After appearing in two recent movies where he was on screen for maybe a total of twenty minutes, action star Scott Adkins is back in the driver’s seat where he belongs as his passion project, Accident Man, finally sees its follow up released four years after the first one hit. With a changing of the guard from director Jesse V. Johnson to The Kirby Brothers, there has been much speculation as to whether this film would live up to its predecessor. In two simple short words I will tell you. Hell and Yes. Please, feel free, however, to hear why by reading the finely written review below. I worked long and hard on it so humor me.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday sees Adkins triumphant return and elite assassin Mike Fallon who has a specialty to make all his hits look like, we’ll you know, accidents. Unfortunately, after the nefarious events of the first film where Fallon basically killed all his peers in the industry to avenge his ex-wife, Fallon has relocated to sunny, balmy Malta.
Make no mistake, Fallon is still doing what he does best, but he feels really bad about how things went down in the UK. He feels so bad that he pays supposed Wong Fei-hung descendent Siu-ling (a scene stealing performance by martial arts phenom Sarah Chang) to constantly attack him when he’s not suspecting it and proceed to beat the snot out of him. Siu-Ling really likes her job and even gets in on some good old rubbing after she breaks shit up. Fallon will tell you that he goes this to keep his senses sharp, but we all know that it’s because he is seeking penance for all his sins. It’s OK though. because if things get to rough, Fallon need only scream the word “Flamingo” which is their shared safe word. There is no reason given as to why this is the word which makes it one of the funniest moments of the pic. Chang really has a star making performance here and you know that particular actress has done something right when you want to see a supporting character get their own spin-off after only seeing them on screen for five minutes. Chang is funny, energetic and she does the women of action proud when it comes time for her to rumble.
Things start to look up a bit when Fallon runs into fellow hitman Finicky Fred (another scene stealing performance by Perry Benson who reprises his hilarious role from the first movie) who was the one professional who made it out alive when Fallon went on his crazy kill mission of vengeance. Fred is looking to hone his craft and after Fallon saves him from getting jumped, the two strike up a mutually beneficial relationship where they create even better ways to make hits look like, we’ll you know, accidents. What transpires next is hilarious montage of Fallon and Fred experimenting with unique kills that don’t always go well. It’s scenes; like this that really hit the right comedic tones for the film and is also showcases a blossoming bromance between the two. After all, assassins need friends too. it is a rather lonely business.
The plot really picks up when crazy crime czar Mrs. Zuuzer (Flaminia Cinque) kidnaps both Mike and Fred and gives them a one-sided ultimatum. You see, it appears that Zuuzer’s rather dead weight son Dante (George Fouracres) has been targeted for assassination by a vile criminal and now a gauntlet of the world’s best assassins has transcended on Malta in hopes of offing Dante for the highly generous ransom. It really is a lively bunch and much more so than the ones that were in the first film. There’s the living vampire (or so he thinks so) Yendi (Faisel Mohammed), Brad Pitt wannabe Silas (Peter Lee Thomas), lethal Ninja Oyumi (famed Jackie Chan stunt team member Andy Long, who also helped choreograph the film’s numerous fight sequences) and the one and only Poco the Killer Clown (probably the most scene stealing performance of all courtesy of Beau Fowler). If you hated clowns before, then Poco will definitely nail the coffin shut on how you feel about the creepy bastards. Making matters worse is the fact that Dante is revolting and stupid in every way and you just have to see him personally to know what I mean. Unfortunately, Zuuzer is keeping Fred hostage and forcing Mike’s hand so even though he wants to kill him too, he must work double time to keep the little troll alive or Fred is done for.
Did I forget to mention that Mike’s criminally sadistic surrogate father Big Ray (the great Ray Stevenson who I affectionately call The Punisher) is along for the ride as well. Yep, he is, and Adkins and Stevenson have more wonderful, and chemistry filled scenes together bringing the dysfunctionality to a fever pitch. Stevenson is stellar in that his character is especially evil but likeable all at the same time. That’s no easy feat.
The second half of the movie is the real treat as Fallon runs the gauntlet taking on each assassin one on one. You see, Dante has a tracking device in his beloved old school watch, and he swallowed it because he didn’t want to break it. It’s the only loving gift that he received from his dear old, diabolical mother. Each encounter is finale worthy in itself as Adkins turns into the Martial Arts equivalent of the Energizer Bunny once again and is put through the ringer delivering his legions of fans all the death-defying and bad ass empty handed fisticuffs wizardry that he’s known for. There’s even a slick variation of his Guyver Kick which I was surely missing in his latest films and a lengthy altercation where Adkins shows off his physical prowess with the bo staff. His combatants are also well versed in jaw dropping hand to hand fury and viewers will marvel at all the adrenaline laced sequences that fills the movie’s second half running time.
Adkins really shines here as he gives Fallon more layers this time around and makes him a loveable killer. At the end of the day, he just wants to be loved and have companionship and this sequel catapults the point that besides Boyka, who made Adkins a household name in the action genre, Mike Fallon is hands down his best character and these films are worthy of a franchise. It helps that Adkins loves the source material so much and one can tell when you watch this follow up as well as the sophomore effort. Adkins focuses on every minute detail and makes sure that fans will come away smiling after watching it. He has essentially poured his blood, sweat and tears into this and put his body through unbelievable torture to capture the phenomenal sequences that flood the movie from opening to closing credits.
The second to none martial arts action is why fans will gravitate towards the sequel and The Kirbys and Adkins gives it to us, but audiences will also revel at the movie’s laugh out loud comedic moments as there are plenty belly rolling scenes to be had. After all, hearing Adkins yell “Twat” at the top of his lungs is worth the price of admission alone. I really can’t remember a time when I laughed so much during an action movie and here, we get a seamless and delicious blend of dark British humor and extreme top tier Hong Kong style fight action. Adkins really proves to his critics once again that he is much more than an action star. Adkins is the complete package as he is a definite human special effect and a well-rounded dramatic and comedic actor at the same time. Basically, what I’m saying is come for the need to rewind to watch multiple times martial arts sequences and stay for everything else it delivers. I’m still an avid believer that someone out there will give Adkins a starring role in a big, budgeted action film that will be the defining movie of his career. I’m waiting Hollywood so get on with it.
The climax is a true example of saving the best for last as, after all the assassins he’s faced, Fallon takes on Oyumi in a show stopping amid crowd pleasing display of intricate and rapid-fire Hong Kong fight choreography that will serve as one of the best, if not the best, fight scenes of recent years. Long basically demonstrates why Jackie Chan was so fond of him as he breaks the sound barrier with his prowess and Adkins keeps up every step of the way telling us that the British born action star has to have Asian blood in him somewhere as he can perform with the best that Asia has to offer when it comes to the thrill-seeking action set pieces. My only complaint is that the fight was cut short as it was getting good. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I wanted a different ending to the altercation. This is the truest definition of nitpicking at this point as I really have nothing bad to say about this film. I dare not say it’s perfect but for the love of God, it comes close. Like really, really close.
Switching the action to Malta truly gives the movie a more epic feel to it and the scope of the cinematography is a character in itself. It’s brighter, more colorful and really matches the raunchy and blistering style that the film is going for. Sequels generally have to be bigger and badder and here, Hitman’s Holiday succeeds on that front.
Now let’s talk about The Kirby Brohers, otherwise known as Harry and George Kirby. I’m not going to lie. When I found out that Jesse V. Johnson wasn’t returning to helm the follow up, I was less than thrilled. After all, Adkins and Johnson have pretty much been the go-to duo ion action cinema in recent years and Johnson really made Accident Man shine. Plus, I was really unaware of the two siblings, so I was cautiously optimistic.
Let me put your fears to rest, if I already haven’t in the earlier paragraphs of this review, and just say that The Kirby Brothers have my permission to make more Accident Man films with Adkins or any action film for that matter. Both Harry and George really have a visual flair when it comes to showcasing all the needed elements to make a truly entertaining action film. They know how to capture the adrenaline pumping moments on film in a way that is easy for the viewer to watch. There is editing but they basically just shoot what’s going on in front of them and shoot it in a way that we can see how crazy talented this cast really is. Plus, they have a knack for knowing what works in the film’s more talkative and dramatic moments and the two brothers hit the bullseye when it comes to the comedy. One warning though as much of the humor is of the British variety so you will have to pay attention to get a lot of it. This is their first big film to direct, but you would be pressed to think that they have done this type of thing many times before.
Overall, I’m basically done writing now, but I will sum it all up for you just in case you skipped all that came before to read the ending. Here’s the short and sweet of it. Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is a candidate for best action film of the year, plain and simple. I know Top Gun Maverick will be number one on most reviewers’ 2022 list and rightfully so, but that film had tons more money poured into the making of it. What Adkins, the stellar cast and the Kirby Brothers have done here is give fans what they want at a fraction of the price. I love when an indie movie like this comes along because it drives home the point that you don’t need a lot of funds to make a decent action film. You, once again, just need insanely talented people who truly believe in what they are crafting, and the finished product is exciting and is locked and loaded with some of the best bone smashing hand to hand action that has ever been put on celluloid in a while. Adkins is the driver of this crazy train and there is no denying that he is the premiere action star of this century. You know what you’re going to get with a Scott Adkins movie and when you see his name on the poster and in the credits, action fans are in for an elite experience in jaw dropping action that is unrivaled and second to none.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is a delicious blend of laugh out loud comedy fused with the best extreme Hong Kong style action has that there is to offer. The Kirby Brothers have proven with one film that they can be mentioned in the same breath as all the other action directors that we praise, and I cannot wait to see what both actor and filmmakers have in store for the future. We can only hope that The Kirbys have the same ass kicking muse to paint their canvas of chaos and mayhem with again and here’s hoping it has Accident Man in the title for a third time as I do believe that Adkins has found his true franchise. Last year, One Shot with Adkins was my upset number one pick for best action film of the year so check back in December and see if he does it two years in a row! Watch your six Maverick! “Flamingo!”