When a high-tech bank robbery (in Cape Town, South Africa, of all places!) goes wrong and her identity is accidentally revealed, super-thief Alex (Olga Kurylenko) is forced to kill one of her trigger-happy partners in order to prevent a bloodbath. Escaping with the loot, a bag of diamonds, the gang split up until the heat dies down, Alex and ex-lover Kevin (Colin Moss) holing up at a swanky, luxury hotel downtown.

But then Kevin, the brains behind the job, gets a little too smart for his own good and ends up tortured and murdered by Mr Washington (James Purefoy), an urbane psychopath in the employ of the corrupt US senator (Morgan Freeman) Kevin is blackmailing. You see, hidden amongst the diamonds is a flash drive containing all the juicy details of the senator’s treasonous plot to stage a 9/11-style atrocity, a false flag operation designed to send America to war and bag the senator a fortune in military contracts. Fleeing with the diamonds and the evidence, can Alex survive long enough to bring down the bad guys? Will you care?

Visually flashy, morally bankrupt and intellectually vacuous, Sluggish might have been a more apt title than Momentum for this slower than treacle being poured uphill thriller from the word processors of writing duo Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan, previously guilty of perpetrating Texas Chainsaw 3D and Bad Day At Black Rock rip-off Conspiracy (with Val Kilmer, yes Val Freaking Kilmer, in the Spencer Tracy role) on unsuspecting audiences.

An exercise in the sort of genre cliché beloved of 80s DTV action movies Momentum rehashes that reliable old chestnut the thief/assassin’s one last job, casting the gorgeous and talented Kurylenko in the Steven Seagal role of a disgraced CIA assassin of near mythic reputation now reduced to robbing South African banks, the script giving her as much depth as the bath she takes in her hotel room merely to mildly titillate any 11-year-old boys who may be watching and to give director Campanelli an excuse to have her model a skimpy silk bathrobe for most of an extended fight/shootout/car chase as she battles across Cape Town in an effort to save former lover Kevin’s wife and kid from camper than a Pontin’s Revue Show villain Purefoy and his gang of thugs.

Acquitting herself well in the film’s vicious and boringly repetitive fight scenes, Kurylenko looks great glowering in a vest but is let down by a script that requires her to do little else than, well, glower in a vest. Purefoy meanwhile is hammier than a David Cameron supper club and appears to be the only member of the cast actually enjoying himself in a one-dimensional bad guy role where he’s required to torture and kill characters we don’t care about while delivering acidic one-liners and complimenting Kurylenko as she repeatedly gets the better of him and his henchman, all of whom in an act of thumpingly obvious satire are named after US presidents. Morgan Freeman meanwhile cements his status as Hollywood’s hardest working whore, phoning in his lacklustre performance (literally, his character is only ever seen on the phone!) over the course of an afternoon while he’s waiting for Judge Judy to start.

Perversely, the film ends on something of a cliffhanger that sets it up for a possible sequel which, despite being bored by Momentum, I for one would welcome if only because the film never addresses the central question of why a treasonous, war-mongering AMERICAN politician would detail his nefarious plans for world domination on an unencrypted flash drive and why he would then hide that flash drive in a bag of diamonds in a bank vault in sodding CAPE TOWN? Tax incentives? Perhaps all will be revealed in the sequel Momentum 2: Momentum More-y.

Frightfest Halloween Review: Momentum
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