Released: February 2018
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
Run Time: 105 Minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Scott Adkins: Mike Fallon
Ray Stevenson: Big Ray
Ashley Greene: Charlie Adams
David Paymer: Milton
Michael Jai White: Mick
Ray Park: Mac
Amy Johnston: Jane The Ripper
The independent action film scene has been around for decades, but some of the films have only come out in the past 15 years. A huge part of that is due to the efforts of one British martial arts actor/stuntman Scott Adkins. While the man has had small roles working with folks like Jackie Chan, it wasn’t really until Undisputed II: Last Man Standing that Scott really exploded on to the scene. The man has had a steady line of work ever since working in films like The Shepard, Ninja, Expendables 2, Wolf Warrior, Hard Target 2, Doctor Strange, and Savage Dog. Not everything that he’s made has been at the very least entertaining if not fantastic. The man has put so much effort into everything that he does, that it was about time that he started having more of a direct involvement in the movies that he’s been making. Enter Accident Man, a personal project for Scott Adkins that ends up being better than most “personal projects” by other actors.
Scott Adkins pays Mike Fallon, an assassin whose specialty is making hits look like accidents. After each target is eliminated, Mike either takes out his stress on either a punching bag or groups of random dirtbags in local pubs. Everything goes according to plan until he finds out that his ex-girlfriend was murdered and that the killer may be a member of the organization that Mike is a part of. His quest for vengeance and the truth ends up leading him to turn against his fellow assassins. I love movies like this. The story doesn’t waste time with overly complicated twists and shock endings. The story here is surprisingly well thought out and engaging. Again, it’s not overly complicated and can be predictable at times, but when it hooks you, it doesn’t let go. A lot of that is the result of some pretty strong writing. Some of the strongest writing and lines here come from Scott Adkins who shares the writing credit with Stu Small. While the film certainly has an edge, it’s smart enough to know to not take itself super-serious. While that can work for certain films, the writing here is genuinely funny at times with plenty of dirty jokes and more off-color humor. I would love to see Scott do some more writing in the future, because his wit is as accurate as his fighting.
The action sequences in this film are second-to-none, thanks to Tim Man, a frequent collaborator with Scott Adkins. The fight choreography is sharp and hard-hitting. One of my favorite fight scenes is when Scott’s character takes on Michael Jai White’s and Ray Park’s characters in a dojo. Tim Man has a real gift for 1-on-2 fights. All the fight scenes are incredible. The finale when Scott takes on Amy Johnston’s character is one of the coolest fight sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Even though the fight scenes are pretty brutal, there’s still an element of humor thrown into the mix which makes them all the more entertaining. Again, it comes back to some pretty sharp writing.
I’ve been throwing around the whole “Expendables” comparison thing over the past couple of reviews here, but Accident Man is another one. Not only do we have Scott Adkins at the helm, we’ve also got Ray Stevenson. Michael Jai White third time starring with Scott Adkins and seeing these two fight each other is something to behold. Darth Maul himself, Ray Park, is also here and he’s actually really good. He and Michael Jai White form this duo of ex-special forces characters known as Mick and Mac. We also have an up-and-coming martial arts superstar in Amy Johnston who more than holds her own against the boys. There’s a lot of strange characters in this film, but each of them is fairly memorable. One of them is this character called Poison Pete whose specialty is…well…poison. He’s a very squirrely and anti-social character that’s pretty creepy.
For an indie film, Accident Man has a very professional, big-budget look throughout the entire movie. We can thank director Jesse V. Johnson for helping give the film its look. It’s incredibly well-shot with wide exteriors and proper lighting so we can see what’s going on. The camera-work is also fantastic as the director doesn’t rely on the weak-ass “shaky-cam” technique that a lot of big-budget action films tend to use. The soundtrack for the film is equally amazing. It’s a combination of punk rock, heavy metal, and classic rock-style music. This should not work at all in a movie like this, but it does. It definitely gives the film a mid-80s, early 90s vibe that is absolutely fantastic.
If there’s really one nitpick that I have with this movie is that we aren’t really given more insight into Mike Fallon’s relationship with his girlfriend. Also, I would have loved to see how Big Ray got his crew together. However, those are just some minor nitpicks in an other-wise bad-ass action flick that should be on the radar for anyone looking for a good time. It’s a movie with an edge and a sense of humor that does have a bit of heart. It’s well-written, in no small part due to Scott Adkins and his passion for the project. Scott’s got a lot of interesting stuff coming up this year including a film called Triple Threat. If you haven’t been paying attention to this guy’s work, I would start paying attention right now.
My Final Recommendation: Beware of defenestration. 9.5/10