Review: Accident Man

 

Scott Adkins is Mike Fallon, an assassin who specialises in making his kills look like accidents, and then heads off to the pub to beat people up in what he refers to as Post-Murder Therapy. Mike’s not in a great head space at the moment, to be honest. His girl has left him, and being an arrogant dickhead with an inflated opinion of his masculine appeal to women, Mike can’t understand that. Worse, she left him for another woman (Ashley Greene), and he can’t even begin to get his head around that one. Mike is one of a collection of assorted eccentric assassins who all join up at a watering hole called The Oasis, which is manned by Mike’s no-nonsense mentor, a former assassin called Big Ray (Ray Stevenson), who now lives somewhat of a quite life behind the bar. The plot kicks in when Mike finds out that his cheating ex-girlfriend has been killed in an attack that Mike suspects was an inside job. So which one of Mike’s fellow assassins carried out the kill? And on whose orders? Michael Jai White and Ray Park play a couple of assassins who specialise in making their kills look like the work of lowly thugs. Amy Johnston plays sword-wielding bad arse Jane ‘The Ripper’, who can trash talk as well as her male counterparts to boot. The other eccentric assassins are mild-mannered poisoner Finicky Fred, and weaselly Poison Pete (Stephen Donald), and the extremely volatile axe-wielding thug Carnage Cliff (Ross O’Hennessy). David Paymer plays Milton, the nerdy-looking man who hands out the orders, and whose life is protected under the rules enforced by Big Ray.

 

A passion project for years by co-writers and old school pals Scott Adkins and Stu Small, this 2018 comic book adaptation directed by Jesse V. Johnson (several Adkins films like “The Debt Collector” and the fun all-star “Triple Threat”) is one of star/co-producer/co-writer Adkins’ most entertaining films to date. A nifty blend of “Kill Bill”, “John Wick”, and “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, it gives B-grade martial-arts icon Scott Adkins one of his best roles, and the man doesn’t disappoint. As the arrogant cockhead professional killer who designs his kills to look like accidents, Adkins’ Mike Fallon is full of Jack Burton-esque idiot swagger (Like me, Adkins is a fan of “Big Trouble in Little China”) and he even manages to kick the crap out of people on occasion. An early pub fight shows Adkins in peak form on that front, and he nails the arrogant hardboiled narration too. The bit where he completely decimates an undersized biker with a Bruce Lee fetish (played by frequent Adkins fight choreographer Tim Man) is especially brutal and efficient. Meanwhile, as much as I enjoyed “Triple Threat” more than many seemed to, the Boyka vs. Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) and Darth Maul (Ray Park) fight is better than anything in that film. It’s an amazing fight choreographed and carried out by the best in the biz as far as I’m concerned. It’s also bloody funny, with Michael Jai White in particular getting in a very funny line of stupid, futile braggadocio. It’s not exactly “The Story of Ricky” in terms of ultra-violence, but look out for one of the best – and funniest – decapitations in recent memory towards the end. Honestly, if you can watch him in this film and don’t think Scott Adkins deserves to have been a big action star by now, I’m calling you a liar.

 

The collection of eccentric assassins who frequent the same English pub, are all interestingly distinct from one another. I especially liked American martial arts star Michael Jai White and Darth Maul actor/martial artist Ray Park as a couple of ex-Special Forces goons and taekwondo experts who make their kills look low-rent on purpose so that the cops won’t give a shit. Also funny is Perry Benson as Finicky Fred, a rather milquetoast-y poison expert who looks more at home at the end of a bar drinking a pint than being in the professional kill game. Outside of the assassins, the other standouts here are Ray Stevenson and veteran American character actor David Paymer. Stevenson plays Big Ray, a former assassin who owns the Oasis pub and was our protagonist’s mentor in the killing business. There’s a priceless flashback to how the two met when Fallon was a bullied young paper boy. Funny stuff. Stevenson brings an entertaining blustery swagger and no-nonsense face to proceedings that thankfully differentiates him from Ian McShane’s character in the “John Wick” films. The similarity is there, but it’s different enough. Paymer is pitch-perfect casting as a shifty little weasel, and he gives one of his best performances in decades. If there’s a dud in the cast, it’s probably Ashley Greene, but it’s not entirely her fault – she plays the only ‘normal’ person in the film, and is thus a tad dull. Speaking of dull, the only other complaint I have here is that there’s a couple of minor dead spots here and there. The flashback, for instance would’ve been best served as a prologue to the film rather than being placed mid-movie. That’s a pretty small downside in what is otherwise a winner.

 

This has the kind of genius action movie premise you’d think someone would’ve capitalised on earlier on the big screen. I’m glad star/co-producer/co-writer Adkins and his pal Stu Small have graced us with it, with the help of director Johnson. Adkins is ideal as the cocky idiot hitman, and the supporting cast of eccentrics are a fun scummy lot, too. Really enjoyable stuff from a star who should’ve been shining a lot brighter a lot earlier. If you enjoyed “John Wick”, “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, and the “Kill Bill” films, you’ll no doubt get a kick (yep) out of this one, which is equally efficient in action and comedy. It’s definitely a lot better than the subsequent collaboration between Johnson and Adkins, the merely OK “The Debt Collector”.

 

Rating: B-

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