My notes on Acceleration, which is out today on digital download.
Your basic direct-to-non-theatrical action movie, rather too lean in the plot department – it’s weirdly awkward about establishing the nature of its heroine’s mission – but with enough pauses to allow top-billed Sean Patrick Flanery to chew scenery as a big baddie so fiendish that all the other characters in the film can get away with being horrible human beings and outright crooks but command a certain sympathy.
It opens with a garbled action scene that gets stars Natalie Burn (also a producer) and Dolph Lundgren onscreen in a purple-lit club-type interior … then does that ‘some hours earlier’ loop to start the clock running at midnight with Rhona (Burn), a hard-driving ass-kickette in leather trousers, forced by crimelord Vladik (Lundgren) to drive around LA all night opening envelopes which give her a series of tasks that have to be accomplished by dawn. Vladik has kidnapped Rhona’s son Mika (Dobromir Mashukov), the only person she cares about (though, as per usual, it’s hard for the audience to give a shit about the whiny entitled brat), and is doing all this because he needs to pay a debt to lemon meringue pie-loving mastercrook Kane (Flanery).
Basically, we get a series of vignettes where Rhona pitches up at a lookalike criminal lair – someone must have got a deal on those purple lamps – and beats up/kills/escapes from/rips off a succession of odious lowlifes (Al Sapienza, Danny Trejo) and muscled-up MMA thugs (Chuck Liddell, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson). Intercut vignettes have Kane speechifying to terrified associates, with casual brutality (including a hackneyed Russian roulette scene) – delaying the inevitable catch-up with the prologue as the relatively good guys take on the odiously bad ones, but observing the action movie convention of politely shooting down the minor thugs before proceding to taking out the big boss rather than plugging the main villain first.
Burn, who has a ballet background, is impressive in the well-choreographed fight scenes, doing spins and kicks and shooting people from odd angles, but just looks pissed-off when she has to talk plot stuff (mostly over mobile phone). Directed by Daniel Zirilli and screenwriter Michael Merino.
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