Review by Sean Boelman
Tony Dean Smith’s Volition begins with what may be one of the cheesiest and on-the-nose introductory lines of any film in recent memory. However, thanks to a killer twist that comes at the end of the third act, this manages to be a surprisingly enjoyable blend of crime thriller and sci-fi.
The movie follows a man with clairvoyance who makes a desperate bid to change his future after having a vision of his own death. Ultimately, there is a lot more to this story than it may seem at first glance, especially once the film reveals its true secrets heading into act two. Although the script does rely on a solid amount of tropes, it pulls from several different subgenres of sci-fi to deliver a mostly challenging experience.
At times, the movie can be a bit hard to follow, especially because the first act is essentially a giant red herring. However, once the viewer gets acclimated to the new direction in which the film is heading, it is easy to get wrapped up in its rhythm. The action comes in short, intense bursts, which is very effective.
Admittedly, the movie doesn’t do much that is groundbreaking or particularly refreshing with its ideas, and the fact that so much of the dialogue is frustratingly direct certainly doesn’t help. Unfortunately, this will probably end up falling victim to the mountain of other films that deal with changing fate.
Still, the movie does a mostly good job of developing its characters. Sadly, the female lead has a lot of archetypal qualities, but the protagonist’s arc is unexpectedly compelling. Even though the growth he shows is rather predictable, it has a solid amount of emotional impact when it comes down to it.
Adrian Glynn McMorran does a solid job in his leading role, having a very charming leading man aura about him. He does struggle with a few of the line deliveries, especially in the first act, but his screen presence is very strong. John Cassini gives an over-the-top performance in his supporting role, but is a ton of fun to watch.
Visually, the film is a bit aggravating, mostly due to the fact that it is trying to accommodate for the fact that it is a low-budget B-movie. The most disappointing sequences are those that incorporate the protagonist’s visions, as they are rather poorly-shot and gimmicky. When the movie is more grounded, it works much better.
Volition gets off to a very rough start but eventually finds its way to be an enjoyable sci-fi thriller. If audiences go in with modest expectations, they will discover that this is a lot more fun than one would expect.
Volition hits VOD on July 10.