Review: 'Momentum' [Fantasia Festival 2015]



Criticism of an exceptionally poor work is a delicate walk on the tightrope between providing an honest and deserved rebuke of the piece’s many failings, and surrendering to the perverse joy that comes with attacking it, along with all its creators for having made it at all. Momentum is an exceptionally poor work, and deserves no tightrope walk.

Plot synopsis? Why? Why bother listing off the various beats of a script that the authors clearly put nothing of themselves into. Olga Kurylenko is the protagonist. James Purefoy is the antagonist. Morgan Freeman shows up, though we have to assume it’s either with great regret or the supreme indifference one can only muster when one’s career is beyond the scope of harm that cinematic detritus like this can cause.

Kurylenko is a thief, on the run from Purefoy’s assassin. Enter car chases, torture scenes, gunplay, and fisticuffs. Now, mechanically, most of these things are done well. The shooting for the car chases is good. The torture scenes are cringe-inducing. The various shootouts are decent. From an effects, editing, and cinematographic standpoint, the action is pretty solid.

But, and this is an enormous but, all of these characters, meant to be the best of the best, are inept beyond comprehension. They’re terrible combatants, infiltrators, schemers, and thieves. Oh, so you hit the man once and he fell down, then you turned away and he hit you back. Might as well repeat that whole process a couple more times, just because.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The whole affair is so dreadfully written that it nearly claims the refuge that it would have found in being “so bad, it’s good.” Purefoy’s performance as a ridiculous, over-the-top, charismatic villain, would be the perfect anchor for a lampoon of Hollywood action movies, regardless of the fact that it would be unintentional.

Alas, Olga Kurylenko’s performance, which channels the essence of the progeny of Geppetto, manages to prevent that from happening. Whatever fun can be found in the laughable plot, groan-worthy dialogue, and insane performances is stopped dead by her complete lack of talent. She possesses a pulse, and that is where her acting ability ends. Not exactly conducive to fun.

The greatest crime committed by this film: it’s incomplete. Oh yes. When the film ends, we have only just uncovered the overarching scheme of the villains, and Kurylenko’s Alexis Faraday is now on her way to thwart their master plan for ending democracy and kicking off the next big global conflict. Roll credits.

This cannot be overstated. The AUDACITY of the writers, director, producers, and whoever else was involved in the series of bad decisions that culminated in this film, to even suggest that this film should have a sequel, is borderline psychopathic. To go so far as to state the intentions so plainly, to make the final shot of Momentum a promise of a sequel that (this cannot be overstated either) NOBODY could possibly want, should be considered a criminal act.

It’s not good, it’s not fun, and those associated with this film must be taught a lesson, that audiences do not have patience for such a lack of effort.

Do not watch this film. Do not watch it in a cinema, do not watch it on TV. Do not watch it in your house, do not watch it with a mouse. Do not watch it here or there. Do not watch it anywhere.

Do not watch Momentum.