Directed by Michael Merino and Daniel Zirilli, Acceleration is a sort of female-led riff on the John Wick movies with Natalie Burn in the lead role. This low budget actioner is energetic and it features some great physical action from its leading lady, but sadly it fails to deliver the type of thrills that you would expect from a film which also stars Dolph Lundgren, Sean Patrick Flanery and Danny Trejo.
Set across one (seemingly very quiet) night in Los Angeles, Acceleration follows Rhona (Burns) as she carries out a series of tasks set by the mysterious Vladik (Lundgren). Rhona must complete them by sunrise in order to secure the release of her young son. Each tasks gets more and more dangerous as Rhona gets increasingly worried that she might not get to see her boy again. Alongside this main narrative is Sean Patrick Flanery’s gruff mobster, who is somehow caught-up in the mayhem which crackles across the empty streets of LA.
Lacking any real logic or reasoning, Acceleration rattles along at a brisk pace but it’s a soulless endeavour. The kinetic energy of the John Wick series is clearly the template that Merino and Zirilli were working from, but sadly this film just doesn’t have the budget or the finesse of that Keanu Reeves starring franchise. It’s a shame because Natalie Burn is a great physical actress and she sells the action scenes, but sadly she doesn’t have enough character to deliver the film’s thinly written emotional beats. Fans of Dolph Lundgren and Danny Trejo will be disappointed by the size of their roles. The latter gets less than five minutes of screen-time, while the former is little more than a glorified cameo. At least he gets to shoot someone. Meanwhile, Sean Patrick Flannery appears as if he’s in a different movie altogether. The former Young Indiana Jones star chews the scenery as if he’s just binge-watched every film Al Pacino has made over the last thirty years. At least he’s having a good time.
A huge disappointment, there’s sadly very little to recommend in Acceleration. Natalie Burn tries her hardest with what little she has to work with, but that’s not enough to breathe life into this darkly lit low budget B-movie. On the plus-side, it’s pretty short and very noisy, so you won’t find yourself falling asleep amongst its CGI augmented gunfire.