Avengement is a terrible name; I don’t think it’s even a word. Maybe it was a placeholder on Jesse V. Johnson and Stu Small’s script or maybe it was designed as an algorithm cheater for when people searched for the recent home media release of Avengers: End Game in the Amazon or iTunes search bar. Whatever the reason this latest vehicle for action star Scott Adkins (The Debt Collector) whips unholy amounts of ass.
Cain Burgess (Scott Adkins) is a professional boxer with a quick temper. In an attempt to borrow money from his loan shark brother Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass) he is caught in a mugging gone awry and sent to the infamous Belmarsh Prison. Cain is assumed to have snitched and so Lincoln puts a bounty on his head leaving Cain to fight for his life with his sentence being extended for each prison brawl he is involved. After seven years Cain is a hardened, scarred inmate with a chip on his shoulder and a burning desire for revenge.
Avengement takes place inside a nondescript London pub as Cain holds his brother and his underlings hostage as he narrates his struggles from his arrest through to the present day. Cain has struggled a lot and Avengement doesn’t hold back on showing it. Cain has been beaten, stabbed, curb-stomped and prison napalmed (sugar and boiling water). But Cain gives as good as he gets. In his warpath towards his brother he leaves a trail of broken, bleeding bodies in his wake. Maybe it should be called Cain’s Train of Pain?
This is where Adkins comes in. Perhaps better known for small roles in the likes of Doctor Strange, Grimsby and The Expendables 2 Scott Adkins has carved out a niche for himself on the B-movie action circuit. Alongside the likes of Jean Claude van Damme, Michael Jai White and Tony Jaa he is known for his martial arts prowess, athleticism and lantern-jawed charisma. But unlike a great deal of other straight-to-DVD stars Adkins can actually act.
It’s impossible not to feel a little sympathy for Cain Burgess despite his steel dentures, melted skin and eye scar. Like so many others in the UK prison system Cain got a raw deal of it not to mention being abandoned by the only family that could save him. The melancholy-laden flashbacks with Cain’s mother (Jane Thorne) alongside the unfairness of Cain’s fate are a decent excuse for his psychopathic rage throughout the film.
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Every punch and kick in Avengement looks like it lands like a ton of bricks. Dark blood splashes and gurgles. Arms and legs bend the wrong way. What little gore is featured is fairly stomach churning. Each and every prison brawl has a unique look to it overcoming the drab setting. But it’s the final bar brawl that takes the cake. Adkins gives it his all investing his most complex performance ever with as much emotional grit as he does physical. He might have cut his teeth in Hong Kong with the likes of Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Wu Jing but Adkins proves he’s as at home in London as he in the most far flung corners of the world.
Avengement is the third of six films Scott Adkins has made this year. As the years have gone by Adkins has only become more prolific. Although he’s had side roles in some of the biggest action films ever made Adkins has always returned to the independent scene and I, for one, hope he never really leaves.