Stephen S. Campanelli makes his feature film directorial debut with the action thriller Momentum starring Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and James Purefoy (The Following). Campanelli’s background is as a camera operator on films including American Sniper, The Maze Runner, Seven Psychopaths, and Invictus, and he learned from years of work behind a camera how to frame shots and set up action scenes. And to his credit, both are done well in Momentum. It’s not the pacing of the film or the stunt sequences that trip up momentum’s Momentum; it’s strictly the story that makes Momentum easily forgettable.
Kurylenko plays Alex, an “infiltration expert” who participates in a bank heist with the target being a cache of diamonds. The film kicks off with the completely disguised team of bank robbers (complete with voice-altering mechanisms) pulling off the heist but not without a few hitches, including in-fighting and the reveal of Alex’s face to bystanders being held hostage inside the bank. Things continue to get messy as she’s now on an assassin known as Mr. Washington’s bad side. He needs to get the diamonds to their ultimate destination, but finding them requires taking on Alex who has a particular set of skills that includes being able to one-up a master assassin.
There actually isn’t much to the story until the film’s final 10 minutes when a surprise reveal is made and the plot, as they say, thickens. However by that point it’s obvious Momentum is simply paving the way for a sequel – a sequel that has the potential to be a lot more entertaining than Momentum.
Kurylenko is up to the task of leading this action film and is completely believable as an action heroine. But the script lets her down as Alex isn’t a character who displays any emotions or personality, and nothing about Alex makes the audience cheer her on. Likewise for Purefoy who is also given a one-note character who does nothing but pursue Alex from the moment the character’s introduced.
Momentum has its moments of fun, but overall it’s a well shot, capably acted run of the mill action film that tells the simplest of stories and never engages the audience. The hour and a half-long film is all about moving things forward action scene by action scene, letting character development fall by the wayside in order to squeeze in more stunts. Did I care who lives or dies in Momentum? No, not in the least. Do I want to see the sequel that this film so obviously sets up? Regrettably, no, because even though it seems like it could be a much more engaging film, nothing about Momentum would make me want to spend more time with Alex or her cohorts in crime.