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Avengement Review

June 1, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Avengement Review  

Avengement Review

Scott Adkins– Cain Burgess
Craig Fairbrass– Lincoln Burgess
Louis Mandylor– Detective O’Hara
Nick Moran– Hyde
Thomas Turgoose– Tune
Kierston Wareing– Bez
Ross O’Hennessy– Evans
Luke LaFontaine– Rick

(check out the rest of the cast here

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
Screenplay by Jesse V. Johnson and Stu Small

Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films

Not Rated
Running time– 90 minutes


Avengement, directed and co-written by Jesse V. Johnson (Stu Small also co-wrote the screenplay), is a terrific, badass, down and dirty revenge movie starring frequent Johnson collaborator Scott Adkins in a career performance. Filled with brutal hand-to-hand action scenes and moments of dark comedy, Avengement satisfies on practically every level imaginable. As a fan of both moviemakers, I was expecting another awesome movie from the two. However, I wasn’t expecting the amount of awesome that’s on display in Avengement.

Adkins stars as Cain Burgess, a troubled but generally good guy who ends up in prison after a botched purse snatching turns deadly. While serving his sentence in one of the worst prisons in England, Cain is attacked almost daily by his fellow prisoners. At first, Cain assumes he’s getting his ass kicked every day because he’s the new guy in the joint and that’s just what happens. However, not is all as it seems. It seems as though Cain’s brother, Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass), has put a bounty on Cain’s head and Cain’s fellow prisoners are just trying to cash in. Why would Lincoln, who Cain worked for before going to prison (Lincoln is the one who set up the purse snatching scheme for his little brother), want Cain dead? As Cain tries to figure that out, he grows accustomed to the frequent violence he experiences and actually starts to embrace it, becoming a top prison brawler and killer. His face scarred by a “prison napalm” attack, his teeth broken in a fight and replaced with metal chompers, and his body hardened by fighting and exercise (there’s not much else to do in prison), Cain is the exact opposite of who he was when he entered prison. This upsets his mother (Jane Thorne), who visits Cain in prison when she can. But as the years pass by and Cain’s prison sentence is extended another year because of the violence he inflicts, Cain’s mother’s visits eventually stop when she starts battling cancer.

Now, with fewer and fewer connections to the outside world, it looks like Cain will be totally consumed by the prison culture and cease being Cain Burgess at all. Cain is allowed to go visit his dying mother one last time, and it’s here, on a five hour furlough, that Cain’s life changes for the better. After saying his final goodbyes (a sad, touching scene), Cain busts out of custody and goes looking for Lincoln. Cain heads to a bar that Lincoln owns/frequents, and it’s there that Cain makes what could end up being his final stand. Lincoln will answer his little brother’s questions or there will be serious hell to pay.

Avengement is told in a disjointed style with frequent flashbacks. The movie’s main setting is Lincoln’s bar, where Cain holds a gaggle of Lincoln’s henchmen hostage. From the bar, Cain explains what happened to him before he went to prison and what happened to him in prison, forcing Lincoln’s henchmen to listen. We see Cain’s physical and emotional transformation, which is quite harrowing. It’s also kind of funny, in a weird way. What Cain goes through is absolutely terrible, but the more he goes through and the more he starts to thrive the funnier his prison experience becomes. I mean, it’s ridiculous how much violence the prison experiences each and every day. Why the hell would anyone work there? And how do any of the prisoners survive? It’s insane.

The dialogue is chock full of tough guy profanity that’s a true joy to listen to. Adkins gets some of the best bits (naturally. He is the star of the movie), but Lincoln’s henchmen also get some good one liners. Bez (Kierston Wareing), the female bartender that is also held hostage by Cain, is a hoot as she’s seen it all in the bartending business. She doesn’t want to die, sure, but she also isn’t going to take anyone’s shit, including the gun toting Cain. Her smartass remarks will make you laugh out loud.

The hand-to-hand action sequences are amazing, especially as you see them escalate in their brutality. The fights in prison starts out quick and get nastier and faster as the story progresses. When we get to the big final fight, it’s like all of the built up aggression inside Cain gets let out and absolutely nothing can stop him. Fight coordinator Dan Styles did a great job making the final fight thrilling, exciting, and scary as hell. Cain Burgess is the scariest dude in the world. Cain Burgess would make Jason Voorhees his bitch.

Scott Adkins, as I said at the beginning, gives a career defining performance here as Cain Burgess. Burgess allows the audience to see everything that Adkins can do as an actor and performer. And, as Adkins fans can tell you, the man is very, very talented, just not enough people know it. In Burgess we see Adkins as a regular person, a funny guy, a proper dramatic actor (his scenes with Jane Thorne are heart breaking), and as a terrifying individual capable of damn near anything (his entire mental and physical transformation in prison, and the scenes in Lincoln’s bar). He’s also at the top of his game in terms of the various action scenes he has to do. They’re all amazing, and that final fight, as I said, shows the world just how scary Scott Adkins can be. Adkins needs to be in the next John Wick movie. It has to happen.

Craig Fairbrass does a great job as Cain’s older brother Lincoln. He’s physically imposing, sure, but he isn’t the kind of guy who is going to come at you directly. Lincoln has people for that. Lincoln could probably defeat you in a fight, sure, but, again, he isn’t that kind of guy. Fairbrass delivers his dialogue with the world weariness that decades of criminal activity will give a man. Again, a great job here.

Nick Moran is terrific as Hyde, one of Lincoln’s main henchmen and the one guy that Cain Burgess abuses the most while holding everyone hostage. Hyde, much like Lincoln, is a guy who has seen it all and probably done it all in the criminal world and there isn’t much you can do to him that will rattle him. Hyde spends quite a bit of time on his knees with Cain pointing a double barrel shotgun at the back of his head and being a smartass about the whole situation. Only an old pro would do that. Pay very close attention to Hyde’s final scene. You jaw will drop.

Thomas Turgoose is the movie’s big time comic relief as the inept henchman Tune. He talks tough, but as Cain shows everyone, Tune is mostly full of shit. He isn’t the hardass he wants you to think he is. How the hell did he get to be a part of Lincoln’s gang? Hell, how did he survive for any length of time in the criminal world as a whole? Tune’s final scene is a real hoot as it comes out of nowhere and shows you just how bad a criminal he really is.

Louis Mandylor, another frequent Jesse V. Johnson collaborator, shows up as Detective O’Hara, a cop who wants to bring Lincoln down by any means necessary. He has a few nice scenes with Adkins, his The Debt Collector co-star, which have a quiet intensity about them. I will say that it’s kind of odd to hear Mandylor speaking with his natural Australian accent as opposed to an “American” accent. Of course, it would have been weird to have O’Hara speaking with an American accent as a British cop.

Ross O’Hennessy is quite the sadistic prick as Sgt. Evans, the corrupt cop that beats the shit out of Cain. Evans is such a sleazebag that you hope that he gets destroyed at some point by someone, preferably Cain but anyone would do. His big fight with Cain is a good warmup for the final bar fight.

And then there’s Luke LaFontaine, who plays Rick, one of Lincoln’s henchmen and the first guy in the bar to find out that Cain isn’t fucking around. It’s a hilarious scene that turns sad in retrospect when you find out that poor Rick never had a chance.

Avengement is a movie that you absolutely need to see. Action movie fans, Scott Adkins fans, movie fans in general need to make an effort to see it. It really is one of those kinds of movies. Please check it out when it hits Video on Demand and or home video. You will be glad you did. You can trust me on that.

See Avengement. See it, see it, see it.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 15.

Explosions: None.

Nudity? None.

Doobage: A sweet opening theme, a prisoner transport van, of screen assault, beer drinking, multiple flashbacks, axe attack, bloody hand removal, double barrel shotgun hooey, mild homophobia, shotgun blast to the leg, mobile phone destruction, a severed hand in a plastic bag, shotgun whipping, a back room card game, a terrible prison, a first day ass kicking, multiple shiv attacks, forced concrete step eating, metal replacement teeth, sit ups, multiple escalating prison fights, a guy with too many tattoos, metal meal tray used as a weapon, multiple clubs to the face, a vicious elevator beat down, off screen mugging, a real need to go the bathroom, purse stealing, a police interrogation, a beating while handcuffed, more beer drinking, a hammer attack, exploding head, wall writing, glass bottle to the head, 2 x 4 hooey. Pickled egg hooey, inept machine gun attack, serious neck biting, mega arm breaking, teeth spitting, a hilarious explanation on how a double barrel shotgun works, gut stabbing, and a happy ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Scott Adkins, Scott Adkins drinking a beer, macho guy talk, Luke LaFontaine, Scott Adkins wielding a double barrel shotgun, racism against Mexicans, Scott Adkins fighting in prison, Scott Adkins training in his prison cell, “hardened, rusty nail,” Scott Adkins beating people up with a metal food tray, Louis Mandylor, forced “take your pants down,” Scott Adkins making toast, a magnificent brawl, and a happy ending.

Best lines: “I’d like to see my mother,” “We’re closed. Fuck off,” “You look like a man who like to do some wishful drinking,” “Hey, what’s with the laugh, mate?,” “I’m a friend of Lincoln’s,” “Bollocks!,” “Who are you, you fucking wanker?,” “No, you remind me of someone,” “That’s better. It only takes a moment to be courteous. You little cunt,” “Well, to be fair you just did blow his foot off it will sting a bit,” “Be reasonable, Bez,” “So, prison turned you into a stone cold killer, did it?,” “I bet seven grand on you losing that fight!,” “Oh, sit down, princess, don’t shit yourself,” “What’s in the bag? Oh, about two-and-a-half pounds of none of your fucking business,” “Say excuse me, cunt. Excuse me, cunt,” “Don’t talk to me in that language!,” “I bet you didn’t know it’s possible to make your own napalm in prison? You can, and it fucking burns,” “I’m sorry, Mom,” “I never really knew what your pancreas did until my Mom’s got riddled with cancer. I still don’t, really,” “I can’t let you go,” “Oh, you want me to crack on, do ya?,” “I want a lawyer. You’re incommunicado. You don’t get a bloody lawyer,” “Stop doing that!,” “Is that you, Cain?,” “This retard’s gone and remembered all of the names!,” “Christ, this ale tastes like piss, Bez,” “Cheers, guys,” and “Oh, for fuck’s sake, I’ve only got a few of them left.”

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
Avengement is a terrific, badass, down and dirty revenge movie starring Scott Adkins in a career defining role as a man in desperate need of retribution. Part brutal action flick and part dark comedy, Avengement operates brilliantly on practically every level. Director Jesse V. Johnson once again crafts a modern action classic that will stand the test of time. Avengement is a great movie and you need to see it. So see it. See Avengement. I loved it. You will, too.

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Avengement, Bryan Kristopowitz