Sci-fi has been arguably my favorite movie genre for my entire life. Inside of that genre I have always been a huge fan of time travel movies. I have always liked the premise behind time travel because it gives the potential for some really interesting story ideas. While there are some arguably bad time travel movies, I generally even enjoy those movies as they can still provide some silly fun. As I like the genre I was intrigued when I was given the opportunity to check out a screener for Volition. On the surface Volition is not really a time travel movie as the protagonist instead sees the future, but the movie seemed to have a lot of the elements that I enjoy about time travel movies. I was a little curious though as Volition is more of an indie movie as it had a much smaller budget than most movies made for this genre. At times Volition shows its smaller budget, but when you look past that you find a movie that has a clever twist on the formula that fans of the genre should really enjoy.
We would like to thank Giant Pictures, Paly Productions, and Smith Brothers Film Company for the screener of Volition used for this review. Other than receiving the screener we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the screener had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
Volition is about a man named James Odin. When he was a kid his mother died in a tragic car accident. If that wasn’t bad enough James saw a vision of the accident two months earlier and tried to prevent it. Ever since that day James has thought his life was preordained and there was nothing that he could do to change his fate. As he felt like what he did in his life didn’t really matter he has been a sort of slacker for most of his life using his ability to make sports bets and commit other minor crimes. As others know of his ability he is roped into helping an acquaintance move millions of dollars worth of diamonds while avoiding the authorities. Everything seems to be going okay until James sees a vision of his own death. James must test his long held belief that his fate is fixed in order to try and save his own life.
Before getting into the rest of the review I want to say that I am not going to go into many specifics about the plot in order to avoid spoilers. For the most part Volition is a story about fate versus freewill. Based on his past experiences James believes that the world is dictated by fate where there is nothing that you can do to change your future. To save his own life though he needs to try and find a way to avoid the fate that he thinks is predetermined. I think this dichotomy between fate and freewill is done really well in the movie. As a matter of fact I think you could interpret the movie as supporting either stance as the movie does a good job maintaining that balance.
For the most part I really enjoyed Volition. I have always been a huge fan of time travel movies and Volition has many of the elements that I really enjoy about the genre. Volition is not quite a time travel movie as instead of traveling through time the protagonist can see the future. The movie still shares a lot in common with your typical time travel movie though. As he can see the future he tries to use this information in order to try and avoid his fate. Volition does a good job creating a twist on the typical formula. I am not going to get into the movie’s twist, but I think it really makes the movie. Things that seem a little off early in the movie make perfect sense once the twist is revealed. I found the twist to be a little predictable. I think the movie does a good job utilizing it though as it really makes the movie work. People who like this genre of time travel time movies should really enjoy Volition.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this review I was a little concerned that Volition was smaller budget film. I am not sure what the film’s budget was, but it is obvious that it wasn’t a blockbuster. The movie’s budget shows in the fact that the movie uses less locations and doesn’t include huge action scenes or many special effects. In fact outside of some car chases and some brief shootouts the movie isn’t filled with a ton of action. If you are looking for that type of movie you might be a little disappointed in Volition.
In a lot of ways the lower budget doesn’t really hurt the movie. It might not have a lot of over the top action sequences, but it pivots from that by focusing more on using the character’s ability in other ways. Without the larger budget the movie had to be more creative which helps the movie most of the time. Volition might not have the most well known cast as many of the actors are more known for television than blockbuster movies. Nonetheless I thought the acting in the movie was quite good. There are times in the movie where you can tell that the budget was limited, but the movie does the best that it can with it.
I enjoyed Volition and I think most fans of this genre will as well. I would say that my biggest complaint with the movie is that the pacing is a little off at times. The movie is 91 minutes long so it is not overly long. I could honestly have seen the movie being a little longer. There are a few points in the movie where it can be a little slow though. Most of these moments happen in the first half of the movie. There aren’t any parts that are overly long but a little editing here or there could have probably improved the movie some. After the twist is revealed the movie really picks up. I am kind of curious to see what the movie could have been if it had a larger budget as the premise is really good.
Volition is not a perfect movie as it shows its smaller budget at times. I was surprised by the movie though. I have always been a fan of the time travel genre and I thought Volition was an interesting twist on it. It is not your typical time travel movie as it is more about seeing the future, but it shares a lot in common with the genre. Volition may start a little slow, but it really starts to pick up once the twist is revealed. I think the movie is quite clever as you can tell that the story was well thought out. The acting is good and the movie does a good job utilizing its budget. I am kind of curious what the movie could have been though if it had a larger budget.
My recommendation for Volition mostly comes down to your opinion of sci-fi movies and time travel movies in general. If you don’t really care for the genre I don’t see Volition changing your mind. If you generally enjoy this genre of movies though I think you will really enjoy Volition and should consider watching it. While I ultimately ended up giving Volition a 3.5 out of 5 it was right on the cusp of getting a four out of five as I kept debating back and forth between the two ratings.
Volition will be released on Apple TV, Prime Video, and other digital services on July 10th, 2020.