AVENGEMENT / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JESSE V. JOHNSON / SCREENPLAY: JESSE V. JOHNSON, STU SMALL / STARRING: SCOTT ADKINS, CRAIG FAIRBRASS, THOMAS TURGOOSE, NICK MORAN, KIERSTON WAREING / RELEASE DATE: JULY 1ST
Martial arts superstar Scott Adkins has made a career out of playing hard men who love nothing more than to kick seven bells out of people. In Avengement, his latest collaboration with stunt co-ordinator-turned-director Jesse Johnson, his violent origin is actually quite different.
Adkins is Cain, a decent chap who happens to have a criminal family and is jailed for something he shouldn’t have been locked up for. While inside, he’s beaten and tortured by the other inmates until he decides to not stand for it anymore. He absconds while on day release to see his dying mother (he misses her passing by minutes because the guards decided to have a tea break) and sets about getting his ultimate revenge for what he’s been through by confronting his brother. It’s certainly not the type of lock-in that they are used to.
The majority of the action takes place in a pub run as a hangout for villains, with Cain telling his tale in flashback. It’s an interesting narrative trick that allows for some gripping scenes, particularly when his brother Lincoln (Fairbrass) shows up. Expect plenty of cockney shouting and swearing and lashings of blood as things come to a head, particularly for Lincoln’s associate Hyde (Moran).
Of course, you wouldn’t expect historical costume drama from a movie like this, and fans of Adkins and the brutal martial arts-tinged films he appears in will not be disappointed with the action. The ass-kicking and pummelling is of the highest order as the stunningly choreographed fight scenes - of which there are many - are unbelievably fierce and uncompromisingly gory.
Occasionally, the characterisations veer towards over the top stereotype, but when everything else is so hyper, why ground the clichés - just give the punters what they want. It’s ably acted by all involved - with standout performances from Adkins (plastered under some nasty makeup and with metal teeth most of the time) and This is England star Thomas Turgoose, who provides some comic relief amongst the overpowering testosterone. Avengement appeals to more than the usual action market and is highly recommended for those with a strong stomach.