Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor play each other off so well in this latest collaboration between Adkins and veteran director Jesse V. Johnson.
French is a martial arts instructor who is down and out as his dojo is on the verge of foreclosure. When a potential buyer threatens him, French proceeds to show he is not backing down. However, he does need help and turns to friend and student Alex for advice and a possible job. Alex is a debt collector known as “Mad Alex” and warns French that his job is not as easy as it seems. However, Alex decides to help French out.
French gets hired and works under Tommy, Alex’s boss. To start on his new job, French works alongside Sue, a veteran collector who has issues of his own. Sue and French begin their day and things don’t bode so well at first. However, Sue finds that he has found himself a worthy partner due to French’s fighting skills. The fact that it impresses Tommy leads them to work with their boss, who is making a deal with a crime boss, Barbosa. However, when things don’t go as planned, French and Sue find themselves in a bind and the only ones who will be able to protect them is each other.
British martial arts ace and WFG favorite Scott Adkins seems to pull off some major collaborations with certain directors. There is something there that when it comes to Adkins teaming up on multiple projects with one director. After a successful breakout collaboration with Isaac Florentine in the Undisputed sequels and Ninja films, Adkins’ collaborations with Jesse V. Johnson have proven to be just as big. Beginning with Savage Dog, the Adkins-Johnson partnership have proven to be successful, with both Accident Man and this film.
Adkins gets to showcase both his action and acting talent as French. While Adkins is more known for playing badass fighting type characters, he brings that but adds some comic relief when necessary. This comes when he gets to work with Louis Mandylor, who plays veteran debt collector and partner Sue. Mandylor, forever known for his performance as Nick Portakalos in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding films and its short-lived TV spinoff, has had his share of action and brings that here as well. However, the focus of the film seems to be this budding partnership of French and Sue. The chemistry between Adkins and Mandylor is truly the heart of the film.
The supporting cast is quite delightful as well. Adkins’ Savage Dog co-star Vladimir Kulich plays big boss Tommy as a kind-hearted boss who is willing to help French prove his mettle and when the newcomer succeeds, trusts him for an even bigger job. Michael Paré brings quite an interesting performance as the catalyst for our hero, as he is seen as a student of French and is the one who is at first hesitant but can see the desperation in his teacher’s eyes, thus recommending him to Tommy.
This time around, Luke LaFontaine serves as the film’s stunt coordinator and fight choreographer. While an opening fight showcases Adkins taking on the likes of veteran David No, most of Adkins’ fights in the film consist more of close quarter combat rather than his trademark flashy style of martial arts. And for the situation here, it works just fine. There are beats of comic relief to go with some of the action, such as seeing Adkins gets thrown through a wall by a nearly 7-foot bodyguard of a car dealership owner who owes money to Tommy. However, it is in the last half hour of the film that things get truly serious and provides plenty of firepower and fisticuffs at times.
The Debt Collector is a wild action that relies and successfully brings out a buddy action comedy in the form of partners Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor, who prove to be the heart of the film and it is once again another successful collaboration between Adkins and director Jesse V. Johnson.
WFG RATING: B
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents a Tarzana Productions film in association with Cohesive Entertainment Group and Compound B. Director: Jesse V. Johnson. Producers: Ehud Bleiberg and Deborah Del Prete. Writers: Jesse V. Johnson and Stu Small. Cinematography: Jonathan Hall. Editing: Matthew Lorentz.
Cast: Scott Adkins, Louis Mandylor, Vladimir Kulich, Michael Paré, Tony Todd, Jack Lowe, Rachel Brann, Essam Ferris, David No, Rob Mars, Rich Manley.