to go to any and all lengths to get it back. Additionally, he does not want any witnesses to the crime itself, and that includes those who pulled it off, tasking the shady Mr. Washington (James Purefoy) to clean up the mess using any and all means at his disposal.
Turns out Alex isn’t your run-of-the-mill thief, and when the bodies of her friends start to drop she’s not about to take any of this standing elegantly on the sidelines. She’s going to use her particular set of skills to get to the bottom of the mystery, save the life of the wife of the man she didn’t mean to love and make sure Mr. Washington doesn’t make it home to America to report his failure. Alex is out for blood, more, she wants to know the truth, the Senator unknowingly bringing a powder keg of mayhem back into the espionage game who doesn’t like to lose.
The directorial debut of frequent Clint Eastwood camera operator Stephen S. Campanelli (The Bridges of Madison County, American Sniper), I’m not sure the cloak and dagger thriller Momentum would even classify as C-grade, let alone rising to B level, this routine action spectacular amazingly pointless. From a clearly slumming Freeman picking up a quick paycheck, to a set of secondary characters straight out of central casting, there’s so little new here it’s almost impressive just how inconsequential the resulting motion picture proves to be. It’s dumb, start to finish, and how it managed a theatrical release (even such a tiny one coupled with a VOD presentation) is beyond me, the film nothing more than a boilerplate time-waster made for action aficionados who’ll watch anything and little more.
It’s not a total loss. Kurylenko, while nowhere near as ferocious or as intense as she was in Neil Marshall’s Centurion, still makes a fine action heroine, essentially going the female Jason Bourne route as she becomes a relentless force of vindictive nature those in the highest echelons of power shouldn’t have woken from her slumber. As for Purefoy, the veteran character actor appears to be having a blast hamming it up as the lethally jovial Mr. Washington, and as villains go he’s by all accounts a much better one than this minor effort deserves.
You get the feeling all involved were hoping to start a second-tier action franchise with this, Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan’s script leaving things moderately open-ended as if they were setting up a sequel. But their screenplay is arguably even more idiotic than the one they concocted for Texas Chainsaw 3D (which is saying something considering just how implausibly silly that direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s immortal classic proved to be), and I can’t imagine we’re going to see another adventure with Kurylenko’s secretive Alex anytime soon. Momentum isn’t so much bad as it is bland, so instantly forgettable it’s almost like I didn’t even watch it in the first place.
Film Rating: 1½ (out of 4)