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When Alex, 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 and his team of killers. Armed with her own seto f lethal skills, Alex looks to exact revenge for her murdered friends while uncovering the truth. (From the Anchor Bay synopsis)

 Momentum
The second it begins Momentum establishes itself as a shameless example of overdirection. The opening titles vibrate and rattle around whie quick cuts and crash zooms of street performers banging out their version of a Stomp song on buckets. Soon we're treated to a bank robbery where the criminals are dressed like terrorist versions of Daft Punk. Don't worry, they have different colored lights so you can tell them apart. Every piece of action in Momentum is stylized to a point of absurdity. This isn't the kind of movie where someone can just exit a van. They must do so with great speed and jump over the camera in the process. A bone crack must be accompanied by a digital camera shake and every blow met with a loud generic sound effect and a blast of bass from the LFE channel. And those are just examples from the first 20 minutes.

If all of that sounds negative, it is and it isn't. I see enough boring generic straight-to-video action movies that I actually found Momentum's messy zeal a bit refreshing. I wouldn't call it a good movie by any means, but it is certainly watchable. For all of Campanelli's tacky excess, I can't say his action direction in this is any worse than blockbusters directed by John Moore or Olivier Megaton. Unfortunately the amusing tackiness doesn't extend to the plot and acting much. The story here is very generic, maguffin chase territory. There's a couple clever moments scattered about, and a torture scene involving a leg and a vice that elicited its intended wincing from me, but this is mostly well-trodden territory.

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I've never had anything against Olga Kurylenko but she seems to be sleepwalking through this one. James Purefoy is your obligatory villain with an accent and he can't make it through any of his scenes without putting the same wry smirk on his face. He goes around with a group of henchmen that have laughably obvious henchmen features. Morgan Freeman is also in this, and surprisingly nowhere on the cover. He talks on a phone in a couple of scenes. Even at 96 minutes Momentum's unintentional entertainment factor wears off. The silliness to blandness ratio isn't high enough to warrant seeking it out. The nicest thing I can say is that it sets itself apart from other straight-to-video action movies, but let's not pretend that is a high bar. If you're having a lazy afternoon and Momentum comes on television, I could see it being a welcome diversion.

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Video


This 1080p transfer from Anchor Bay looks completely fine from a technical standpoint. Artefacts aren't an issue and it has a solid bitrate. It was shot in digital and looks real sharp. Unfortunately the movie just doesn't look very good from a stylistic standpoint. It's competently shot, but aside from the strange beehive bank vault in the opening heist you just have indoor scenes with a warm push to them or outdoor/garage scenes that are very gray.

Audio


Much like the video transfer, the Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 track on this disc is perfectly fine on a technical level. The mix sounds good and there is plenty of activity in the surround channels on a frequent basis. There are some impressive directional effects to a vehicle chase scene. Where it loses points is in the sound effects department. As I mentioned in the review section every punch (and there are plenty of them) has a ridiculous stock sound effect that never approaches believable. Often times these are also accompanied by an unnecessary LFE boost that just adds to the generic feel. Both the hand-to-hand combat and gun play feel completely silly and the sound design plays a large part in that.

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Extras


The only special feature is Momentum: Behind the Scenes (HD, 23:31). This is your usual EPK material with quickly cut footage from the movie, interviews and some set footage. Since there aren't any other extras, I'll use this space to point out something funny. Whenever this disc was authored the wrong title was given to it:
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I'm glad it was actually Momentum when I hit play. That was a close one.



Overall


I thought it was weird that the opening scene in Momentum had robbers dressed like TRON: Legacy characters. I thought it was even more weird when one of them makes a strange reference to Gran Torino. After watching the movie I visited director Stephen S. Campanelli's IMDb page and found out he was a camera operator on both TRON: Legacy and Gran Torino. I guess those experiences were dear to him. I'm curious to know if Momentum contains any other unsubtle references I missed, but I'll likely stay curious because I don't think I can handle watching it again. There's a humorous excess of style to Momentum that makes it way more watchable than your average STV action flick, but it isn't enough to recommend it over the generic story and characters.

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* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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