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Acceleration (2019) Review

Avoid
1.5

Summary

A trite film that is undeserving of its talented cast, let alone being seen anywhere by anyone.

Plot: Crime lord Vladik (Dolph Lundgren) gives hired gun Rhoda (Natalie Burn), who previously double-crossed him, one night to make up for it by eliminating a list of his various enemies.

Review: Essentially marketed towards and baring resemblances to the on-going John Wick and Fast & Furious franchises, any viewer of this will find that it overall nothing going for with even the lowest expectations. The movie surprisingly isn’t derivative, it’s just that it’s truly unimaginative half the time when it’s not doing something already uninteresting. Matters are also not helped by its cast for numerous reasons.I will give any indie filmmaker a pass if they’re starting out or slowly growing since no one is free from human error, and while this crew has worked on films of different budgets and qualities, I hope they make a decent return so they can make something better.

Filmmaking is hard after all but there is one crewmember to blame: Mike Mendez. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because this editor/director has worked on other rather campy films such as The Last Heist, Lavalantula, Big Ass Spider and Don’t Kill It (also with Dolph), and all to much better execution. And despite a promising eye-catching car animation in the opening credits, no other technical merit can be found here. Awkward close-ups and bizarre cut-away shots occur for barely a second. All the fight scenes are shot underwhelmingly, which include a scene where Burn’s character shoots a female assassin after a brief fight (which makes her look cowardly and petty), and Dolph’s final fight with one-note henchman actor Chuck Liddell being unintentionally amusing with how it ends despite the film’s straight-face tone. There are old stock TV Western sounds emitting from every single gun fired in this film while every actor seems to be doing one-take line deliveries, and every driving scene is clearly statically shot against an unmoving background with Burn’s unconvincing car wheel steering motions.

So long story short: it’s every Filmmaking 101 rule that everyone’s been taught and this would be a perfect “How Not To” course study example. I have seen plenty of schlocky material on various formats and never expect everything to gel each time but this was distractingly bad to where it prevented literally any kind of entertainment value to be found. The performances were also distracting when either the poor technical material and lousy plot weren’t emerging. Burn kept switching between her Ukraine accent and decent English but her annoying narration only echoed how she was unable to carry this movie. Dolph’s scenes felt rushed or like he was passing a kidney stone- it was incomprehensibly dull and a shadow of his better acting; as if he wanted to be in a better film or had argued over how the lousy dialogue should’ve been delivered but didn’t give it any effort either way. Danny Trejo and Al Sapienza (Mikey on The Sopranos) both appear briefly and neither is able to elevate anything here, nor are they truly well-utilized. Trejo is so brief in his rushed scene that this is yet another film where he doesn’t deserve to be featured on the stylish poster.

Followed by the surprisingly lackluster or unengaged acting by an otherwise often talented cast, the only performer in this who was energetic all the way was Sean Patrick Flannery. He had the same over-the-top tone and welcoming presence in this entire film. Heck, he was the only one who presented some kind of menace yet was also underused too. So anyone looking for action, you won’t find it. The cast performances either never gel or seem like a victim of no able-bodied crewmember reviewing the dailies properly. The lighting and visuals range from decent color schemes to bad Photoshop added hues or gunshot effects. So when you get no reasonable action or acting followed by unbearable crew choices, then it’s not dishonest to call this one “skippable.” What was even the plot in this thing again, and why was it even worth making? I guess it was fun to make but the only fun that was left intact was that of the questionable poster.

The film is playing in local theaters but it’s not deserving of any big screen experience. I rented it on Amazon Prime and it was a drag even by VOD standards. Seeing for free would have been just as big a rip-off. It’s that soul-crushing, I’m telling you.