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Momentum is a 2015 Action Genre movie directed by Stephen Campinelli, filmed and primarily set in Cape Town, South Africa.

Olga Kurylenko stars as Alex, a hi-tech thief with a Dark and Troubled Past who is persuaded by ex-lover and partner Kevin Fuller to pull off One Last Job. When things go wrong and Kevin is murdered, Alex is forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse with professional killer Mr. Washington (James Purefoy).

Alex soon discovers the diamonds her crew stole were never the real objective. Instead Washington and his Cleanup Crew are after a data drive that contains incriminating evidence against a US Senator (Morgan Freeman).

Wanted by the authorities and with few allies to call on, Alex's options are limited. Unfortunately for the bad guys, it seems she received the same "particular set of skills" training as Bryan Mills and is proficient in martial arts, firearms, demolition and spycraft. Not a woman to trifle with.

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Momentum was intended to be the first in a franchise, but its poor box office performance put plans on hold.

Not to be confused with the 2003 TV Movie of the same name starring Louis Gossett Jr. and Teri Hatcher.


Momentum contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Alex, naturally. After she takes down several well-trained hitmen with brutal efficiency, Mr. Washington correctly surmises she has a military or intelligence background. It turns out she's a former CIA infiltration specialist who went into hiding six years ago following a mission gone bad.
  • Anti-Hero: As a hardened criminal first seen robbing a bank, Alex certainly qualifies. While she refrains from hurting innocents, she pursues the cleaning squad with such cold-blooded ruthlessness that both Mr. Washington and Ms. Clinton express their admiration. They clearly wish Alex was on their side.
    Mr. Washington: (After Alex escapes) I love this woman.
    Ms. Clinton: (After narrowly surviving an explosion) Damn! She's good.
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  • Ax-Crazy: Drugged up crew member Wayne, who goes all psycho during the bank robbery. First he threatens a little girl by pointing a gun in her face. Then he takes it out on a security guard, holds him at gunpoint and starts quoting lines from Dirty Harry. Finally the nutter waves a Grenade Launcher around just itching to massacre the terrified hostages. Alex wisely decides to shoot him.
  • Badass Driver: Alex is evidently skilled with vehicles, reversing a car down a spiral ramp at high speed to escape the hotel's parking garage. Later on she "borrows" a motorcycle to pursue the hit squad.
  • Bald of Evil: Two of Mr. Washington's hit squad. The first is Mr. Madison, a knife-wielding thug who likes to rape female captives, and the second is a nameless mute who handles torture equipment.
  • Bank Robbery: The opening sequence where Alex and her heavily-armed gang target a safety deposit box filled with diamonds (and a data drive their employers conveniently forgot to mention).
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game:
    • While at the safehouse, Alex contacts Kevin's wife Penny to retrieve a false passport and cash. Mr. Washington later uses its redial function (and deceives the child who answers) to learn Penny's address while Alex watches helplessly. Later on, Alex uses the same technique with a henchman's phone to locate Mr. Washington.
    • Averted during the warehouse torture sequence when Alex destroys a cellphone after she's finished making a call.
    Alex: Hate that redial.
  • Big Bad: The unnamed US Senator, portrayed by veteran politician actor Morgan Freeman. Certain lines of dialogue strongly hint he's running for President (or plans to), but this is not confirmed explicitly.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Quite spectacularly. Kevin and co-conspirator Jessica foolishly decide to blackmail the senator with secretly recorded sexual footage. We're talking about a US Presidential candidate who hires criminals to rob banks. And the silly woman didn't even make a backup.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The opening credits include a voice over by the Big Bad.
    The Senator: As powerful men always have, we're going to engineer an event to shape the destiny of our country. And you'll get your war, and I'll get my office. It's time we took this country back.
    • During the final scenes, the senator repeats the same lines in a conversation with high-ranking military officials. This time there's extra dialogue that reveals his Evil Plan to cause large-scale damage in Chicago and start a war.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The fate of many people over the course of the movie.
    • The first is Kevin's blackmail partner Jessica, who gets shot in the head while attempting to flee.
    • Henchmen Mr. Jefferson and Ms. Clinton go out like this. Plus the unnamed bald thug who shows up three quarters of the way through.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The high security bank vault is protected by a biometric sensor that can only be opened by the manager. After he confesses he's the key, Alex's crew drag the wounded man along and force him to use it.
  • Break Them by Talking: A tactic employed to great effect by Mr. Washington.
    • When he threatens the blackmailer Jessica at the hotel, he needs a passcode to access the video footage on her mobile phone. She initially refuses to provide it, reasoning that he'll kill her afterward. Washington doesn't deny this, but promises Jessica a painless death should she co-operate. His statement - delivered so coldly she knows he's being truthful - is enough to break her resolve.
    • When physical torture doesn't break Alex at the warehouse, Washington changes his approach. He deduces her real identity is Alexis Faraday, and brings up her tragic history with the CIA. Washington goes into precise detail about her failed mission seven years ago where a bomb blast missed its intended target (who survived) but killed his innocent wife and children. Washington then threatens to kill Penny and her son Matthew if Alex doesn't help, brutally toying with her emotions. The strategy works and a broken Alex agrees to hand over the data drive. At least, that's what she wants him to think.
  • Catfight: Subverted. Ms. Clinton is established as an Evil Counterpart to Alex with ass-kicking abilities to match, leading the viewer to expect a confrontation, but the two women never fight one another. Both get plenty of action, though.
  • Ceiling Cling: Alex at the safehouse, when she hangs above Mr. Washington. Also includes the obligatory *Drool* Hello moment where a drop of blood narrowly misses his head.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several examples.
    • During the heist Alex uses a special tool to quickly punch in the lock of a safety deposit box. She later uses the same tool to bust a door lock during the hotel escape sequence. And to punch a hole in an assassin's chest.
    • After the heist Alex uses an explosive device to Destroy the Evidence. Bombs come into play twice more: during the warehouse confrontation, and the climatic airport sequence. Justified since Alex is really former CIA operative Alexis Faraday, a multi-talented operative with demolitions training.
    • The most subtle and significant is Mr. Washington's tie, brought up by Alex during their first encounter at the hotel. She later uses it to conceal the data drive, and to trick the police into shooting him dead.
  • The Chessmaster: Some examples involve actual chess terminology.
    • Mr. Washington plays chess and fancies himself a master. He prides himself on being Genre Savvy and outsmarting clever opponents, and knows what tactics to employ to gain their co-operation. He even points to a game in progress while interrogating Alex at the warehouse and challenges her to a match. She refuses.
    Mr. Washington: You might want to rethink this whole chess thing. It's good for people in our line of work. This situation - that's what we call check.
    • However, it's Alex who turns out to be the real chessmaster with a brilliantly planned and executed strategy that incorporates elements of Xanatos Speed Chess.
      • Prior to her capture at the warehouse (which is part of her plan), Alex plants the data drive on Mr. Washington himself during a struggle, using his tie as a hiding place. This ensures the drive will remain hidden, but always be close by.
      • Alex uses Mr. Washington's expert judge of character against him, letting him believe Kevin double crossed her and swapped the real diamonds for worthless glass (when in reality she's given them to Penny). Alex plays the tough Deadpan Snarker while undergoing physical torture, but later - after Washington brings up her tragic CIA history and suggests Females Are More Innocent and can't compartmentalise - she pretends to break.
      • Alex lets Mr. Washington see her brush pass exchange with Penny at the airport, pretending to be sloppy because of her injury. In reality this is an intentional Divide and Conquer strategy that forces Washington to split his team up and send a henchman after Penny, thus leaving himself more vulnerable.
      • Alex pretends to be reluctant to open the airport storage locker, making Washington think it's a trap. When he threatens to inform a security guard, Alex appears to give in. She continues the bluff by hesitating several times while opening the locker and metal case inside. Only when Washington is convinced it's safe does he instruct Ms. Clinton to retrieve the data drive. Of course it was never there, and the case really does contain a bomb after all.
      • To elude the authorities, Alex borrows Jessica's decapitated head from the cleanup crew and cuts the cheek to match the description of a scarred woman given by the bank robbery witnesses. Penny retrieves the bagged head from the warehouse and leaves it at the airport for the police to find. To add the finishing touch, she places a small quantity of stolen diamonds in the bag too. Penny gets to keep the rest of the jewels for services rendered.
      • Lampshaded in a post-reveal exchange.
      Alex: I had to let you catch me, otherwise this wouldn't have worked.
      Mr. Washington: You... MAGNIFICENT BITCH!
      • And even more explicit lampshading later.
      Alex: Queen to bishop five. Checkmate.
      • As the Coup de Grâce Alex sets up Mr. Washington one last time, making him think she's hidden something else behind his tie. When he instinctively reaches to check, all Alex has to do is provoke the nervy police into firing.
      Alex: Gun!
  • Cleanup Crew: Mr. Washington, Ms. Clinton and their cohorts are professional assassins and cleaners.
  • Closet Shuffle: Kevin has Alex hide under the hotel room bed for his meeting with Jessica, arguing it would be awkward to explain her presence. This inadvertently saves Alex's life, as Mr. Washington's cleanup crew arrive soon after.
  • Code Name: The senator's cleanup squad are named after former US Presidents.
    • Mr. Washington after inaugural President George Washington. Logically, since he's number one.
    • Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison and Mr. Monroe after the third, fourth and fifth Presidents respectively.
    • Ms. Clinton is either named after President Bill Clinton or (since the movie came out in 2015) Hillary Rodham Clinton who seemed certain to be the first female to make it to the White House but didn't.
  • Combat Stilettos: Ms. Clinton does her deadly business in high-heeled shoes - which double as a torture tool.
  • Crippling the Competition: Mr. Washington does this to Alex at the climax. Realising just how badass his foe is, Washington stabs her in the leg to prevent her running or fighting effectively. The wound leaves Alex physically crippled to the extent she's left with a limp. But she still has her wits intact, which she uses to glorious effect.
  • Dark Action Girl: Brutal henchwoman Ms. Clinton is a skilled combatant whose first action is to kickbox Kevin to a pulp in a display of strength. In the climatic fight scene she takes on and defeats multiple airport security guards armed with truncheons and sidearms. And she starts out wounded with no weapons of her own.
  • The Determinator: In the final confrontation, Ms. Clinton survives a close range bomb explosion and quickly returns to the fray. The bloody-faced assassin overcomes multiple melee attackers until one airport security guard finally wises up and shoots her in the head.
  • Disposing of a Body:
    • As one might expect, the cleaners are very skilled in this field. They cut up the remains of Kevin and Jessica, bag them for transport, and incinerate them.
    • Done earlier by Alex when she torches the heist getaway vehicle with Wayne's body inside.
  • Double Meaning: Kevin utters the phrase "Made in China" while being tortured by Ms. Clinton, referring to the bed in a list of things he hates. This is actually a covert hint to Alex about where he's hidden the data drive - taped behind a Made in China label under the bed.
  • The Dragon:
    • Mr. Washington to the senator.
    • Moving down the villainous chain of command, Ms. Clinton could be considered one to Mr. Washington. He certainly trusts her with the most important tasks.
    • The senator has another one in Mr. MacArthur, who handles the fallout at the end.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: In terms of screen time and threat to Alex, Mr. Washington is the main antagonist despite taking orders from someone else.
  • Dramatic Unmask: A rare heroic example early on. During a struggle with a psychotic crew member at the bank, the lead robber's mask comes off to reveal the previously unseen Alex.
  • Emergency Stash: Kevin Fuller keeps a selection of false passports and cash in a secret ceiling compartment. After his death, Alex enlists the services of his reluctant wife Penny to retrieve them.
  • Evil Brit: Mr. Washington is played by Somerset-born James Purefoy, so naturally he wears a smart suit and sports a British accent.
  • Fakeout Escape: Alex fakes her escape from the safehouse by opening a window.
  • Fanservice: Fairly early on in the movie, Olga Kurylenko's character relaxes in a bathtub. Her bare legs are seen during the sequence that follows, and also the scene where she's held captive while stripped to her underwear.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Alex and Penny have a bitter history - Kevin and Alex were in love, but he chose to marry Penny instead. When Alex first contacts Penny she's understandably hostile and refuses to assist. After Alex saves Penny's life (and Penny returns the favour), the women put aside their differences and work together to bring down those responsible for Kevin's death.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Alex's mastery at bypassing hi-tech security systems and her sophisticated use of explosives to Destroy the Evidence hint at an espionage background. It's later revealed she's a former CIA operative.
    • One comment made by Mr. Washington turns out to be very appropriate.
    Mr. Washington: (to Alex) Figured you for a chess champ.
  • Genius Bruiser: The versatile Alex proves to be equally proficient in combat and spycraft.
  • Genre Savvy: Mr. Washington displays this on several occasions.
    • While being pursued through the hotel, Alex sends an elevator up empty whilst taking the stairwell down. Washington isn't fooled one bit, and even lampshades his savvyness.
    Mr. Washington: She thinks she's being clever, but I've seen this in too many movies.
    • When Alex hides out in a "safehouse" with a crew member, he surmises the elevator is the only way in and prepares to ambush the intruders with his trusty shotgun. Instead, the assassins enter via a less obvious route and promptly riddle him with bullets.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Ms. Clinton skewers the helpless Kevin with her blade, the viewer is spared the gory details. His anguished cries suggest a world of pain though, and even the normally badass Alex is left visibly shaken.
  • Government Conspiracy: In the final scenes, it's revealed that the senator is conspiring with top military officials to detonate a bomb in Chicago and engineer a Pretext for War.
  • Groin Attack: During the warehouse torture sequence, Alex takes the opportunity to kick her tormentor in the genitals.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted. In the chase sequences Alex makes good use of cover and rarely gives her enemies a clear shot. And the bad guys function as a well-trained unit - most of the time.
  • Improvised Weapon: Invoked repeatedly during the confrontation at Penny Fuller's house. Justified since Alex has no access to regular weapons and is in a Race Against the Clock to save Penny.
    • Alex uses a garden lamp for pole fighting, and later shoves its stake into a man's foot.
    • Alex disposes of one thug by shoving a broken shard of glass into his stomach.
    • While Alex tackles a second assassin, Penny Fuller rushes to her assistance with a toy truck. It proves to be surprisingly effective at bashing in the guy's skull.
    • Alex removes her lock buster tool from an assassin's bloody chest. While the actual usage occurs off-screen, the implication is she tortured the guy to gain information.
  • It Works Better with Bullets:
    • After the assassins murder Kevin, revenge-seeking Alex grabs a pistol from a discarded handbag and takes aim at Mr. Washington. It turns out the pre-loaded clip is empty and the ammunition is in the bag.
    • Alex uses this to her advantage during the resulting chase sequence, escaping while henchman Mr. Monroe loads his weapon.
  • Laser Sight: At the safehouse, green laser beams alert Alex to the cleanup team's presence. Her warning comes too late for Raymond.
  • Leave No Witnesses:
    • After Alex's mask comes off during the bank heist, her crew members want to eliminate the hostages who've seen her face. While Alex is quite prepared to kill those who deserve it, she draws the line at innocent bystanders.
    • Mr. Washington's operating policy. He even yells the second part aloud when ordering his hit squad to eliminate Alex at the hotel.
  • MacGuffin: The data drive - the real reason Alex and her crew were hired for the bank robbery. Its contents remain a mystery until the final scenes, when Alex decrypts the contents with the assistance of a Techno Wizard and discovers the senator's plan to set off a bomb in Chicago.
  • Made of Iron: The cleaners prove difficult to kill, even for a badass like Alex.
    • Mr. Monroe endures a real beating and comes back to haunt Alex more than once.
    • Alex throws a knife in Mr. Madison's back. It merely annoys him.
    • Mr. Washington escapes an explosion specifically meant for him.
    • Ms. Clinton survives two explosions and still puts up a fight.
    • Averted with Mr. Jefferson and the bald thug, who both die at the first attempt. To make sure, Alex shoots them point blank in the head.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The bank robbers wear all-black leathery outfits with hi-tech masks that incorporate dazzling lights, tinted goggles and voice disguisers.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: After being outsmarted, Mr. Washington finds himself surrounded by armed police outside the airport. He's about to surrender when Alex tricks him into reaching for his tie. She then yells "Gun!" in feigned panic which prompts the nervous police officers to open fire.
  • No Escape but Down: Alex escapes the hotel by using a steep laundry chute. Fortunately there's a basket of clothes at the end to break her fall.
  • One Last Job: A smart woman like Alex should know these never go according to plan. Lampshaded after things get messy.
    Alex: (to Kevin) I should have never let you get me involved in this.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: During the assault on Penny Fuller's house, Mr. Monroe pursues her son Matthew to his fireplace hiding spot.
    Mr. Monroe: You enjoy playing games?
    Alex: (off-screen) I do.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Also happens to Mr. Monroe.
    Alex: (referring to Matthew) I don't want him to see this.
    Mr. Monroe: What? Me killing you?
    Alex: No, but you're in the right ball park. (Stabs him)
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: At the warehouse Alex sneaks up on Mr. Jefferson and inserts a gun in his mouth. When she contacts his superior and demands the diamonds in exchange for the subordinate's life, Mr. Washington calls her bluff and says Alex is not cold-hearted enough to pull the trigger. To prove she's deadly serious, Alex blows Mr. Jefferson's brains out and leaves an explosive device with his body for good measure.
  • Sadist: Ms. Clinton is a professional, but seems to enjoy her work.
    • The henchwoman takes her time beating up Fuller, forces him onto a bed, and digs her stiletto heels into his body. Then she stabs him so hard her blade passes through the mattress and frame. She does this to the poor guy twice, and the second time proves to be fatal.
    • While receiving instructions via phone, she's seen on a rooftop with a powered circular saw.
    Ms. Clinton: (eagerly) I'm ready to dispose of the garbage.
  • Samus Is a Girl: While the movie blurb telegraphs the reveal, Alex's body armour, full face mask and voice disguiser effectively conceal her gender before she's unmasked.
  • Sequel Hook: By the end of the movie Alex has dealt with Mr. Washington and his cleanup squad, but the senator remains at large to carry out his plan. Alex is determined to stop him, though.
    Alex: I've spent six years in the dark. It's time to come into the light.
  • Spy Fiction: Of the Darker and Edgier, Bleach and Ammonia flavoured variety.
  • Tap on the Head: Despite being whacked on the head at the warehouse, Alex doesn't seem remotely affected in the scene that follows.
  • The Tooth Hurts: The bank manager loses one during the very first post-credits scene when he gets punched in the face. And gets it forcibly reinserted when Alex realises it's required to bypass the vault's biometric scan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: To a degree. Penny goes from being a helpless victim to assisting Alex with her plan. Justified since her role is limited to support.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Multiple examples.
    • Subverted with the bank manager, who initially refuses to co-operate with the heist crew but eventually tires of being a human punching bag.
    • Played straight with Kevin. Despite Ms. Clinton's best efforts, he refuses to give up the location of the data drive. This could be considered a Heroic Sacrifice as doing so would have given away Alex as well.
    • Later with Alex, who holds out despite electroshock therapy and her leg being squeezed in a vice.
    • Apparently subverted when Alex succumbs to Mr. Washington's mind games. She's visibly distraught when he brings up her failed CIA mission that resulted in the deaths of several innocent civilians. In reality a double subversion, since Alex only pretends to break under the torture.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Alex and Kevin pretend to be husband and wife to fool a hotel security guard.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Alex and her crew think they've been hired to steal diamonds from the bank vault, but in reality the senator wants the data drive. Averted with Kevin who knows the truth.
    • Alex completely plays Mr. Washington. She tricks him into bringing his entire team along to the airport to retrieve the data drive - which he already has, but doesn't know it - and lures him into a fatal confrontation with the police.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mr. Washington usually keeps his cool. But he finally loses it when his attempts to torture Alex into submission at the warehouse don't work.
    Mr. Washington: (yells) Where... is... the data drive!?
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Unstable bank robber Wayne is shot and killed during the opening heist sequence. All his dialogue is spoken while wearing a voice-distorting mask, and his face is only shown during one brief posthumous shot.
    • The tall bald mook who shows up three quarters of the way in, only to not utter a single word, get kicked in the genitals by Alex, and executed with a head shot after a very brief struggle.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent:
    • During the opening heist sequence Alex is a blue-eyed redhead. After things go wrong she dyes her hair black and uses green-tinted contact lenses to alter her apperance.
    • Penny Fuller dons a wig for her supporting role during the climax.
  • With This Herring: After escaping from the hotel, Alex pays a visit to crew member Raymond at his loft safehouse. She's hoping to arm herself for the upcoming fight, but things don't go as planned.
    • First Alex has to convince Raymond to let her in. Her initial offer of ten thousand dollars just to open the door gets his attention, but he remains reluctant. Alex has more joy when she informs Raymond the cleanup squad killed his best friend Kevin.
    • Once inside the safehouse Alex expects to see some heavy artillery, but all Raymond has is a single shotgun (which he keeps for himself).
    • Alex asks Raymond for a laptop to examine the data drive, but it turns out he's Hopeless with Tech and doesn't have a computer at all.
    • Raymond does have a landline telephone. Realising its Time for Plan B, Alex contacts Penny Fuller - Kevin's wife who she's hardly on speaking terms with - to retrieve her Emergency Stash. Unfortunately the bad guys raid the safehouse, make short work of Raymond, and find out Penny's address using the phone's redial function.
    • The bad guys take the shotgun, so all Alex gets from her ill-advised visit is a Hostage for MacGuffin situation.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Nicely subverted by Mr. Washington who understands it's a good idea to keep as many underlings alive as possible when dealing with someone as dangerous as Alex. Even when she takes a hitman as a Human Shield, Washington refuses to Shoot the Hostage.
    • An anti-hero example when Alex eliminates her dangerously psychotic crew member Wayne during the bank heist. Justified since he would have killed her otherwise.
    • Inverted by Alex. After she escapes the hotel she's smart enough to keep the data drive hidden as a bargaining chip, knowing the cleaners will be reluctant to kill her until it's recovered.
  • You Just Told Me: Alex uses this method to track Mr. Washington. Guessing he's returned to the hotel, Alex calls him and says he'd better get out of there before the cops show up. Washington calls her bluff, saying she'd never contact the police. Then he realises he's just given away his location.


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