Scott Adkins becomes a one-man army in his latest collaboration with director Jesse V. Johnson.
Cain Burgess is a prisoner in London who has learned his mother is hospitalized. En route to seeing her, he has learned she died. He decides to use this opportunity to escape. When he successfully pulls it off, he heads off to a local bar. While having a pint, he confronts some very familiar faces and after a brief exchange, he holds the place hostage and it is here, where we learn who Cain is and how he ended up where he is today.
A struggling man, Cain is asked by his older brother Lincoln to do a job for him so he can help him get some money to get by. Cain must steal a purse from a young woman that has something of importance to Lincoln. However, when he pulls the job off, he learns the woman had chased him and was hit by a car. Cain is put in prison and upon his arrival, he is brutally beaten. Cain constantly finds himself targeted while locked up and when he learns who is responsible, he trains himself and becomes a lethal fighting machine with one thing in mind: revenge.
Like his collaborations with Isaac Florentine, British martial arts ace Scott Adkins tends to have chemistry with his directors and while he may be known at the start of his prolific career for his work with Florentine, these days, his collaborations with stuntman turned filmmaker Jesse V. Johnson have become just as exciting as his films with Florentine. With excellent films like Accident Man, The Debt Collector, and the recently released ensemble-led Triple Threat, it is clear that Adkins and Johnson are a dream team and this film proves no different.
Adkins looks his most dangerous since his signature role of Yuri Boyka in the Undisputed sequels. When we are introduced to Adkins’ Cain, he’s already looking his meanest, with a near shaven head, scarred face, and metal teeth that would make the James Bond-villain namesake proud. We do get brief bits of how Cain looks before his physical transformation and it is only when he is imprisoned that we see his transformation from a guy who is just trying to get by to becoming this lethal fighter hellbent on revenge.
Craig Fairbrass has that level of intensity that works well with Adkins as his brother Lincoln, a crime boss who one can pretty much guess what part he plays in all this. Nick Moran, as Hyde, Lincoln’s right-hand man seems more like a Tom Hagen-like figure rather than someone tough. Of course, Lincoln does have his share of tough guys, ranging from Beau Fowler of the great short film Express Delivery to Green Street Hooligans’ Leo Gregory with young Thomas Turgoose playing the newest member of the gang, a wannabe tough kid named Tune.
Dan Styles takes over as fight choreographer as opposed to Adkins’ usual collaborator Tim Man. And that’s completely okay as Styles brings a more grounded style with beats of Adkins’ trademark kicking skills. The brutality of the action comes somewhat on the level of a previous film between Adkins and Johnson, Savage Dog. The scene that would cause Adkins to support his metal choppers is very disturbing, but it becomes the catalyst of Cain’s transformation into a legitimate threat and a very dangerous man who has only one thing on his mind.
Avengement is another winner for the duo of Scott Adkins and Jesse V. Johnson. Brutal fights, a structured flashback story, and some great performances make this one to check out.
WFG RATING: B+
Samuel Goldwyn Films presents a Compound(B) and Bleieurg Films production. Director: Jesse V. Johnson. Producers: Joe Karimi-Nik and Ehud Bleiberg. Writers: Stu Small and Jesse V. Johnson. Cinematography: Jonathan Hall. Editing: Matthew Lorentz.
Cast: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbrass, Thomas Turgoose, Nick Moran, Kierston Wareing, Leo Gregory, Louis Mandylor, Beau Fowler, Luke LaFontaine, Terence Maynard, Ross O’Hennessy, Mark Strange.
Samuel Goldwyn Films is releasing the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital on May 24.