Film review: Pain, hysteria and just a small dose of crazy in action-packed Acceleration

By Alexander Green
April 4 2020, 10:00

Money laundering, murders and drug deals gone wrong, Michael Merino’s Acceleration has it all.

The 80-minute crime extravaganza delivers nothing less than pain, hysteria and just a small dose of crazy as LA gangsters double-cross each other in a killing frenzy.

Beginning with the trailer, which introduces Acceleration as a classic action thriller with the words: ‘In this business there is no room for mistakes’, enticing the audience to find out more, however cliched it may sound.

A hybrid between Fast & Furious and Kill Bill, Acceleration is a dark action feature focusing on the struggles a Lara Croft-type character faces, as she races against the clock to complete a hit list.

The female assassin ‘Rhona’ played by Natalie Burn is a no-nonsense, independent woman, who sets off on a killing spree after being held to ransom by her crime lord boss Vladik – played by Dolph Lundgren.

Unfortunately, there is a clear price to pay and a lot at stake for Rhona as her son, a pawn in this crime chess game, is used to blackmail her into doing Vladik’s dirty work.

But how far will a mother go to protect her child in a time of crisis? 

Both main characters are equally fascinating, but very different.

Rhona is a severe, mysterious and authoritative street fighter torn between being an effective killer and a loving mother.

Whereas Vladik is conveyed as a stubborn, egocentric crook who possesses a rat-like cunning and has a manipulative way with words.

The introduction of a woman as the main lead in an action film is welcome, particularly as there is no hyper-sexualisation of Rhona, the focus is placed on her ability to do her job effectively.

This is unlike films such as the Stieg Larsson trilogy, which portrays the main female character, Lisbeth Salander, as a woman consumed by her sexuality.

Sean Patrick Flanery stood out by far in his portrayal of Vladik’s main rival Kane.

A foul-mouthed, money driven individual who speaks in cliches and platitudes, Kane proves to be the most interesting character who soon becomes the ultimate enemy in Rhona’s quest for redemption.

This is unlike Vladik who remains behind a computer screen directing orders for the most part of the film, only getting involved in the action near the end.

Considering this film has not one but two action movie veterans,  I was surprised at how stale and lacking in energy their performances were.

Specifically Danny Trejo, famous for ‘Desperado’, who only featured in one scene and gave a reasonably passive and mundane performance.

This has proved to be a huge contrast with his exciting roles in ‘Heat’ and ‘Machete’ where he was much more in the driving seat.

Danny Trejo as Santos

Maybe it’s time they handed in their weapons and went into retirement as their performances were only a reflection of an action past time (I’m thinking the ‘A Team’ and ‘Rocky’ for anyone who doesn’t know) which has had its moments.

At the same time, the twists and turns throughout the film will certainly keep you on your toes, but more with confusion than with excitement.

Rhona is seen to race from target to target without any explanation of the victim’s relation or involvement with Vladik, which means you have to piece it together yourself.

Crammed into just under an hour and a half, it’s a great shame the storyline was not developed further into Rhona and Vladik’s backgrounds; which maybe would have set the context of the film more effectively.

Overall, if you’re looking for a time filler or if you enjoy deciphering cryptic action films, then give Acceleration a watch, otherwise, look elsewhere.

Acceleration will be available to digitally download on Monday April 6. You can pre-order here.

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