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Action Star Scott Adkins Talks "AVENGEMENT" And AICN Has The Breakdown On The Film

Action Star Scott Adkins Talks AVENGEMENT And AICN Has The Breakdown On The Film

  Prolific action star Scott Adkins' (BOYKA: UNDISPUTED, DOCTOR STRANGE, EXPENDABLES 2) newest film, AVENGEMENT, hits Theaters, Digital, and On-Demand May 24th. The film is written by Stu Small (ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR) and Jesse V. Johnson (TRIPLE THREAT, THE DEBT COLLECTOR), who also directed, and stars Adkins alongside British film veteran Craig Fairbrass (CLIFFHANGER, VIKINGDOM), Nick Moran (TERMINAL, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS 1 & 2), Thomas Turgoose (TERMINAL, KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, THIS IS ENGLAND), Kierston Wareing (FISH TANK, THE DOUBLE), and Louis Mandylor (MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, RAMBO V: LAST BLOOD). Adkins' Cain Burgess is the main character in the film, and he turns in a solid, engaging performance of a man wronged by the people closest to him. The movie follows his journey from not-quite-innocent fall guy for a crime organization run by his brother, Lincoln (Fairbrass), through his transformation into a near-unstoppable fighting machine bent on revenge for the ruination of his life. We see the story unfold both in real time as he holds those responsible hostage, and through his recounting TO them of what brought him to where they are. It's a taut, intense, wildly violent film which manages to weave a well-developed story that holds your attention until the very end. It's equal parts martial arts feature, family drama, and VERY British street gang movie, and it balances those elements to a high degree of satisfaction. 
  I recently sat down for a talk with Adkins about the film and what led him to martial arts and acting, and the two answers were very much related, as it turns out. We began the discussion about AVENGEMENT, and how he became involved with the project, when I asked how he became interested in the role.
    "Jesse came with an idea of this guy who came home to get revenge on the wrongs that were done to him in the past, so he holds up this pub and is sort of recounting to them how he got into this position. I just thought it was a great idea, so we all got together, me, Jesse and Stu, and wrote that script. Me and Jesse, we love to work together. It's a very collaborative relationship, so we had this idea, we developed it, and we shot it. We're very very happy with the results. Cain is a very gritty, hard character. I like those sort of gritty, hard-edged films, and I do enjoy a good antihero, and this guy, well, he's not a hero, really... he's pretty much a villain (everyone in it's a villain), so I do find that interesting. It's good to keep it British, you know. It's hearty in its violence, and I do enjoy those types of films. I enjoy them."
  As mentioned above, the film is a VERY British gangster drama, and as I watched I felt that this is what a Guy Ritchie movie might be like with better action sequences and less gallows humor. I mentioned that kinship in style and how the present/past, non-linear story related, and asked Scott if he felt that as well.

  "Yeah, or Tarantino. It's not that it's non-linear, really, because he's sitting there and he's telling them the story and he says, 'well, let me tell you what happened' about how he got to this point. He's telling the story and it goes back in time, but only because he's telling the story to the group about how he'd gotten there, so yeah, it was a lot of fun to do it that way. It works in this sort of story."

  Adkins' character, Cain, suffers more and more injuries to his face and body as the story unfolds, at first subtly, but eventually quite drastically changing his appearance from handsome young guy to a monstrously scarred fighter. I asked about how the makeup and prosthetics, because of the increasing injuries that the character sustained throughout the film, affected the daily process. Was it something that was done in sequence, or if it changed day-to-day?

  "Yeah, it was all shot completely out of sequence, and it was a real pain in the arse. I mean, we don't have a lot of shooting days. It's not like we're making a Marvel movie, you know (Adkins portrayed the Zealot, Lucian, in 2016's DOCTOR STRANGE). We don't have a lot of time, and it's a lot of effort. The makeup designer, he did a great job, and for me to just sit in the chair all the time, sometimes you've got to put the makeup on, you've got to take it off, you've got to put it back on again, because that's just the way the day has panned out, the schedule, and you've got no choice. After that, and all the fighting and everything, it can be difficult. I've gotta tell you, they need to get me a better makeup chair next time, because it was killing my back! I was miserable, to be honest with you, but we've got to do these things for our art, right?" 
  This was said with a good degree of humor, but there's real pain behind that statement. 
  On the subject of fighting all day and pain, I asked if there was a particular fight sequence that was either the most difficult or the most fun to shoot. 
  He replied, "None of them are fun to make. I've never made a fight scene that's been enjoyable. What's enjoyable is the end result in the film, the end product. The doing of it is hard. If it's easy, you're not doing it right, so... honestly, most of the guys I meet in this business of fight films generally, they don't enjoy it that much. It's hard, but that's sort of what we do, and it's all about the end product. I'm very happy with the way the film ends, in that action sequence. I think it's exactly what we planned. It's violent, it's crazy, it's outlandish, and it's long. The whole film sort of steps up to that point, and I think that if we'd short-changed the audience at that point, they would've been disappointed, but it's a nice way to go out, so I'm very happy with how that turned out."
  That sequence really is everything he says... it's a perfect crescendo to a film already full of insane prison fights that make the one in Netflix's PUNISHER look like a schoolyard brawl.
  Transitioning a bit into his own background, I asked Scott about an incident that occurred when he was just thirteen years old, in which he was mugged and robbed on a bus, and whether that gets any credit for his getting into acting (he had previously said it helped him focus on his martial arts training).

  "I already knew that I wanted to get into the film business. From a very early age, it's the only thing I can remember wanting to do, but that experience really did throw my training into overdrive. Have you ever seen the film, NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER? Let me tell you: my life basically became NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER. It's the story of this kid who gets bullied, and he gets visited by the ghost of Bruce Lee, and he gets trained by Bruce Lee in his garage, so this is basically what I did. I turned my garage into a gym, and every night I went in there, and I had a plaque of Bruce Lee, a shrine to Bruce Lee, and all my training equipment. Every night, I would bow to Bruce, and I would start my training, and it was almost like the ghost of Bruce Lee was training me. I owe a big debt to NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER and Jason Stillwell (the film's main character), because I became that guy for a bit. I was training myself up to fight back. I loved those movies. There were three of them, but yeah, that's basically what I did. I didn't want to let that happen again, so I was training. I mean, I'm joking, but I decided, 'OK, that's not happening again. I'm learning to defend myself.' And yeah, I lived in the gym, really."

  Asked what he would say about the film in closing, Adkins stated, "This is a hard-hitting British gangster/fight movie, and I think it's a hell of a lot of fun. It's something different from me. I think people are really going to enjoy it. Very proud of it, we are, and I look forward to people seeing it."

   AVENGEMENT is all of that and more. The segment of fight/action/gangster films is densely populated, and a large percentage of those films are forgettable, poorly executed or written, and lean way too heavily on the action scenes. 
  This film is the opposite of that. 
  While it does, at times, feel like an hour-and-a-half-long fight scene, it is a tale told with care, pays good attention to the story, and gives real emotional weight to the characters and their motivations. There wasn't a single moment where my interest waned, and the tale is deftly told through Cain's eyes and experiences. When that final fight happens, it is absolutely bonkers. The tension leading into it builds almost through the entirety of the film, and the payoff is a wonderful thing to watch. Turgoose gets a great moment of action movie self-awareness in confronting Adkins' Cain with a machine gun, and it gives a hilarious break to the over-the-top intensity, but only just so briefly. If you're a fan of martial arts movies, intense action, or the British crime genre, this film will be a genuine pleasure for you. 
  Check out the trailer below, then catch AVENGEMENT on May 24th!


That's all for now, so until next time,
Keep it geek!

Benny No-Good
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