Avengement (2019)


(2019)- * * *

Directed by: Jesse V. Johnson 

Starring: Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbrass, and Louis Mandylor 

When Cain Burgess (Adkins) escapes from prison, he wants to have a talk with his brother Lincoln Burgess (Fairbrass). It's pretty important. So he heads over to the hangout of Lincoln and his criminal crew, the Horse & Jockey pub in London. While there, Cain doesn't let anybody leave the premises until he unravels the whole tale of how he got to be in the position he's in. In a series of flashbacks, Cain explains his pain - and his transformation from low-level, basically harmless wannabe criminal into a hardened, angry, grizzled monster. 

It seems his prison stay was made far harder than it should have been due to the fact of a certain person putting a price on his head. So Cain had to train hard - and fight harder - just to stay alive while inside. Through the flashbacks, we learn that Detective O'Hara (Mandylor) is looking to put an end to Lincoln's crime ring. But Cain ends up having other ideas...ones that involve unrelenting, bloody AVENGEMENT.

From the Comeuppance Reviews dictionary: AVENGEMENT (avenj-mint) - the quality or state of Scott Adkins punching, kicking, shooting, or breaking your limbs until he gets justice.

Avengement is a film that concentrates much more on brutal violence than director and frequent Adkins collaborator Jesse V. Johnson's The Butcher (2009), or even the more recent Accident Man (2018). Here, Johnson and Adkins strip away the fat and deliver a nice, concise tale that moves swiftly along and delivers the sort of tough, strong entertainment we as viewers want to see.

We liked the unorthodox structure of the film, bouncing back and forth between the past and the present as the plot unfolds. We also liked that Adkins gets to show his range here - from a "normal" guy to a terrifying, barking dog that's been put through a very hard wringer of life. The prison beatdowns are fantastic, as is the final pub brawl. But some important later scenes show that Cain hasn't completely lost his humanity. During the prison scenes, his training is intercut with the fighting, instead of one following the other. That was pleasantly different.

There's a certain, very enjoyable London atmosphere to it all, and a lot of slang is used, so for American viewers, putting on the captions might be advised. Lincoln's gang all add a lot of color, and the whole thing makes Guy Ritchie movies look like Mister Rogers episodes. The score by Sean Murray includes some great synthy moments that reference the 80's, but are far from a slavish copy of them. We commend him for that, and all the behind-the-scenes people did a great job - it's shot well, lit well, etc. It all adds up to total entertainment, as strong and forceful as it is.

We hope Johnson and Adkins continue to collaborate in the future. They obviously work well together and if this is the upward trajectory that they're on, we can't wait to see what's coming next.

Avengement is highly recommended. And watch out for the after-credits sequence.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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Roger Renman said...

One of the best films of the 2010s.

Ty said...

Hard to disagree with that!