Ask fans to name today’s best action-star, and while answers would vary, you’d find a large contingent replying with Scott Adkins. As an actor and/or stunt performer he’s appeared in numerous big Hollywood productions, but it’s typically in the smaller films where he shines best. His action chops are undisputed with a resume that includes high-energy fight sequences in the likes of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012), Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013), Eliminators (2016), Avengement (2019), and One Shot (2021). He’s something of a triple threat, though, as in addition to his fight skills, Adkins can also act and has charisma for days. Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is a film that understands how to utilize all three resulting in a fun, messy, and exciting action/comedy.
Mike Fallon (Adkins) is a hitman who used to work for an organization back in London staging kills to look like accidents, but when a twisted turn of events led to him slaughtering every other assassin in town he decided to move on and never look back. Malta is his home now, and his only acquaintance is a Clouseau/Cato-like sidekick named Siu-ling (Sarah Chang) who keeps Mike on his toes by attacking him by surprise once a week. His past catches up with him, though, when old acquaintances arrive on the island and Mike is tasked with protecting the weaselly son (George Fouracres) of a crime lord (Flaminia Cinque) from a rogues gallery of eclectic assassins.
While 2018’s Accident Man is more directly inspired from Pat Mills’ source comic, Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday sees Adkins and writer Stu Small take the character in their own direction. It dabbles briefly in the art of kills staged like accidents, but the main action thrust here sees Mike facing an increasingly dangerous group of assassins in his effort to protect Dante (Fouracres). The result is a film extremely light on plot and character that instead succeeds almost exclusively on the strength of Adkins’ presence and its fight sequences. It’s not necessarily ideal, but as a ninety minute trifle it more than satisfies with strong fight action and a sense of humor that lands more often than not. (There’s one “shitty” interruption to a fight scene that should probably have been trimmed.)
Adkins is a funny and talented actor, and as an action star he’s not afraid to be self-effacing with his co-stars. From being told he looks like “a melted Ben Affleck” to getting his ass (and nads) kicked several times by Chang, it’s clear he’s fine being the punching bag. And while the film is closer to a broad comedy at times, one or two slightly more serious beats appear with Adkins showcasing his dramatic skills opposite a mutton-chopped Ray Stevenson. The focus is action and comedy, though, and Adkins is having a blast on both fronts.
The incoming killers are once again an over the top bunch given their own illustrated title cards, and while they may be wholly unbelievable in the real world — these clowns could never sneak around undetected — they make for entertaining foils in the exaggerated world of Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday. The costumed assassins vary in their fighting style from hammers to hands, but two stand out. Beau Fowler‘s Poco the Killer Clown makes for a freakish adversary, both visually and as a character incapable of feeling pain, and then Andy Long‘s Oyumi shines with some blistering fight skills. Richard C. Bell‘s camerawork also gets to impress with its energetic, in-the-moment movements especially during the fights with both.
The fights are strong and entertaining throughout, good news as they’re the literal backbone of the film, and deliver a sense of fun alongside the choreographed thrills. They’re mostly impressive too aside from some missteps in the spatial geography — there are multiple instances where a shot’s depth fails to convince that a fist or foot was anywhere near the target it supposedly hit. Styles and weapon choices are varied, and there’s a good mix of grace and aggression. Most of the fights are to the death, but even Adkins’ more playful bouts with Chang bring the goods with speed, style, and lots of broken furniture.
But it’s not all sunshine and smiles. While the first film was directed by Adkins regular Jesse V. Johnson, Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is the solo feature debut of the Kirby brothers (George Kirby & Harry Kirby) who don’t necessarily put their best foot forward here. There’s a ramshackle feel at times as scenes can feel thrown together and transitions seem rushed. The film’s first act is especially rough-going with some heavy narration (an issue with the first film too) and atrocious CG effects, but fans will want to stick with it as things come together with the remaining hour delivering plenty of action and fun. It also helps that the film was shot in Malta as the island nation brings immense beauty that not even the Kirbys can screw up.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday won’t set the DTV action landscape ablaze, but it’s yet another entertaining and exciting entry in Adkins’ growing filmography. The guy’s in the back half of his forties — not that you’d know it by fisticuffs and flying kicks — and it’s nice to know that when his body eventually starts slowing down his wit, charm, and acting talents will still be on display.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday opens October 14th in theaters and on VOD.
Related Topics: Action