“Momentum” is a spectacularly generic action-thriller that, despite its sleekly shot and edited mayhem, lands with a giant thud.
The film, directed by Stephen S. Campanelli from a script by Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan, eschews real characters and an absorbing narrative for convoluted plotting and bone-cracking chaos. The result is more tedious than invigorating.
Shot in Cape Town, South Africa, the movie opens with a brutal, high-tech bank heist in which the identity of Alex (Olga Kurylenko), a disguised thief with a secret past, is accidentally revealed. This sets the fierce Alex on a deadly cat-and-mouse chase involving her wily partner and ex-boyfriend (Colin Moss), a cache of diamonds, a hot-potato flash drive, a corrupt United States senator (et tu, Morgan Freeman?), an incriminating video and any other boilerplate ingredients that may provide the requisite, er, momentum.
Alex’s main obstacle, though, comes in the form of suavely glib and evil assassin Mr. Washington (James Purefoy), who’s working for said senator to retrieve the missing flash drive. Explosions, car chases, fistfights, shootouts and nasty torture scenes ensue.
It all leads to a puzzling ending that astoundingly appears to set things up for a sequel — or perhaps a series of them. Please, no.
It’s rare to see such a uniformly ruthless, ice-cold group of one-dimensional individuals populate a single movie. Only a 6-year-old boy who factors in a bit shows a real beating heart.
Kurylenko (“Oblivion”) displays mannequin-like acting skills, while Freeman has little to do but collect a paycheck. Although his role is also all surface, Purefoy (HBO’s “Rome,” Fox’s “The Following”) tears into his sadistic Mr. Washington with dash and pitch dark delight.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.