Accident Man (2018)

Accident Man (2018)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Jesse V. Johnson

Starring: Scott Adkins, Ray Stevenson, Brooke Jonston, Michael Jai White, Amy Johnston, Ashley Greene, Ray Park, Tim Man, and David Paymer

Mike Fallon (Adkins) is part of a firm of hitmen (and one hitwoman) who each have their own specialties when it comes to killing. Some are brutal, some are careful, but Mike's own unique brand of offing his clients comes in the form of making their demise look like an accident. He was brought up under the wing of Big Ray (Stevenson), his mentor and fellow hitman who now runs the local pub where all the hitpeople congregate.

When his beloved Beth (Brooke Johnston) becomes the target of assassination, Mike goes rogue to find out who ordered the hit. While it's bad that this course of revenge shatters his carefully-crafted life, the really bad part is that he is then the subject of a dreaded "Kill Brief" and all his former compatriots now come after him, and he has to fight his former friends and expert killers one by one. Will he finally get to the truth? Will it be a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top? What will become of the ACCIDENT MAN?

Not to be confused with the Yahoo Serious romp Mr. Accident (2000), Accident Man is an entertaining good time starring the ever-reliable Scott Adkins. He's joined this time around by a very solid cast of fan favorites such as Lady Bloodfight herself, Amy Johnston, as well as Ray Stevenson and Michael Jai White, among others. Adkins and White have not one, but two fights together and the action overall is well-executed. There's a strong sense of humor throughout and a lot of good energy propelling it all along.

It appears the story was based on a comic book, and that feel is definitely there. It's like a DTV Guy Ritchie movie, but better, and there appears to be a healthy dose of the John Wick series added to the mix for some extra flavor. 

But the whole thing is uniquely British and Adkins really seems in his element here. There are several references to their English identity, including pro-Brexit sentiment. Two songs by The Jam are on the soundtrack (can you guess which ones?) and Adkins does a very enjoyable voice-over narration of the tale. The soundtrack has some nice synthy moments that 80's fans will appreciate. 

Speaking of 80's classics, we have Michael Jai White screaming while shooting a machine gun and a classic barfight. The idea of a hitman club with its own unique characters, which then splinters and becomes a case of "best vs. the best" is an appealing one. It's done with style and you care about what's going on. It's all totally professional and should have gone to the theater here in the U.S. In days gone by it would have, but these days it doesn't have a chance at a theater release, sadly. But there's always Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming services.

Scott Adkins and the gang have turned in another winner, and we absolutely recommend Accident Man.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


Counterforce (1988)

Counterforce (1988)- * *

Directed by: Jose Antonio De Lama

Starring: Jorge Rivero, Andrew Stevens, Isaac Hayes, George Kennedy, Hugo Stiglitz, Simon Andreu, Susana Dosamantes, Louis Jourdan, Kevin Bernhardt, and Robert Forster

Somewhere in a foreign land, The Dictator (Forster) is causing trouble. No real surprise there, unless you consider the fact that he's known only as "The Dictator". Even the news reports about him call him that. Because there's a pro-democracy politician named Kassar (Jourdan) who opposes The Dictator, the U.S. sends in the COUNTERFORCE to protect him because he now has a target on his back.

Counterforce, who have their own, specially-branded hats and jackets so you know it's them, is an elite squad of soldiers who are the best of the best. They consist of Colby (Kennedy), their leader, Nash (Stevens), the spiritual guy who likes zen and meditation, Ballard (Hayes), the muscle, Harris (Rivero), who leads the men in the field, and Sutherland (Bernhardt), who everyone calls "flyboy" because he likes planes. Will the Counterforce protect Kassar and put an end to the reign of terror of The Dictator?

If you like the A-Team, you'll probably like Counterforce. It's very, very A-Team-esque. The whole movie plays out like a feature-length version of the show. Each member of Counterforce corresponds to an A-Team character. Instead of Mr. T, they got Isaac Hayes. Instead of George Peppard, they got George Kennedy. Of course, for the characters of Face and Howling Mad Murdock, they got Jorge Rivero and Andrew Stevens. And Kevin Bernhardt. Even the shooting, car stunts and blow-ups seem heavily inspired by a certain 80's TV show. And it's not Mama's Family. 

Now that that's out of the way, we can talk about the main reason why anyone would go out of their way to see Counterforce: the cast. It's an impressive lineup of B-Movie favorites and regulars. You get Robert Forster as an out-of-control Arab dictator, complete with an indefinable accent and a proclivity towards wearing capes over his normal clothes. There's Jorge Rivero, who last starred in director De La Loma's Killing Machine (1984), AKA Goma-2. He's very no-nonsense this time around, and his ability to load a pistol one-handed is very impressive.

Andrew Stevens and Isaac Hayes are the original odd couple and provide most of the humor in the film. George Kennedy, as usual, holds things together. At this point in his career, Kevin Bernhardt was on the ascendancy, as Counterforce was sandwiched in between Kick Or Die (1987) and Midnight Warrior (1989). Whether those qualify as video store classics is debatable, but it seems Bernhardt was everywhere in the late 80's. 

As if all that wasn't enough, familiar faces such as Louis Jourdan, Simon Andreu, and Hugo Stiglitz round out the cast, which was truly international. The only real female cast member, Susana Dosamantes, was a mainstay in Mexican movies and TV but is probably best known for being in Rio Lobo (1970) with John Wayne. 

While there are a handful of cool bits and some nice, mild humor, it's all very standard. It's an El Presidente slog by any other name. Yes, the scene in the gym where the Counterforce are all lifting weights, except for Andrew Stevens, who is meditating, is a highlight, but it's all so middle of the road. 

Counterforce is by no means a failure, or even unpleasant to watch, but nothing about it stands out enough for us to give it a wholehearted recommendation.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


Fatal Deviation (1998)

Fatal Deviation (1998)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Shay Casserley and Simon Linscheid

Starring: James P. Bennett, Mikey Graham, Nicole O' Sullivan, and Johnny Murray

After ten years in a reform school, a young Martial Artist named Jimmy Bennett (Bennett) returns to his hometown of Trim in County Meath, Ireland. It's not long before trouble finds him. The evil gangsters that killed his father are harassing him and his newfound love, Nicola (O'Sullivan). Jimmy is invited to take part in a local no-rules Punchfighting tournament called The Bealtaine. 

The baddies don't want him to win, but Bennett plays by his own rules. Also, thankfully, he and Nicola befriend a wise monk from the abbey (Murray), and he helps Bennett train and train and train. It all comes to an explosive head when said baddies kidnap Nicola and Bennett is forced to go into overdrive to save her - and save the day. What in the world is a FATAL DEVIATION? All will be explained...

What can we say about the great Fatal Deviation that hasn't already been said? It's billed as "Ireland's first Martial Arts action movie" and this shot-on-video project has a DIY feel and a ton of heart that's easy to love. It's funny and fantastically entertaining. It's unique and one-of-a-kind. We here in the U.S. had Razor Sharpe (2001). Ireland had Fatal Deviation. It's the movie that dares to make the natural connection of "County Meath, Ireland" with "Martial Arts". You've got to see it. You just have to!

The star of the show is, of course, James "Jimmy" Bennett. He was born to be an action star. He clearly has spent the time working on not just his physique, but also his technique. His line readings are gold. If Schwarzenegger can come from Austria to make it big in the U.S., why not Bennett? It was nice to see such a Van Damme fan get to indulge his fantasies (VanTasies?) - Bennett:

- Does splits like Van Damme

- Stands on a motorbike and shoots his pistol like JCVD does in Hard Target

- Wears a similar blue shirt to Chance Boudreaux

- Fights in a tournament as Van Damme does in The Quest (1996)

- Has flashbacks to childhood training like in Bloodsport (1988)

- He leaves St. Claude's Academy at the beginning of the film

...and we could probably go on. Yes, there are monks, but since Dennis Rodman was not involved, they're not of the Cyber variety. They may not have been able to get Rodman, but they did get Mikey Graham from the boy band Boyzone.

One thing we have yet to see is Van Damme riding bumper cars at the Funfair or beating up miscreants at the local market. There is a lot of charm on display here, and it's just fun to see. 

There are many more examples, but another one is, when the gangsters are threatening Bennett to take a dive in the tournament, they hand him a note that says "Loose or Else". At first we weren't sure what sort of threat that could possibly be. But, then again, baddies aren't known for their spelling. 

Featuring an unknown song that's a lot like "Young, Cool, and Groovy" from Houseboat Horror (1989), A better Ireland tourism video you could not find. Fatal Deviation almost inadvertently combines the natural beauty of the Emerald Isle with the awesomeness of Jimmy Bennett. Fatal Deviation is a must-see.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


Furious (1984)

Furious (1984)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Tim Everett and Tom Satori

Starring: Phillip Rhee

"Simon, beware of Chan, he's evil!" - a statue (?)

An attempt at a plot description for Furious would be like trying to describe the plot of Eraserhead (1977), or Begotten (1990), or some other piece of impressionistic, surrealistic cinema. It's not impossible, per se, but it won't really convey what you see on screen. You just have to watch it for yourself. 

The tagline for the DVD (which is out of print and expensive) is "Karate Heroes Fight Aliens For Control of the Astral Plane!" And, yes, Simon Rhee, playing a young Martial Artist named Simon, in some way, manner, or form, battles it out with many strange assailants, including Master Chan (Phillip Rhee). But what happens along the way simply must be seen. Mere words can't do it justice.

Furious is the netherworld between a dream, a drug trip, and a student film. There's very minimal dialogue, there's magic, there's chickens, there's a swordsman entertaining patrons of a restaurant, there's a Devo-esque band playing, there's an evil corporation and angry sherpas, there's a Karate school of children, and a heck of a lot more besides. We wouldn't dare spoil anything you're about to see. 

We're not sure how much of this is intentional and how much is unintentional, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. It's certainly unexplainable. It's wacky and you never know what directors Everitt and Sartori are going to throw at you next. Fun, entertainment, and smiles follow.

Furious is a classic of the VHS era. It made going to the video store in the 80's worth doing. You might think, if you didn't know any better, that this was just a run-of-the-mill, standard Martial Arts film. Nothing could be further from the truth. If someone took a chance on renting Furious back then, they would've been hit with something unexpected. Getting rewarded with something so left-field fueled the addiction to video stores. But the power of Furious continues into the present day.

Consequently, Furious is one of the best films we've seen this year. I'm sure we'll be talking about it and referencing it from now until kingdom come. Only one question remains: Where's the Blu-Ray?

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty