"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday

ACCIDENT MAN: HITMAN’S HOLIDAY is the latest real-deal Scott Adkins movie (like, he’s the star, not just a guest appearance), and joins the first ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR and DEBT COLLECTORS as one of the movies that showcase the once-stoic actor’s sense of humor and verbal dexterity along with his trademark flying kicks.

If you’re unfamiliar with ACCIDENT MAN, it was Adkins’ passion project, based on a ‘90s comic strip by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner about elite hitman Mike Fallon, who elaborately plans murders to look like freak accidents. It has a sort of DEADPOOL style of heavy-narration cheekiness, but it’s a top notch indie martial arts movie with a great cast and fights. Ray Stevenson (PUNISHER: WAR ZONE) plays Fallon’s mentor and father figure Big Ray, who runs a pub for colorful assassins called the Oasis. When Mike’s environmental activist girlfriend is murdered, he suspects a conspiracy, and ends up in battles to the death with his colleagues, including ones played by Michael Jai White, Ray Park and Amy Johnston.

Well, that left Mike on bad terms with Big Ray and banned from the Oasis, so the sequel picks up with him working far away in Malta. A crime boss named Mrs. Zuuzer (Flaminia Cinque, Thomas & Friends) gives him jobs and pays him well, the work is easy for him, the weather is beautiful, he has a nice place and a big TV.

He does feel guilt about having killed most of his friends, though. That comes up even before he runs into returning character Finicky Fred (Perry Benson, SID & NANCY), the humorously out of place old nerd who makes weapons and contraptions for his elaborate kills, and starts working with him again. The teaming of these two characters is one thing that makes this stand out from other modern action movies. This seems like a guy who could be in a PADDINGTON movie if he was into something other than inventing murder weapons. I like their chemistry – Mike is always cursing Fred out or grumbling about him but clearly likes him. The ol’ Clint Eastwood style lovable grump friendship.

The trouble comes when someone tries to kill Mrs. Zuuzer’s entitled adult son Dante (George Fouracres), and tries to make it look like an accident. Mike didn’t do it but if he doesn’t keep Mrs. Zuuzer’s obnoxious kid alive she’s gonna kill Fred. So curmudgeonly super killer Mike tries to clear his name while acting as babyman-sitter and fending off attacks from a series of increasingly cartoonish would-be assassins.

For example you have Yendi (Faisal Mohammed, “Huge Warrior,” THE LEGEND OF TARZAN), a scary behemoth with facial tattoos and scarring who calls himself a vampire and always identifies and comments on people’s blood types while fighting them. And maybe Mike’s most dangerous new foe is an evil clown named Poco (Beau Fowler, “Vern” in AVENGEMENT). As I just mentioned in my TERRIFIER review I’m not generally pro-evil-clown (exception for Killer Klowns), but this is a good, weird physical performance, he’s leaping around like an anime character, using a cinder block on a long stick as a giant sledge hammer, and it makes for a great battle.

Jesse V. Johnson did such a great job directing the first one, but it was Adkins’ baby. For this one he brought on stuntmen turned rookie directors The Kirby Brothers (George & Harry), with the screenplay again written by Stu Smalls, co-story credit for Adkins. It’s all very well executed, with a good mix of settings for the budget, including some outdoor fights, Mike’s home and the warehouse laboratory where he and Fred test out and practice their experimental murder tech. Credited fight choreographers are Adkins himself, George Kirby, Hung Dante Dong (who was in NIGHTSHOOTERS), part 1’s Tim Man (I read that he did pre-viz), and Andy Long of the Jackie Chan stunt team. They deliver that thing we love, that’s so much more precious these days – the action movie where they were able to spend alot of time crafting the fights so that they are the main point of the thing and not just an obligation of the genre. Many Adkins fans loved last year’s ONE SHOT, which I agree was a good simulated-single-take War On Terror thriller, and a very good acting performance from Adkins. But man, this is what I want in a Scott Adkins movie: tons and tons of flying kicks, acrobatics, grappling, smashed walls and furniture, sword fights, chain fights, characters straight out of a video game – the good shit. I’m glad he still seems to share my interests.

The best new character is Wong Siu-ling (Sarah Chang, Celina Jade’s stunt double in WOLF WARRIOR 2), who Mike tells us is a descendent of Wong Fei-Hung, and the greatest martial artist he’s ever fought. He pays her to periodically sneak up like a ninja and ambush him. It’s pretty much the same joke as Cato in the PINK PANTHER movies, except of course this is Scott Adkins, so it’s much more sophisticated fighting and choreography, with Guyver kicks and everything.

She’s also just a really funny character – the way she flips him shit and acts like she hates him, but immediately seems charmed by Fred and goes out of her way to help him with his problems. I like her whole dynamic with Mike – he seems legitimately scared of her, but frustrated that he keeps losing to her. There’s a great flashback of him discovering her beating up dudes while working as a waitress. She’s in the background kicking ass over his shoulder while he’s in the foreground drinking a beer, waiting for her to be done so he can make her an offer. The best thing about the inclusion of Wong Siu-ling is that Mike sort of pretends he’s paying her to keep his skills up, but he’s really trying to punish himself for killing his friends in part 1. He admits it in narration, and Fred recognizes it instantly. I think that’s what clinches her as my favorite thing about the sequel. A punishment who becomes a friend.

I can’t deny that for me there’s a little bit of a disposable feeling to this one – it’s a fun new episode rather than the fresh new experience it was to see Adkins do this sort of thing for the first time. Also there was more of a tightness to the first story, the way it centered around the pub and this group of associates. And there’s drama in the way he has to take on people he once liked (or still does like).

On the other hand I really think this is a good sequel because it returns to the same world and tone but mixes things up in many ways – the sunny Malta setting, the more outlandish gimmicks, the way the character is dealing with the fallout from the first movie, and changing as a person (but not in too heavy-handed of a way). Also it’s kinda nice that the childhood flashbacks throughout the first movie are already out of the way, so we can get on with it. Mike has a complicated view of Big Ray, with some recognition that maybe it’s sort of bad for a guy to teach a child how to be a hired killer, but also he wants to repair things with him. Like, who is he to judge? So it’s an organic evolution from the first story, not a rehash. If not a permanent classic, HITMAN’S HOLIDAY is a nice little vacation, at least.

ACCIDENT MAN: HITMAN’S HOLIDAY hits U.S. VOD tomorrow, October 13th (October 24th in the UK)

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2022 at 1:18 pm and is filed under Action, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

26 Responses to “Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday”

  1. Glad you got an early review of this. One interesting tidbit from my interview with Scott that’s running tomorrow: This one wasn’t based on any of the comics. So it’s an original story in the Accident Man world, which might contribute to some of the differences from the first one.

  2. Somebody oughtta tell Adkins it’s not cool to release action movies in October when some of his biggest fans are on a strict horror regimen.

    Also, I’m not seeing a blu-ray/DVD release. Which is worrying. When low-budget action gives up on physical media, I feel like the format might be doomed. Is it just gonna be shark movies and cheap westerns from here on out?

  3. Woo Hoo! I figured that after some really lackluster outings, the film to restore the Awesome in Adkins would either be a BOYKA, NINJA or ACCIDENT MAN installment (or maybe an AVENGEMENT 2?). While I think Yuri Boyka is a great character, awesome fights aside Casey Bowman is about as vanilla bland as a lead can get, so thrilled AF to get another installment featuring the wry and sardonic Mike Fallon.

  4. No love for a Savage Dog 2 KayKay?

    Tillman might be the most low key deranged Adkins star role. He ate Marko Zarors liver….

  5. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 17th, 2022 at 3:00 am

    I had a lot of fun with this. It’s insane to me that they managed to shoot the whole thing in 22 days, with this many high quality fights. As always when I hear about the ridiculously short shooting schedules on your typical Adkins film, it makes me really sad that he doesn’t get the chance to headline similar projects with triple the amount of time and budget behind it. What joys we could have if that happened.

    I will say that the comedy in this was a bit more present and over the top than I would have liked. The Dante character especially really got on my nerves – I get what they were going for but the actor wasn’t quite able to sell it. Also the film took too much time to get going. I wasn’t really on board until Ray Stevenson showed up, which I think is about 25/30 minutes in? After that we start getting all the fights against the different cool assassins and that’s when it really hits off.

    The action was well done, especially the fight against the first female assassin (although finding out the reason why she’s uncredited in the film was a bummer) and above all, the Andy Long fight towards the end. Some fantastic choreography in that, and really good camera work. I didn’t like the way the fight ended* but everything up until that point made it the best on-screen fight Adkins has done in a few years.

    * one of my pet hates when it comes to 1v1 fights in movies is when they are decided when suddenly a 3rd person appears out of nowhere and kills one of them, often from off-screen. So unsatisfying, it’s like a ruined orgasm and I don’t get why this trope happens in so many films. Another recent example is the final fight of THE GRAY MAN.

  6. Oh shit. I had to dig for her name and thought it was a mistake she was uncredited. Now I googled her. Ugh.

  7. They didn’t have the money to reshoot the scenes and they kinda had to keep it in probably for runtime and I assume are contractually obligated amount of fight scenes. It is what it is.

  8. What the hell happened? I’m not gonna be able to see this for a while but you guys got me curious.

  9. Never mind. Found it. Yeesh.

  10. Someone wanna drop a hint? Can’t find anything on google or imdb about an uncredited assassin?

  11. They’re referring to Zara Phythian, a martial arts actress who was also in DOCTOR STRANGE with Adkins. Her and her husband were convicted of sexual abuse after the movie was filmed.

    https://www.syfy.com/syfy-wire/zara-phythian-and-her-husband-convicted-of-child-sex-abuse

  12. Zara Phythian…sigh! And I actually thought she had so much potential after the underrated low budget Brit Zombie/Martial Arts flick TRIBAL: GET OUT ALIVE. A terrific martial artist on screen …and a bona fide repellant asshole off it…sigh (again)!

  13. Ben, I think I enjoyed parts of SAVAGE DOG, but felt some parts dragged. I remember being a little let down with both Adkins fight with Cung Le and the climactic one with Zaror. Felt a little rushed. Maybe a re-watch is due

  14. The thing with Phythian must have been such a jolt to production. When the trailer was first released, most sources said the duration would be only 82 minutes (it turned out to be 97 min), so I wonder if they initially considered cutting her scenes altogether. I think they made the right choice by keeping the product untouched, not only because that whole sequence is excellent but also because several events there are relevant later, which would either kill consistency or require way too much editing. Having her uncredited ends up being a bit conspicuous, but I understand the choice.

    About the movie, I really liked it. For me one of the best action movies of the year, much better than Bullet Train, much better than The Gray Man, much better than Day Shift. And this for a film shot in a mere 22 days, with a budget likely closer to 5M than to 10M.

    Some may say Siu-Ling or even Dante nearly stole the movie, but for me this was still the Scott Adkins show in and out and, in addition to being his usual perfect balance of grace and power you don’t really find elsewhere, he was just brilliant in every regard. It’s hard to believe he’s already 46 looking at him, even harder when you watch him leap and fly across the screen.

    A few negatives however.
    Except for Poco, I found the line delivery from the male assassins abysmal, Silas being probably the worst. Also felt his character was pretty dull compared to everyone else.
    Grew quickly tired of the Siu-Ling character, even if her moves were incredible. Also not sure all that guilt and self-punishment even suits Mike Fallon’s character in the first place.
    Too much camera rotation and zooming, especially in the Freya fight.
    Didn’t like the ending to the final fight. I guess they wanted to avoid a finisher similar to the Jane fight in the first film, but rarely did it feel so rewarding to see a film character getting their butt handed to them, so after such a great progression in the fight I’d have liked to see more of that and ultimately a different conclusion.

  15. That’s sadly the problem with low(ish) budget productions. When one of your cast members turns out to be a horrible piece of shit, you can’t just reshoot their scenes with a new actor. Best thing you can do is remove as many of their scenes as possible and ignore the person in the advertising.

  16. Claude, I really liked the camera movement. It allowed the fights to feel more kenetic without it ever being over cut or over shaky. I have to assume that it also makes cutting oddly easier.

  17. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 18th, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Very cool to find out Corridor Crew helped with a couple of the shots as well. The arm break especially I thought was very well done!

  18. oooooh fuck. That is about as hardcore as a reason for wanting to get rid of someone could be.

  19. Considering every Scott Adkins vs Amy Johnston fight video from the first film is flooded with comments like ‘irl this would last 2 seconds’, ‘she shouldn’t be able to take so many hits from him’, ‘was she fighting Boyka she’d be dead in 5 seconds’, I don’t think a gag of Scott being kicked through a glass table by a girl will go down very well with rabid fanboys, on whom the point that these brawls are supposed to be more comical and he’s not fighting seriously will certainly be lost.

    Anyway, at a time where most action stars are known to have clauses in their contracts setting the number of punches they can take to ensure they’ll ‘look good’ on screen (…), more power to Scott Adkins, who could certainly kick in the teeth of the majority of those other action stars while preparing tea, for having the confidence and humility to poke a bit of fun at himself and not embark in such ego-trips.

    An aspect I actually love about this film is how everyone is given a chance to show what they can do and truly shine.

    All has basically been said about the movie already. Fantastic scenery, solid acting from the key players, colourful characters, some of the best fight sequences in recent years.

    A great mix of action and comedy with a lot of heart. Overall a very fun film, which I feel I’ll rewatch regularly.

  20. I was watching the Art of Action special episode on Accident Man 2 and realised Oyumi actor, Andy Long, played one of the Ozerov Brothers on Boyka: Undisputed (the other was Tim Man).

    He was the guy Scott Adkins unfortunately knocked out accidentally while shooting their scenes, and he had to go to hospital.

    And the AoA episode shows Andy was accidentally (no pun intended) hit by Adkins again in this movie. Fortunately nothing serious this time.

  21. Echoing the praise for this one, even with the lack of a physical media showing, so I have to put up with the show turning into a blur of pixels every ten minutes. I swear, studios, I’m willing to shell out the extra twenty bucks if I get to enjoy the actual movie instead of a batch of hanging dicks on C*O*P*S.

    Dante is a definite weak spot, as the ‘love to hate’ thing never really gels for me, but he’s meant to be annoying and get his comeuppance, so passing grade there. Amused that the actual ‘Accident Man’ gimmick is about as relevant to Scott Adkins Kung-Fu Adventures as Daniel Craig being a spy was to his tenure of going rogue and pursuing personal vendettas. You wonder why they bother, especially with the dodgy CGI most of the accident sequences have, but once that’s out of the way, the hour or so of film that is basically one karate miniboss after another is absolutely blissful.

    I’m even developing a liking for Mike Fallon the character, who Adkins clearly has fun playing and expressing his personality. He’s getting right up there with Boyka for me. And I do often complain about how many assassin movies are about the assassins pussying out and protecting a target instead of actually being an assassin, so I love that finally there’s a movie that goes “fuck it, he only kills bad people!” and then gets on with it. In that sense, the Dante stuff is actually a pretty nice subversion. The ‘theatrical movie’ version of this would have Dante be a little kid or a hot chick and Mike forms a bond with him. Yeah, yeah, save it for Disney+. I want to see him get blown up while Ray Stevenson laughs about it.

    Loved the had-to-be-a-Point-Break-reference moment where Ray, unable to (effectively) shoot his friend, fires into the air like Keanu. Only Keanu didn’t let out a full-throated “CUUUUNT!” to really sell the moment. And the Point Break remake thought modern audiences wanted IMAX……..

  22. It’s gooooood! A lot goofier and simpler than the first one, but given how hard doing comedy is, gotta give everyone involved credit for landing so many of the jokes as well as the action beats. Great stuff.
    Hated Dante, though; his schtick is way too broad and… well, just not very funny. Not surprised most here have said as much – it might have worked on the page but all his stuff belonged to another, much worse movie. I mean, one of his big comedic scenes is taking a massive dump…
    Speaking of which, I was kind of impressed by Dante’s shitting sounds; very, very disgusting. The foley artist must have had a lot of fun coming up with those.

    Actually, the bit where Adkins is taking on the vampire and you can see Dante jumping in the background, ineffectively trying to get to the window did make me laugh.

    Also – The bit where Stevenson converts the nine-million-euros bounty to a smaller amount of British pounds? that’s going to date the movie, a lot. It’s kind of an unintended joke given recent events here in the UK; A painful, unfunny joke.

    Fred’s a proper geezer, Siu-ling is very funny as well as an impressive kung-fu fighter, and Stevenson is awesome as always. Can’t wait for the next one where hopefully the four of them will do a Hitman returns to work or pull a Hitman’s sick leave or whatever else they want to go with.

  23. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 24th, 2022 at 5:35 am

    Regarding that conversion rate, I don’t know, chances of the euro becoming worthless somewhere in the (near) future are pretty significant as well. It’s all turning into a disaster over here as well.

  24. I’d be very surprised if this doesn’t get a physical release eventually.

    At least in Germany. Even Incoming got a blu-ray release there.

  25. We love our physical media, even if it will be sold in overpriced Mediabooks. (See rant from several years ago in the PHANTASM [if I remember correctly] comments)

  26. I’m guessing they haven’t announced a Blu-Ray release yet, so that people purchase the digital version in the meantime instead of just waiting for the disc.

    Anyway, it baffled me to learn that more than three weeks since launch the movie still has not been released in half of the world. There’s just no excuse for that in the digital era. And I’m talking about major markets like Australia, Italy, France, Germany. I mean Germany alone must have paid for Mr Adkin’s house, considering all his movies are released on Blu-Ray there, many of them with multiple editions (Avengement has had like 10 different editions in Germany). Australia at least has a release date for November 9, but most of Western Europe seems to be in the dark as to the when or even if and where.

    These hiccups aside, AM: HH seems to be doing quite well. I was looking at iTunes charts earlier for a different reason, and this was there, in the Top 30 Worldwide. I checked for more details, and it has made it to the Top 10 in about 20 countries already (not major markets, although one of them is India, where AM: HH has been sitting in the Top 10 for 8 days and counting), including #1 in three countries. It has also been in at least Top 100 in about every country it released in, including the US, Canada and the UK. And no less important, the first Accident Man has also charted in several countries in the past couple of weeks, including a few Top 10 spots.

    If this isn’t good enough, I’ll have to wonder what targets for low-budget movies are like these days.

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