A Case For Better Action Movies: The Kirbys’ ACCIDENT MAN: HITMAN’S HOLIDAY Continues To Set The Standard
Four years after fighting for his life on the mean London streets and away from his former life at the once-flourishing Oasis, hitman-for-hire-turned-free agent “Miguel Fallonado” – otherwise known as the titular “Accident Man” himself, Mike Fallon (Scott Adkins), has since found himself on greener pastures making ends meet in the island country of Malta. With no friend or company other than the conveniently explosive and violent mannerisms of former waitress Siu-Ling (Sarah Chang) for his regular P.M.T. needs, it isn’t long before Fallon realizes his world is about to get just a little smaller with the appearance of fellow Oasis guild member Finicky Fred (Perry Benson), ensuing an informal reunion by way of an opportune, albeit tentative business partnership that also allows Fred to find his way to a love connection he met online.
Just when things are going somewhat smoothly for the duo, Fallon and Fred are black-bagged and taken to the secluded palace of crime family matriarch, Zuuzer (Flaminia Cinque), who has decided to charge Fallon with the unquestioned protection of her drug-addicted, dimwit wannabe pop-star of a son, Dante (George Fouracres), from the murderous intentions of an unnamed and mysterious corporate goon in the Nordics, who has sent a rag-tag squad of killers to end him. The goal? With Fred captive, Fallon has no choice but to square up with each and every psychotic, gun-toting, knife-wielding, sword-swinging, blood-thirsty clown with an ax to grind if he’s to protect Dante at all costs. From that point on, there are only two other obstacles that could stand in his way: Dante, with his incorrigible demeanor and inability to protect himself, and for Fallon, the arrival of a former friend looking to settle old scores once and for all…
Such is what we’re handed with in the long-awaited sequel that is Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, featuring the return of Adkins from a script by Stu Small, who storied the pic with Adkins. A firm commitment to the original source material and billed as also one of the star’s own favorite comics from creators Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, the film marks the directorial debut of The Kirby Brothers – Harry Kirby and industry stunt performer George Kirby – who until recently have spent the better part of the last decade growing themselves as ground-up independent filmmakers through their K&K Productions banner, having earned their share of acclaim through a number of cool action projects dealing in Shonen Jump and Marvel fandom, and other exciting ventures over the years.
Shot on location in Valetta, Malta, the two now get to flex their best as first-time feature directors for a major studio, and for a sequel already preset with bigger expectations than before with stuntman-turned-director Jesse V. Johnson setting the bar. The result certainly doesn’t disappoint with the Kirbys fully immersing themselves in the various day-and-night locales and lending their sequel a well-earned heightened quality for the continuation of our anti-hero’s story. In addition, folks can expect a much larger, grandiose spectacle with comedy that’s even more outlandish and edgy than its predecessor and teeming with high-caliber action sequences to boot courtesy of a team headlined by none other than Jackie Chan protégé Andy Long (Boyka: Undisputed IV, The Intergalactic Adventures Of Max Cloud, Sanak), and with Adkins, and industry stuntees George Kirby and Ninja 2 and Accident Man‘s Tim Man among the listed seven-member unit.
Actress Chang, who was also a national Wushu champion at one point in her career since joining martial arts at a young age, gets her best cinematic showcase yet after debuting in Vincent Soberano’s Blood Hunters: Rise Of The Hybrids. Her character’s thick accent is far beyond anything she sounds like in real life and serves as a palatable cosign to her larger-than-life presence whenever she’s in the room, and while the presentation may seem stereotypical in the eyes of some, it’s palatable enough to the point where her character is done plenty of justice in terms of representation. She completely owns the character, makes the absolute best of it, and then some. You get a supporting character who is just as likable as even Benson’s Finicky Fred, who I was happy to see return for the sequel after the first film. It was a delightful surprise to see him added to the roster and not for nothing either – it’s a bit of a sidebar as the plot progresses, but Small’s script at least makes certain that both characters get to share a few common goals along the way so that they’re not just a pair of new faces thrown into crowd the room with the rest.
The film’s outro abbreviates things a bit for one of our key characters, which feels a little more effortless and perfunctory than preferred. The good news there is that it doesn’t really cripple the trajectory of what the Kirbys aim for in succeeding Johnson at the helm for what now looks like a prospective trilogy in the making. Once again, with Adkins shepherding an action vehicle all his own, he plies his trade firmly for comic book fans’ appeal. The regional locales certainly compliment the added depth we get to enjoy with our protagonist as he deals with his fallout of the Oasis and the end of his kinship with father figure and assassin mentor, Big Ray (Ray Stevenson), and to that end, we also get to see the degree to which things get resolved, that is, for better or worse.
As far as numbers go, though, Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday deals plenty of eccentric new heavy hitters to add to the fray, including a vampiric, towering tribal assassin named Yendi (Faisal Mohammed), an ex-model-turned-serial strangler named Silas (Peter Lee Thomas), and silent-but-deadly middle finger-popping ninja, Oyumi (Long). I have to say, though, that the one who gets the most fleshed out of the bunch I’ve mentioned above is the sadistic, manical, and pain-free killer-clown named Pogo (Beau Fowler) among the roster. Together with Adkins, theirs is the scène d’action du jour with Pogo’s presence by far being one of the most gonzo things you’ll see this side of DTV action cinema’s take on It, instead with a big cement-block hammer in place of a fanciful and enticing red balloon.
From there, one of the only other greater challenges our Fallon is faced with is dealing with the incomparably obnoxious Dante, played brilliantly by Fouracres, who shares equal chemistry with Cinque’s role of on-screen mother and mafiosa, Zuuzer. Dante is every bit as annoying, as you can expect based on the trailer, and perhaps even grotesquely so when you actually sit down and watch the film through the second half where things may get a little too weary for anyone with a soft stomach. Remember that scene in Kim Jee-hoon’s I Saw The Devil? There’s one in particular that I’m thinking of, and it involves some post-squatting buffoonery, and I’m gonna leave it at that.
It’s safe to say that Adkins has insofar delivered on everything he could with this sequel, and as perhaps today’s biggest face in DTV action cinema fandom from both an artistic and business standpoint. As an actor, he’s grown and evolved just a little more since his days in the Undisputed and Ninja movies, and as an executive producer, his ability to control certain aspects and elements of the film’s he’s involved in shows a great deal. The same went for Accident Man as you can maybe reckon that he definitely wanted to lend his insight into the creative pipeline. It shows here, principally, with Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, gracing his cosign to a deserving duo in The Kirby Brothers for what fans can only hope is the landmark start of a prospective career in studio-level action cinema. And I say this after watching Section 8, but honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better time with a Scott Adkins action flick this year.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.