Everytime I watch a new Scott Adkins movie, I hope it's going to be movie that finally does everything right and gives me exactly what I want from who might be my favorite current action star. It has yet to happen. I thought Accident Man was going to be it. The movie had a great trailer, is based on a comic, is directed by Jesse V. Johnson, an accomplished action director of Savage Dog and The Package fame, is co-written by Adkins himself (his first screenplay credit), and features a literal dream cast of DTV action stars: besides Adkins himself, there's Ray Park, Michael Jai White, Ray Stevenson, and Amy Johnston (Lady Blood Fight). All of the elements are here for Accident Man to be the best Scott Adkins movie to date. And it's really fun! But it still falls short of its potential greatness.
Accident Man is a movie trapped between wanting to really deliver the goods of DTV action (which, I assure you, consists of a specific type of fight choreography and cinematic approach) and wanting to be a "real" movie, meaning it too often gets weighed down in plot and expository sequences. The whole film has a strange structure, actually, first introducing us to the major characters via montage before settling into the story proper, then taking an inexplicable (and quite lengthy) detour into Flashbacktown to show us how a young Mike first met Big Ray and got his start. It's completely unnecessary backstory that hardly informs who Mike is as a character nor his relationship with Ray, which is also more or less incidental to the story that's being told. It feels like the sort of thing that's included because it was part of the comic book, or because the filmmakers were inspired by the structure of Kill Bill. Sure, it helps create a relationship with them through shared history -- especially when it's pretty much the only developed relationship in the film -- but I also don't know that it's the draw when we buy our ticket.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) or because they strip all of the inessentials away and leave just the basics of action cinema (Ninja & Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear). Accident Man walks a weird middle ground, committing to neither ideal. It's more accessible to an audience of non-#HeavyAction fans, while the fights themselves should hopefully please us HADHs,* but I wish the pendulum swung a bit further in one direction or the other. Maybe Adkins has reached the same mid-point that plagued guys like Van Damme and Seagal in the '90s, when commercial success led to a run of movies that neutered the purity of their earlier work but the scripts they were getting still weren't quite good enough to function as just actual movies. Don't get me wrong -- I like Accident Man. At the same time, I can't help but watch it and see all the ways I could have been a movie I love. See it for the fights. See it for the cast. See it for Scott Adkins.
*Heavy Action Die Hards