Alex Faraday and her accomplices thought they
were simply stealing diamonds from a Cape Town bank vault, but they also
inadvertently scooped up an ominous MacGuffin. You might wonder why a corrupt
U.S. senator would keep an incriminating flash drive in a South African safety
deposit box. Better yet, you might wonder why he kept it at all. Regardless,
Faraday has it, so his goons will do whatever it takes to get it back in
Stephen S. Campanelli’s Momentum (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
Kevin Fuller lured Faraday back into thievery with
the promise of a big score, but he never fully revealed the nature of the game
he was playing. However, she figures it out pretty quickly when the American
senator’s British enforcer, Mr. Washington, kills Fuller while she is hiding
under the bed. Obviously, this puts Faraday in a tight spot. She is already
wanted for capping a freelancer Moss brought on board when he started menacing
the innocent bank customers.
Evidently, Fuller was manipulated by
Washington into stealing the chip and the diamonds from the super-secret
vault-box, which makes no sense whatsoever, but here we are, so what can you
do? If you are Faraday, you keep one step ahead of Mr. Washington, while doing
her best to protect Fuller’s ingrate widow and her young son.
has one thing going for it, but it is significant: Olga Kurylenko as the
action lead. She was the best part about Philipp Stölz’s middling Erased and
here she fully realizes that potential. Kurylenko displays terrific action
chops and even does some credible whatchamacallit . . . acting. James Purefoy’s
Mr. Washington has a decently loathsome presence, but he would arguably work
better as a secondary villain rather than the antagonistic lead. Instead of
filling that void, Morgan Freeman literally phones it in as the senator, who
only exists to give orders on his cell phone. Yet, the biggest problem is Adam
Marcus & Debra Sullivan’s screenplay, which has the brains of a punch-drunk
To give Campanelli credit where it is due, the
initial heist scene is tight, tense, and mysterious. It utterly puts to shame
the utterly shameful Checkmate.
However, after Faraday’s big entrance, the causes and effects no longer make
much sense. Still, the fight scenes, shootouts, and chases are all rather
appealing in an old school, down-to-earth way. Campanelli keeps the pace
cranked, but Kurylenko’s steely badassery is the film’s trump card.
Although there are some
appealingly gritty action scenes, the film ultimately panders to the lowest,
most vile conspiracy theory paranoia, so good job ending on a buzz-killing
note. Therefore, as a dramatically mixed bag that implodes down the stretch, it
is hard to recommend Momentum,
despite Kurylenko’s best efforts. For her diehard fans, it opens tomorrow
(10/16) in New York, at the Cinema Village.
Labels: James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko