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Title: Momentum

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:68

Direct to video movies are always a bit hit or miss due to lowered budget, low tier directors, and aging or new actors. Still I have a rabid fascination with the film niche and look forward to each and every one as if it were a summer blockbuster. There is an almost Indie music flair appeal to these cheapie movies, as you never know when one of these will bowl you over as a new talented director emerges, or a new face is recognized from someone bigger up the food chain. However there is a larger chance that the movie will be utter garbage and a completely a waste of time. Which usually happens more often than not. Color me a bit surprised when “Momentum” ends up being a LOT more fun that I was expecting by the lackluster trailer. James Purefoy and Olga Kurylenko are given a solid script and really have a lot of fun with their characters. There’s even a decent enough plot from the writers, which is usually the REALLY big flaw for most DTV films. Sure there’s a few hiccups in the editing department, but I’ve seen much worse in the genre.

Alex (Olga Kurylenko) has just pulled off a brilliant bank heist with her ex-partner, Kevin (Colin Moss), stealing a mess of diamonds from a high tech bank vault (in fact the gear they were wearing to jack the place was amazingly hi tech as well. Made me feel like I was watching a “Crysis” video game). Getting away with only one casualty, the pair meets up to discuss the cut, only to be side swiped by some killers from the man they stole the diamonds from. It seems that they didn’t JUST steal diamonds. Unbeknownst to Alex a flash drive was included in the heist that belongs to a very important U.S. senator (Played by Morgan Freeman) and he will do ANYTHING to get it back. Including sending over his best cleaner, Mr. Washington (James Purefoy) to get it back.

Barely escaping their first encounter with her life, Alex is able to grab the mysterious flash drive just before Kevin is murdered and hit men are set loose on her trail. To make matters worse, Mr. Washington is not just content to hunt her. He’s also sent killers out to take care of Kevin’s wife, Penny (Lee-Anne Summers) and their young son. Not wanting to be caught, but not wanting an innocent woman and child to die, Alex risks everything to keep Penny and her son alive, even if that means putting herself in danger. Blood, guts and plenty of carnage later, Alex is at the end of her rope with only one option ahead of her. Imminent death, or a last ditch effort to save her life and wipe out the people following her.

“Momentum” starts with a fun little bang. The bank heist is well played and I almost thought we were in for a futuristic action movie, as the commando gear worn by the thieves looked VERY futuristic. Add in the hi-tech vault out of a sci-fi movie and I was scratching my head a bit. That being said I rather enjoyed myself this go around. The action was intense and there was actually quite a bit of good fight choreography. Especially the shoot out in the hotel when Alex has to make a run for her life. However, in that same vein. There is certainly a few times where I noticed some choppy scene wipes where you shift from one scenario to another. Many times they were simply abrupt and just shifted without any notice. Other than that, I was actually really impressed with how much Director Stephen S. Campanelli got out of the little movie. It was fun, a bit unrealistic at times (much like MOST action movies) and it managed to keep my interest the whole time. For that I have to give it a solid win, despite the flaws.

Thankfully we had a decent script here, which saves us from a bad time. Nothing can kill a movie faster than good actors involved in a movie with insanely bad writing. There’s just only so much a good actor can do to salvage that scenario. Morgan Freeman is listed as being the Senator, but really he must have been able to film his scenes in an entire day, as he’s barely in the film for more than 5 minutes total. Olga and James are the real mainstays of the movie, and both shine quite well. Olga has always been a pretty solid actor, and made a great Bond girl in “Quantum of Solace”, but it’s really James Purefoy that steals the show. He has a way of being both charming and utterly creepy at the same time, which is why I loved him in “Rome”, “The Following” and “John Carter”. In “Momentum” he plays a wildly eccentric hitman who you both love and hate at the same time, or at least love to hate.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :3.5stars:
“Momentum” is a rather drab looking picture color wise, although it is slick as a whistle with all the shiny earmarks of an action movie. The suits, the bling, the shiny guns, they all look great, but the lack of color saturation as well as a nice thick grey veneer keep the movie bleak and dismal looking. There are some splashes of color here and there, with Alex dripping deep maroon blood in quite a few scenes as well as the battle at Kevin’s house where things look very much normal. Detail is good, showing off plenty of little bits of fine detail to enjoy, and while the detail isn’t magnificent, it still is more than satisfactory. Blacks are deep and dark, although a teensy bit crushed at times, and I didn’t notice any major artifacting on the disc. Overall an image that is pleasing technically, but not as pleasing aesthetically due to the severe lack of color.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is nothing if not wildly aggressive. Right from the opening back heist scene I knew this was going to be bass heavy, but I wasn’t prepared for the nonstop assault of low frequency noises. The score, the guns, the cars EVERYTHING is just slathered in deep heavy bass from beginning to end. The LFE is a tad bloated at overcooked at times, but it’s still a lot of fun for bass heads like myself. Dialog is strong and clear, with no distortions to hear of, although once in a while the surrounding action can blur a line or two. Surrounds don’t get as MUCH action as I would have liked, but are more than serviceable at giving a fully 3 dimensional immersive experience with solid ambient noises and the wiz bang of battle.

Extras :1star:

• Momentum: Behind the Scenes

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Momentum” isn’t an amazing action film, but it is surprisingly fun for a DTV film, and ALMOST feels as good as many lower level theatrical movies. Which is quite a feat in and of itself. The combination of Purefoy and Kurlylenko work well together on screen and the nonstop (and rather well choreographed) action sequences don’t hurt either. The video is a bit lackluster, but the audio is a beast for action junkies so I would have to say the movie is more than worthy of a fun rental. It may not be must buy material, but I was never truly bored despite a misfire here and there.

Additional Information:

Starring: Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Stephan S. Campanelli
Written by: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Studio: Starz/Anchor Bay
Rated: NR
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 1st, 2015

Buy Momentum Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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