Directed by: Jesse V Johnson
Starring: Scott Adkins, Ray Stevenson, Ray Park, Michael Jai White, Amy Johnson, Nick Moran, Ashley Green, David Paymer
Mike Fallon is a professional assassin who specialises in making all of his hits look like bizarre, unfortunate accidents. When someone close to him suddenly dies, he soon realises that her death wasn't a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - she'd been assassinated by one of Mike's professional colleagues. Mike takes it upon himself to investigate and avenge her murder, finding himself at odds with his fellow killers.
Back when Scott Adkins was in his early teens, he discovered a British comic called Toxic. Featured inside was a comic strip by 2000AD artist Pat Mills, called Accident Man. Ever since, Scott has been looking to adapt that strip into a movie. Finally, his recent collaborations with director Jesse v Johnson has given him the opportunity to make the dream project a reality. And the action film community rejoices as a result.
I am struggling to think of a British action movie that could come close to how entertaining and thrilling Accident Man is. Everything here works incredibly well.
Let's start with the cast, which is bursting with great talent. You have three of the finest screen martial artists working in the business today - Michael Jai White, Ray Park (Darth Maul) and Amy Johnson. Michael Jai White should need no introduction. Not only had he costarred with Scott in Undisputed 2 but is the star of Blood and Bone, one of the best action movies of the past 5 years. Then there's Ray Park, Darth Maul himself. He looks a lot different here, with his handlebar moustache and heavier bodyshape but just as lethal. The pair play Mic and Mac, two ex-special forces guys who bonded and work as a team. Amy Johnson arrives off the back of two very impressive films - Lady Bloodfight and Female Fight Club - and arguably gets the best fight scene with Scott, a real brutal effort and worthy climactic battle. The fight choreography is handled by the excellent Tim Man, who also worked on Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear (he also has a small fight while wearing a motorcycle helmet).
Special mention must be made for Amy Johnson's fight scene. Amy plays Jane the Ripper, lethal with a samurai sword and rumoured to keep her victims' penises as trophies. She get a flirtatious introduction with Fallon, which is kept up even during their fight. It is a seriously brutal affair, and some may balk at the idea of "the hero" being so violent towards a woman even when she's trying to behead him. However, the lengths Fallon has to go to subdue her is a testament to how dangerous she really is.
Just as impressive as the fighters is Ray Stevenson, whom I've been a big fan of since he played Titus Pulo in the tv series Rome. Here he's Big Ray, the landlord of the pub the assassins work out of and the boss of the group. We get a great flashback sequence which shows how close Mike and Ray are, which gives real weight to some of the things that go down in the latter half of the film. There's a great use of The Jam's "Town Called Malice".
The plot is reasonably straightforward but is given equal doses of humour, from the dialogue and narration, and pathos from Fallon's hitherto undisclosed feelings for his ex. Fallon is a character who doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve and only has a basic understanding of relationships ("She was the only girl I never cheated on!" is the closest he comes to expressing his feelings for her).
Accident Man is directed by Jesse V Johnson, a former stunt performer who really knows how to orchestrate and film action (in fact Jesse's film The Fifth Commandment was my very first official review). This is the second of four collaborations between Scott and Jesse (there are still The Debt Collector and Triple Threat to appear), and it would seem the pair's outings are as meaty as the ones with Isaac Florentine.
Scott Adkins' dream project has finally come to fruition, and all the various elements - Scott's commanding screen presence and martial arts prowess, the excellent cast, the script by Scott and longtime friend Stu Small and a director who understood the style of the comic and Scott's vision - come together in the most perfect way. Mike Fallon is a character who should be as well loved as Yuri Boyka, and let's hope this isn't a one-off.
9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)