Avengement (2019)

An imprisoned man out on special permission to visit his dying mother finds out she has passed away and decides this is the moment to put his revenge plan into action. As he goes after his brother and associates, the reasons for his revenge are made clear.

Written by Jesse V. Johnson and Stu Small with the former also directing, Avengement brings a proven team back together as they work again with Adkins. In this here film, Johnson creates an interesting world in that the vibe is dark and appropriately so, while the story feels old school with its twists and turns. The action is fairly brutal with most of the fights coming off more “street brawler” than “highly trained fighter,” these fights being numerous; they influence the entirety of the film. The premise of the movie is to bring hand-to-hand combat and lots of it to the screen, giving the characters little to no background outside of the Burgess Brothers and Nick Moran’s character of Hyde. This means that character development low overall and gives you little to care about outside of the lead character who gets barely more. That being said, character development is not what this film is all about. It’s a set-up to give Adkins a character that’s something he seems to have done a few times lately in-between hero parts, here he’s not fully good or fully bad, he’s a grey man made darker by years of hard time in a brutal jail. The film was clearly written with an actor like Adkins in mind as the fights are what’s best about it and they feel like a bit of a departing in fight-style for him, granting him an outlet to do something slightly different. The direction is as expected for a film built around the fights it offers, concentrating most of the effort around them with some of the drama working well and some of it not as much.

In the lead if Cain Burgess, Scott Adkins does his best while saddled with dental prosthetics and an odd accent that doesn’t quite feel right for him or the part when compared with others around him. His work here is good but should be better considering some of his performances in the last few years. The facial scarring added to his character works to add something a bit more rough around the edges, but feels somewhat unnecessary. His fighting is great as usual, but it takes a bit of time to get used to the different style from him here, leading to his work feeling almost restrained. The fights are fun to watch in a brutal sort of way, but they are not on part with what fans have come to expect, they feel even a bit off at times. This to say, yes the fights are good, yes they are brutal, but something feels odd or off, which then influences how Adkins’ performance comes off. It’s still greatly entertaining however. Playing one of the characters that stands out the most is Nick Moran as Hyde. Here he plays a slimy bastard and does very well. His presence is entertaining and gives the film something extra in the bad guy way. Playing Lincoln Burgess, Craig Fairbass does well, giving something for Adkins to play against in the last part of the film. The cast as a whole does well, no real negative performances here; it’s a group effort on the part of the “bad guys” which builds an interesting standoff type of situation throughout the film.

Avengement has an interesting look in terms of cinematography and how it’s edited. The film has an energy and a darkness that is hard to explain but works for the story and the fight style displayed. The cinematography by Jonathan Hall and the editing by Matthew Lorentz come together to create these and let you see the fighting clearly something too few lower budget films seem to remember. Fans watch these to see the fighting, so this film gives that and then some. The fights in the prison are a bit harder to follow due to everyone wearing the same uniform, but you can see clearly each of the hits and punches.

Avengement is a fight film without a fight tournament, the fighting is used as set-up for the lead and then as a means to an end, giving plenty of action to the viewers and to lead Scott Adkins. Fans of his will greatly enjoy the film, while some of the fight style may feel a bit off, once the film really gets going, it’s easy to get used to and enjoy. As usual, Adkins’ fighting is great and his acting is, besides the aforementioned hindrances, above decent. This may not be his best work, but it’s good nonetheless. Avengement is a good entry in the revenge sub-genre and an overall dark film that doesn’t hold its punches.