Masculinity in Hollywood, British, Australian, or other mainstream movies is a rare thing to come across. In fact, masculinity in mainstream entertainment is about as endangered as the West African white rhino; it’s big and beautiful when it’s there but you won’t see it often. Thankfully, when it does pop up in a film that is unabashedly made for male movie-going audiences, it’s like a fireworks display of fisticuffs and firefights galore, which is about the best way to describe what looks like one of the best action films to come along in a long, long time called Avengement.
The name of the movie is stupid as heck, but hot dang does Scott Adkins turn in a transformative performance in what looks like a white-knuckle thrill-ride through the life of a man who gets beaten, screwed over, and held down by the system, only to keep getting tougher, badder, madder, and meaner each and every time he gets up. That’s no joke, either. The trailer for Avengement just keeps escalating, and it’s a beautiful symphony of destruction. Check it out below, courtesy of the Scott Adkins YouTube channel.
Director Jesse V. Johnson indulges in the inclining possibility of someone’s life constantly getting bloodier, more violent, and more hostile as he keeps making decisions that both preserve his life and make his life a miserable, oppressive struggle for survival. Adkins’ character’s turmoil may come across in what looks like a carefully cogitated construction set of psychological torture prima facie, but at the end of the day it’s all designed to appeal to our sense of entertainment.
The first thing that struck me about Avengement is how good it looks, technically. The washed out color tone matches the stark and bliss-free life of crime that Adkins’ character leads, while the highlights of the reds and his silver teeth are a perfect juxtaposition to show just how far removed from normalcy this character is taken during his enmity-fueled spiral into revenge.
But it all gets better from there, entertainment wise. The hard-boiled look of the film is layered over with a story that feels akin to a Steven Seagal film from the late 1980s or early 1990s; something unrepentantly violent and viscerally masculine.
If Scott Adkins just keeps on pumping out films like this I can definitely see him further carving out a legacy of having some quality films to his name outside of the Undisputed franchise.
These kind of gritty, underworld-crime films don’t come along too often with a character who so faithfully embraces conflict resolution through overt violence, but I’m glad to see these kind of films whenever they do appear, sort of like The Sweeney or Welcome to the Punch. Only, this time Avengement looks even grittier and more hard-boiled than the other two flicks.
You can look for Scott Adkins to wreck arseholes and bust up heads starting May 24th, 2019.