"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Scott Adkins’

Section 8

Monday, November 21st, 2022

SECTION 8 came to VOD a couple months ago and now is on disc and I guess AMC+. It’s a solid and enjoyable movie of its type, with a good cast, some good fights, and liberal use of familiar action conventions that tend to be enjoyable. However I’m gonna show it a little tough love in this review because, as we agreed when I went on I Must Break This Podcast to discuss it last month, it’s pretty representative of where VOD/DTV action is at right now, for both good and bad. So there might be some value in going deep.

It has not one, not two, but three significant action stars in the cast – not as the lead, but in those we-can-afford-them-for-this-many-days-and-if-we-put-them-on-the-cover-we-get-financing type roles that are the bread and butter of this industry right now. One of the three is I think not used very well, one I did enjoy, another I think we will all agree is clearly the best part of the movie. All of them are added value along with Ryan Kwanten (RED HILL, THE HURRICANE HEIST), who stars, and Dermot Mulroney (SUNSET, THE GREY), who plays the villain with a grey beard that makes him look kinda like present-day-Mel-Gibson on the cover.

The story begins in “Mosul, Afghanistan” (uh… whoops) where Jake Atherton (Kwanten) is, we’re told, a really great marine, but his platoon is ambushed by the Taliban and only he and his mentor Captain Mason (Dolph Lundgren, HAIL CAESAR!) survive. I’m kind of unclear what happens, but later we’re told that Mason saved Jake’s life and also received a career-ending leg injury. (read the rest of this shit…)

Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

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. (read the rest of this shit…)

Day Shift

Friday, September 2nd, 2022

DAY SHIFT was a highly anticipated Netflix production that I watched right before leaving for my vacation-turned-sick-leave. I know plenty of other people enjoyed and discussed it upon release a couple weeks ago, now they’re mostly done with it and have moved on to other topics, but here I am to remind everyone that it still exists on a server somewhere and can be accessed at the click of a button if somebody remembers to. Which I recommend.

It’s a heartily enjoyable horror-action comedy that’s kind of like John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES but in L.A., and with more of a ZOMBIELAND sense of humor. I guess you could say it takes kind of a MEN IN BLACK approach to the profession of vampire hunting, but I can take it more seriously than that because it’s pretty raunchy and gory and especially delivers on outstanding action sequences.

And that was the main thing I was looking for, because this is the directorial debut of stunt legend J.J. Perry. I first became aware of him as the fight choreographer of UNDISPUTED II, followed by THE TOURNAMENT, WARRIOR, and HAYWIRE. But he’d been around since the ‘80s, a true blue veteran of the type of movies I love most. He played fighter J.J. Tucker in BLOODSPORT III and Cyrax, Scorpion and Noob Saibot in MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION. He did stunts in all the BEST OF THE BEST sequels, DRIVE, BLADE, and a bunch of Seagal movies (THE GLIMMER MAN, TODAY YOU DIE, BLACK DAWN, URBAN JUSTICE, PISTOL WHIPPED). He was the stunt coordinator and second unit director on productions ranging from ROAD HOUSE 2 to BLOOD AND BONE to FATE OF THE FURIOUS and F9. And there’s more justice in the world than I previously thought because now he’s directing a $100 million production starring an Academy Award winner! And Snoop Dogg. (read the rest of this shit…)

One Shot

Monday, November 8th, 2021

ONE SHOT is the new Scott Adkins joint, and the most heavily hyped and anticipated movie of the moment for those who stay plugged in to “Action Twitter.” I’m sure Adkins would prefer to work in a little higher budget range, but I think having a dedicated and growing following as he continues to make movies like this is a much better outcome than if he had been cast as Iron Fist or some big movie character like we all used to say he should. Instead of a super hero he’s an institution.

This one is not from Jesse V. Johnson or Isaac Florentine, but rising #3 most prolific Adkins director James Nunn (GREEN STREET 3, ELIMINATORS). And as you might guess from the title, yes, it is a movie like ROPE or RUNNING TIME designed to look like it was filmed in one continuous shot. I know there are some who don’t like that approach, so I will say in its defense that it doesn’t come across as flashy or show-offy at all (not that I would see that as a bad thing, personally) and the real time feeling serves to heighten the tension of its siege scenario. And in case you were wondering there is an organic explanation of the title (the protagonists believe they are defending their “one shot” to stop a terrorist attack). (read the rest of this shit…)

The Legend of Hercules

Monday, May 31st, 2021

Recently I was a guest on the Adkins Undisputed podcast and the subject of the episode was THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, the 2014 movie in which Scott Adkins plays the villain. Somehow I had never gotten around to seeing it, despite knowing about Adkins’ participation, and that it was directed by Renny Harlin (between DEVIL’S PASS and SKIPTRACE, but I haven’t seen those either), and that I tend to go to these F.S.G. (Fantasy Sword Guy) movies and at least somewhat enjoy them. For example I saw the other Hercules movie starring The Rock that came out the same year. I didn’t understand why they made it a world where there was no magic, and I still liked it.

This is the Hercules played by Kellan Lutz, who you may know as one of the young guys in THE EXPENDABLES 3, if not from TWILIGHT. He also starred in a DTV action movie I reviewed called ARENA. And it looks like he played William Shatner in Michael Almereyda’s EXPERIMENTER? His thing is I guess he’s a uniquely babyfaced burly guy. He looks young and doesn’t try to macho up with a beard or something but is also very, like… wide-headed. I guess he’s tall, but he always looks to me like a comics-Wolverine, Ram Man type guy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dude – I’m on Adkins Undisputed!

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Do you all listen to ADKINS UNDISPUTED? It’s a podcast done by a guy named Mike Scott, who goes through the Scott Adkins filmography in chronological order. I can imagine a version of that concept that’s fun to listen to, but not as good as what Mike does. He takes the job seriously, with heavily researched scripted intros, followed by a more free-wheeling discussion with the week’s guest (or “champion”). And very early in the run of the show Mr. Adkins himself caught on to it and has provided interviews for each episode. I’ve learned many things about the movies from Adkins, plus the side discussions have led me to all kinds of Hong Kong movies I hadn’t seen, and the rotating guests have introduced me to some cool people from the world of action movie fandom. It is fun to listen to, but also a genuine work of action movie scholarship. I love it.

So it was a great honor to be a guest on this week’s show. The subject is THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, which I hadn’t actually seen until now, despite Adkins playing the villain and Renny Harlin being the director. Mike originally invited me on for a better movie a little later in the filmography, but we realized it was going to be months before he got to it and nobody was slotted for HERCULES so I was happy to do it. I hope I did okay!
HERE IT IS

P.S. I’ll post a review of the movie after the episode has been up for a bit

Seized

Friday, October 16th, 2020

SEIZED is the long-awaited new one from DTV superteam Scott Adkins and Isaac Florentine. Though lately Adkins has formed a strong actor/director partnership with Jesse V. Johnson, it was Florentine who first gave him a showcase in SPECIAL FORCES and then made him an icon with UNDISPUTED II and III, plus NINJA and NINJA II: SHADOW OF A TEAR. This is their first reteam in at least four years – I have my suspicions about 2016’s excellent BOYKA: UNDISPUTED (credited to another director), but officially Florentine’s last time directing Adkins was 2015’s CLOSE RANGE.

This one is closer to the latter – another story about a guy single-handedly taking on cartels to protect his family. This time it’s more like a Hollywood thriller, more emphasis on the high concept and complex action sequences than martial arts. He’s kind of a JOHN WICK, settled down as a widower raising his teenage son Taylor (Matthew Garbacz) and running a cyber security firm from a beautiful home in Mexico, when his secret past as an infamous CIA and/or MI5 commando called “Nero” comes roaring back. (read the rest of this shit…)

Debt Collectors

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

DEBT COLLECTORS comes to V.O.D. tomorrow, May 29, and to DVD June 2nd. This review has mild spoilers (including my favorite line) if you want to hold off until you’ve seen it.

Friends, the Scott Adkins/Jesse V. Johnson streak continues to continue. In just four years the martial arts star and director have collaborated on SAVAGE DOG, ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR, TRIPLE THREAT, AVENGEMENT, and now DEBT COLLECTORS, a very welcome plural sequel to their singularly titled criminal-lowlifes-on-the-outskirts-of-L.A. buddy movie. Like the first one it’s written by Johnson and Stu Small (ACCIDENT MAN).

I loved THE DEBT COLLECTOR and thought it was a shame they got shot up at the end since I would have loved to see those characters have more misadventures. Honestly even if it had ended with them alive and a TO BE CONTINUED I wouldn’t have taken it for granted that they’d be able to make another one. So I’m thankful. If you need to know how the story continues, it’s pretty much the 3 FROM HELL approach: yes, they got shot, isn’t it amazing they survived? One in a million. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ip Man 4: The Finale

Monday, December 30th, 2019

IP MAN 4: THE FINALE is from the makers of the IP MAN trilogy, according to the giant standee in the multiplex lobby that made me aware of its Christmas day release. I’m grateful to be able to see movies like this on the big screen.

IP MAN is a series released across 11 years with stories spanning from the 1930s to the 1960s, with the great Donnie Yen (HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME) not only showcasing his great fighting skills (in a style he hadn’t previously practiced), but also giving his greatest acting performance as this distinctly gentle and polite asskicker. That’s why I wish it could go on forever. I’m sure we’ll get other great Donnie Yen movies, but I’ll miss him playing this character.

The final Ip Man adventure begins with the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships and takes place primarily in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Back home in Hong Kong, Ip lives in a tiny apartment with his moody teenage son Ip Ching, who has been kicked out of school for fighting (actually defending himself with too much enthusiasm). The principal and others convince Ip he should send his son to study abroad, so he decides to use a plane ticket sent to him by his former student Bruce Lee (Danny Chan, the Bruce-lookalike goalie from SHAOLIN SOCCER who subsequently played Lee in the TV series The Legend of Bruce Lee and then IP MAN 3) to try to get him admitted into a school in San Francisco. (read the rest of this shit…)

Abduction (2019)

Monday, July 15th, 2019

As I might’ve mentioned once or twice before, Scott Adkins has really been on a roll in his recent movies with director Jesse V. Johnson. But let’s not get too comfortable. He’s got a new one coming to DVD tomorrow called ABDUCTION. It’s not of similar quality, but I had fun with it, and it’s something different for him. The cover just shows him with a big gun, so I assumed it was a COMMANDO deal with him rescuing his daughter from kidnappers. Yeah, pretty much, but the kidnappers are aliens! Or inter-dimensional beings? I think inter-dimensional beings. Forgive my ignorance.

So no, it’s not a remake of John Singleton’s 2011 movie starring Taylor Lautner. I also got it mixed up with another upcoming Adkins project called SEIZED, which I have confirmed is a different movie, an Isaac Florentine joint where a daughter and son are kidnapped, presumably by humans.

I don’t think I can say ABDUCTION is Adkins’ weirdest, because there’s always UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, a far more atmospheric, moody and hard-hitting movie, better on every level. This one is literally a Roger Corman production and has the bland glossiness and chintzy digital effects I associate with the SyFy Channel. But it’s definitely not generic. It has a hell of an opening that immediately dunks your head in the craziness and takes its time before letting you take a breath. I was into it. (read the rest of this shit…)