Scott Adkins is back in this thrilling action film that has a little bit of a supernatural twist but gets its point across.
Former MI6 agent Martin Baxter has been haunted for the past twelve years. It is because during an assignment in which he went undercover as a journalist in Ukraine, he not only lost a cache of important files to the Russians, but he lost the love of his life as a result. Now retired and constantly moving with daughter Lisa, Martin makes his money in underground fighting as well as work as a bouncer at a local nightclub in London. One night is set to change things forever for him.
Sasha, the daughter of the journalist Martin worked with years ago, has found him and needs his help in finding the lost documents so she can expose the Russians’ interference when it is revealed that a diplomat in the U.S. has been exposed to the nerve toxin that the documents Sasha is looking for could involve. However, when the Russians, led by Tatyana, kidnap Lisa to ensure Martin works for them and get both the documents and Sasha. To make matters worse, CIA agent Trevor and MI6 agent John are hot on Martin’s trail as they fear he may be getting back into a game he never should have returned in. Will Martin be able to rescue his daughter or will things go awry?
You just gotta love Scott Adkins. While the British star is usually known for his martial arts action work, he also has the excellent range of a wonderful actor. For this multinational co-production from Ukrainian director Adrian Bol, Adkins gets to meld the two aspects of action and acting in a role of a man haunted by his past and forced to face the truth when his daughter’s life is at stake. He finds himself in a sort of Yojimbo-like state, forced to work both sides of the law all while experiencing the ghost of his love, Olga, played by Tetiana Nosenko.
What makes this film very interesting is that lead villain Tatyana, played by Anna Butkevich, gives off a vibe that shows she is not completely bad. She is a product of the Russian government, and yet in her scenes with Lisa, played in a breakout performance by Honor Kneafsey, she shows that more sympathetic nature as the two actually seem to bond over making money off boxing fights and Tatyana feeling a bit obligated to tell the truth about Lisa’s mother and Martin’s past actions.
As for Yuliia Sobol, she is reminiscent of one of the great breakouts of last year, Florence Pugh, with her role of Sasha, a young reporter determined to finish what her father had wanted to start twelve years ago, bringing to mind another recent film, Mr. Jones, in which the media finds itself somewhat manipulated by the governments with Sasha’s intentions to expose the reality of the so-called “free press”. With this being an excellent role for her, we could see another potential breakout in the future with Sobol.
Tim Man choreographed the action scenes here and once again, Man delivers when it calls for Adkins to do what he does best, kick butt and take names. While Adkins doesn’t get to do as much as the flashy work like in Undisputed, the more grounded fight choreography completely compliments the serious nature of the film as a whole. A highlight involves Adkins taking on fellow British martial artist Leon Sua, who plays MI6 agent Edwards. However, this being an esponiage thriller, expect a bit more of the firepower style action than hand to hand combat, although there are a few nice little fisticuffs aside from Adkins vs. Sua.
Legacy of Lies is a very well-done espionage thriller that brings out the best in Scott Adkins in terms of both grounded action and his excellent acting range, especially in the “haunting” scenes. Breakout performances by Honor Kneafsey and Yullia Sobol as well as an excellent performance by Anna Butkevich makes this one Adkins thriller worth watching and getting!
WFG RATING: A
Lionsgate and Grindhouse Entertainment presents a Legacy Films in association with 13 Films, Eager Films B.V., Film Polska, Toy Cinema, supported by the Ukrainian State Film Agency. Director: Adrian Bol. Producers: Adrian Bol, Alla Belaya, and Krzysztof Solek. Writer: Adrian Bol. Cinematography: Simon Rowling. Editing: Yuri Reznichenko.
Cast: Scott Adkins, Anna Butkevich, Yuliia Sobol, Honor Kneafsey, Leon Sua, Martin McDougall, Matt Mitler, Tetiana Nosenko, Marco Robinson.