Rhona (Natalie Burn) is no stranger to illegal activities—her trainer Vladik (Dolph Lundgren) taught her the rules of the game. But now Vladik has turned against her, kidnapping her young son Mika (Dobromir Mashukov), giving her just 8 hours to complete the tasks he has outlined inside five numbered envelopes. He has designed these tasks to help take out his competition—it’s 11pm, and Rhona just has until sunrise to carry out Vladik’s orders if she wants to see her son again. These tasks include collecting the product Vladik is owed by a drug dealer, eliminating a gun supplier, burning down another drug dealer’s operation, getting intel from a criminal data supplier (Danny Trejo), and obtaining a human trafficker’s (Al Sapienza) ledger. Meanwhile, rival criminal kingpin Kane (Sean Patrick Flanery) is also working on cleaning up his own loose ends, with the help of muscle Hannibal (Chuck Liddell), and these two efforts are ultimately headed on a collision course.
While the premise of the film sounds like it has the makings of a fun action movie, unfortunately the execution is incredibly sub-par. The film never feels like the high-octane action film it sets out to be. It feels very low budget, like we are moving from set piece to set piece as Rhona tries to complete each task. The fight sequences tend to be overly-choreographed and methodical, with poorly-synchronized foley work to try to sell the action. Explosions primarily happen off-camera, and shootouts are overlayed with ridiculous CG flashes. I could understand if the film was going to a pulpy, almost comic-like aesthetic, but it doesn’t feel like it is going for that. Also, at times, the dialogue is poorly written and delivered. It seems like each of the locations Rhona visits are severely under-staffed and under-guarded, and completing each mission is incredibly easy. Instead of this long list of tasks for Rhona to complete, the filmmakers should have trimmed these down, fleshing out the characters and situations, and amping up the stakes.
Sean Patrick Flannery feels like he’s in a different movie from the rest of the actors, giving a performance that’s over-the-top and campy. Meanwhile Dolph Lundgren isn’t given much to do at all. Most of the time Vladik is just sitting behind a screen in his control room, watching Rhona on her dash cam. She constantly calls requesting to speak with her son, he says “No”, and she continues to go through her envelopes of tasks. This gets quite repetitive and annoying—even Vladik tells her so. The one highlight of the film for me were the moments between Vladik and Mika—I was reminded of the fun scenes in Cold Pursuit where Liam Neeson is speaking with his precocious young captive.
The high-stakes that the film tries to establish never really feel that urgent. Rhona goes about her tasks at a snail’s pace—though the filmmakers occasionally speed up the footage to make it look like time is passing quickly, and we are constantly shown the clock and how much time she has left. It never feels like Mika is in any real danger, and by the time Rhona is eventually reunited with him, she never seems that upset with Vladik for taking her child. The film has this Sarah Connor-like narration that opens and closes the movie, with Rhona talking about how there’s no room for mistakes in this line of business. However, it feels more like a rip-off of Terminator and less like something that is truly earned over the course of the film.
Cinedigm’s Blu-ray release is very bare-bones—the Blu-ray is packed in standard HD keepcase without a slipcover and doesn’t include a digital copy or any bonus material. The DTS audio track is incredibly aggressive, with the constantly thumping score dialed up to 11. I never found it too oppressive, and it did help to add some excitement to the film. The audio track also never drowns out the dialogue (though sometimes you may wish it had). The picture quality is decent overall, with some nice detail and color (there is this purplish hue to many scenes). However, everything takes place at night, and sometimes the really dark scenes looked a bit muddled and I experienced some black crush.
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH
- The disc contains no bonus material
Acceleration has the ambition of creating a female-led John Wick like film, but unfortunately it ultimately fails in its execution. I’m generally not a fan of writing bad reviews—I’d rather just not review something I really didn’t enjoy. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend a blind purchase of this film. While those that enjoy B-movies may find this to be a lot of fun, I don’t believe the majority of viewers will. It’s a bare-bones release with no bonus material, and I recommend a bargain rental before any purchase to see if it’s something you would want to watch again.