FOOT FIST FRIDAYS: Scott Adkins Introduces Himself to the World in 2003’s SPECIAL FORCES!

By: John M Jerva

Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!

Special Forces (Video 2003) - IMDb

2003 was a great year. For one thing, there were still video stores around and second, even though the DTV martal arts action boom was slowing down a little, we were still getting some great films delivered to our local video stores every Tuesday. 2003 was also the year that this action film blogger discovered the one and only Scott Adkins. If you follow this website then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re a mega-fan of Mr. Adkins just like me and I remember walking into my local Blockbuster that faithful day like it was yesterday.

Every Tuesday, I would go to the video store on my lunch break from work at my Karate school and I would bolt over to the new release wall to see what new and adrenalized action titles awaited me. I remember seeing the movie called Special Forces and I immediately got excited because it starred two of my favorite actors in Marshall Teague from Road House and Tim Abell from one of my favorites shows Soldier Of Fortune, Inc. They are both featured on the cover you see above so I picked it up and rented it without even reading the back cover synopsis because all I needed to see was these two gentlemen on the cover in a military style action film. I was sold just from the picture alone.

I remember heading home after work that night and popping the film into my DVD player and I was immediately floored from the start as the action was non-stop and Teague and Abell were in fine form. Then something wonderful happened. While watching the film, one Scott Adkins appeared on my screen and began to do what he does best. The first scene where Adkins, who plays SAS operative Talbot in the film, begins to defy gravity in a series of jaw dropping sequences was probably the greatest thing I’ve seen in an action film. I think I rewound those scenes a bunch of times even during my first viewing of it. Adkins was a virtual human highlight reel and it was a treat to see him move for the first time.

Then something even more wonderful happened…the finale. You know what I’m talking about. The five minute plus fight scene where Talbot takes on Zaman played by Vladislavas Jacukevicius in what has to be one of the most acrobatic martial arts fight sequences of all time. Adkins puts on a master class of death defying aerial kicks that has to be seen to be believed and it is with this scene that I first saw him deliver the Guyver Kick which is breathtaking when he executes it. My eyes were glued to the scene and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Now it’s important to mention that Jacukevicius does a phenominal job as well and he keeps up with Adkins the whole way. The hero on screen is only as good as the one he is fighting and Jacukevicius fills in the other half of the fight nicely and delivers some stellar moves of his own. This was Adkins’ show however and it was his introduction to the martial arts action world. Sure, he did stuff before Special Forces but it was this film that put him on the map.

Adkins’ moves seemed effortless and the fluidity and flow that he demonstrated was like nothing else seen in western martial arts films. This fight scene was the reason why slow-mo and rewind are present on DVD players and when Adkins moved, it was like watching the birth of a new breed of action cinema that rivaled anything that was seen in Asian action movies.

The film was directed by action maestro Isaac Florentine who has worked with Adkins multiple times with the Undisputed and Ninja franchises being their most famous collaborations. Florentine really gave Adkins the spotlight here and even though he was a supporting character in the movie, he stole the show and taking nothing away from the other stars, he made this film his own. This fight will always be in my top five for the action star because it was the first one I saw ever and that makes it something special.

While watching it back then, I knew Adkins was destined for greatness and to see how he has matured both as an actor and an onscreen fighter has been a joy to watch. I also never would have imagined all those years ago that I would get the opportunity to talk with him several times for this site but it’s funny how things work out. Adkins is one of the premiere action performers to this day and it was this film and this fight scene that started it all.

Now in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer, “Enough Talk!” It’s time to watch the fight scene where greatness was born and it’s time to watch Scott Adkins simply defy logic in the finale from Special Forces. Enjoy!!!

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