Scott Adkins – it is very tough NOT to root for a guy like him. He was basically poised to be the successor to the JCVD’s legacy of action films – before the bottom fell out of the action genre. Prior to the mid 2000’s, the “action star” was a special breed of performer who excelled at executing amazing fight choreography/action sequences. Van Damme, Stallone, Snipes, Arnie and Willis. Now, even the most successful name on that list is doing straight-to-VoD titles that are almost instantly forgotten – and he was John MClane! The traditional action star’s role has largely been usurped by the advancement in CGI technology (and a LOT of editing) that allows for less athletically gifted actors to get “action star roles.” Just look at Scott Pilgrim vs the World – a lot of action sequences being performed by actors who aren’t exactly in top physical condition.
So when a performer like Scott Adkins writes, produces and stars in a direct to video action film like Accident Man, hardcore action fans take notice…and also give it a LOT of leeway in terms of the acting and story.
Synopsis: “Mike Fallon, the Accident Man, is a stone cold killer whose methodical hits baffle the police and delight his clients. He is the best at what he does. But when a loved one is dragged into the London underworld and murdered by his own crew, Fallon is forced to rip apart the life he knew in order to hold those accountable and avenge the one person who actually meant something to him.”
Out the gate, let’s just admit it. The story, acting and a lot of the dialogue are rough. Even by cheesy action movie standards, this one was rocky. Adkins as Fallon has a really bizarre motivation for his emotional turning point. It never really connects with the overall story and feels a bit convoluted for what amounts to a basic revenge plot. Fallon’s ex-girlfriend (who realizes she’s a lesbian after the break-up) is murdered because of her involvement with exposing some corporation’s shady, environmentally un-friendly business dealings. And she’s pregnant with his unborn child when she’s murdered which Fallon takes very personally. It’s not a wholly unoriginal plot, but feels a bit like taking three lefts to make a right turn. A more straight-up storyline would have been better to help connect the action sequences and play to Adkins’ strengths as a performer. The emotionally heavy plotline felt at odds with the murderously merry and jovial tone the film laid out early on. If the film’s plot would have leaned in more to odd-ball vibe of the editing and action, it would have meshed better as a film.
Outside of the seemingly discordant main story, the rest of the film works really well as a fun actioner. The back story between Ray Stevenson’s paternal Big Ray and young Fallon had just the right amount of idiosyncratic dark humor to make an origin story feel more interesting than the standard fare. Stevenson and Adkins also have very strong chemistry that could have potentially made a great A-story in lieu of the dead-gf trope. Their dynamic had a lot of untapped potential that felt underused for a (kinda/sorta) love story. If there’s anything we’ve learned from 90’s actions films – the love story is almost always an albatross around an action movie’s neck.
The action. Now, this is where Accident Man shines. Aside from the creative (and happy-go-lucky) ways in which Fallon does his hits (like taking a selfie with a dead mark) this film has an all-star line up of action movie stars. While these names may not be first on the call list for the next superhero movie, any action film aficionado will know who they are. Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite), Ray Park (GI Joe, Star Wars Ep 1, X-Men) and relative newcomer Amy Johnston (stuntwoman for Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad and star of the VERY slept-on Lady Bloodfight – seriously check this movie out) all star along side Adkins. All of these performers are some of the best when it comes to excellently choreographed fight scenes and each fight scene absolutely delivers. The dojo scene with Park/White and Adkins and the final fight between Adkins and Johnston are seriously some top-notch action movie fights.
Accident Man has a lot of upside to it, but it seems like the writers tried to pack in too melodrama in an otherwise buoyant hitman film with a morbid, “wink-at-the-camera” sense of humor and some of the best fight scenes this side of the Cineplex.
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