Genre : Action
Rating : Unrated
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
As different as film genres can be, they also have quite a bit in common. Good writing is always important, clowns always make for a good villain and everyone loves a good, old fashioned team up. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the cinematic soul mates like Scorsese and De Niro working together on a dramatic masterpiece like Raging Bull or Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg creating comedic gold a proper team up can bring out the best in a movie. In the world of action movies few have shown the chemistry of action star Scott Adkins and director Jesse V. Johnson. Since 2017’s Savage Dog this dynamic duo have put out some of the most criminally overlooked action movies of the past couple of years. After the martial arts wet dream known as Triple Threat they together once again to traverse some of the grimier streets of England with Avengement.
After nearly a decade behind bars, lowly criminal Cain (Adkins) escapes from police custody. Imprisoned for petty crime a naive Cain is quickly hardened by life in prison. Training to survive Cain only has one thing in his mind, vengeance. With a price on his head he takes a mob-owned pub hostage waiting for the man behind the hit; his own brother.
Their fifth collaboration over the past two years, Adkins and Johnson have developed the kind of chemistry that translates perfectly to the big screen. A former stuntman himself Johnson has the kind of skill filming martial arts movies that few others have. Avoiding handheld camera as often as possible, Johnson is able to capture every one of Adkins’s bone crunching hits in beautiful wide shots and long, unbroken takes. Showing a refinement missing in past movies Johnson’s talent behind the camera shines during Avengement‘s final fight. Despite a convoluted plot and perhaps one too many plot twists Johnson is able to capture fight scenes with speed and brutality that would make John Wick blush. Of course, one of the few people who can keep up with Mr. Wick is our star, Scott Adkins.
In a Scott Adkins film top flight martial arts action is practically a given. A black belt of nearly a dozen disciplines Adkins is one of the most accomplished martial artists in film today. What is surprising is how his acting was just as good in Avengement. Although he isn’t a bad actor by Adkins’s roles aren’t usually too meaty. For the most part he is cast as a generic hero or an irredeemable villain. Thankfully Avengement gives Adkins a bit more to work with. Through a bit too many flashbacks we see Cain go from a bumbling wannabe criminal to the grizzled fighter he becomes. Aside from a thick English accent it makes for a fun, if terribly cliché, journey.
In a world where action cinema tends to feel homogenized Scott Adkins and Jesse V. Johnson give audiences a breath of fresh air. Leaning more towards the brutal style seen in their first collaboration, Savage Dog, Avengement is a gory mix of Bronson and The Hateful Eight with a hint of Green Street Hooligans to top it off. And while it may not be the most original of movies it’s mix of hand-to-hand combat, bloody action and superb practical effects make for another classic from action’s very own gruesome twosome.
Links : IMDB
Avengement is now in theaters and on VOD