When Alex (Olga Kurylenko), an infiltration expert with a secret past, accidentally reveals her identity during what should have been a routine heist, she quickly finds herself mixed up in a government conspiracy and entangled in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a master assassin (James Purefoy) and his team of killers. Armed with her own set of lethal skills, Alex looks to exact revenge for her murdered friends while uncovering the truth.
'Momentum' is mostly likely a movie you've never heard about before now, but hopefully one you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised with when you take a look at it. Now, don't mistake my admiration for a recommendation, as the movie's plot is neither well written nor well developed enough to warrant a purchase; however, in terms of just trying to entertain viewers with non-stop action and thrills, there's a lot here to appreciate.
The movie is helmed by first-time director Stephen Campanelli, who has spent most of his career up until now being a camera operator on the majority of Clint Eastwood's movies, among other projects. That experience seems to have paid off, as – even with all its faults – 'Momentum' is a very good looking and well-shot movie. Campanelli's work on Eastwood films has also allowed him to bring over a 'secret weapon' in the form of Morgan Freeman, who has an uncredited but not insignificant part in the story told here (although it does appear that Freeman's scenes were all filmed separately from the other actors).
Shot on location in Cape Town, South Africa, 'Momentum' begins with a wild bank heist sequence where all the robbers are dressed in black outfits with black masks that are designed to emit their voices electronically. Before the heist is over, the masks start coming off, and we learn one of them is a woman named Alex Farraday (Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko), who must now try to conceal her identity from others, as a few customers at the bank saw her face before they exited.
The bank heist was supposed to be for diamonds, but one of Alex's partners also obtained a computer flash drive, which they quickly learn is quite valuable to someone when a hitman named Mr. Washington (The Following's James Purefoy) shows up looking for it. As Washington eliminates Alex's partners one at a time, she has to go on the run, hoping to figure out what's on the drive before Washington manages to kill her as well.
While the plot here is paper-thin…or at least one that doesn't want to reveal much about these characters (the movie ends with a hint of a sequel – although who knows if we'll ever see one?), the actual pacing of the film is fantastic, as it's essentially one action scene after another for almost 90 minutes (the movie clocks in at 96 minutes, but the last seven minutes of the film are credits). At the heart of all the fun is James Purefoy's character, who is devilishly good in the movie, and the primary reason to see it. Olga, meanwhile, holds her own as the movie's lead, and what she lacks in acting chops, she more than makes up for in her physical attributes – both in participating in action sequences and, let's be honest, just providing eye candy for the viewers.
Had 'Momentum' taken an extra 20 minutes or so to focus on rounding out its characters and put a little more effort into explaining what exactly is going on to the viewers, I might have actually recommended this title for purchase. Even now, I can't bring myself to totally dismiss the film, as I was never bored watching it – despite all the flaws. This is one of those titles you'll want to take a look at when just feel like sitting back and watching a 'B' (okay, possibly 'C') action movie without worrying about it all making sense in the end.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Momentum' launches onto Blu-ray in an eco-friendly Elite keepcase, which houses the 25GB single-layer disc. The Blu-ray is front-loaded with trailers for Northmen: A Viking Saga, The Anomaly, and 7 Minutes. The main menu features a montage of footage from the movie, with menu selections running across the bottom of the screen.
The Blu-ray in this release is Region A locked.
'Momentum' appears to have been shot digitally and is presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. While much of the transfer here shows off the bluish/gray tint that is so common among action movies these days, the quality of the picture itself is quite nice, although a minor amount of noise creeps into the darker scenes every now and then, even though black levels aren't too bad. Much of the movie takes place in expansive buildings (a bank, a hotel, an abandoned warehouse, an airport, etc.) and during the night, so the movie never quite allows viewers to enjoy the depth and detail that the few outdoor daylight sequences provide. For the most part, however, this is a solid – if far from spectacular – transfer that never really 'wows', but is free of any major problematic errors or glitches.
The only audio option here is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track, which proves to be one of the nicer surprises of this release. There's a lot of action in 'Momentum' and the lossless audio very much adds to the enjoyment of those scenes – with bullets whizzing by, cars swooshing across one speaker to the next, and explosions providing some nicely rendered LFE effects. The result are some scenes that provide a real feeling of immersion to the action.
In addition to the above, dialogue is nicely rendered, clearly understandable, and mixed properly with the rest of the soundtrack and ambient noises. I also detected no noticeable issues or glitches with the lossless track. This may not be quite a reference-quality effort, but the audio is certainly on par with a major Hollywood release, and Anchor Bay has done a nice job with the sound presentation here.
Subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish.
I don’t' know if I liked 'Momentum' enough to say it's a 'good' movie, but I will say it's never boring, and it's frequently entertaining, which is more than I can say for a lot of releases these days. Although plot isn't one of this title's strong points, action is – and those who like a quick-paced chase film should enjoy this one quite a bit. I'm not going so far as to recommend 'Momentum', but I certainly think it's worth a look.