Avengement Blu-ray Review
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Fists of Fury
Avengement Film Review
Scott Adkins serves up some bloody brutal prison punishment in the Brit gangster actioner Avengement, which is a cut above its low budget pedigree.By all rights, Scott Adkins should be the the undisputed Van Damme for the new generation, and arguably he is, but times have changed, and where transitional action heroes like Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have adapted to a PG-13-dominated realm where you need to do more than just break heads, Adkins remains locked in formula, stuck in straight-to-DVD beat-em-up purgatory with seemingly endless levels of repetitive low budget action to deliver until his legs stop kicking.
He's had some close calls with breaking it into the big time, securing supporting roles in a slew of higher profile features from The Bourne Ultimatum to Doctor Strange, Zero Dark Thirty to American Assassin, whilst taking bigger parts opposite named stars like Stallone and his forebear Van Damme, in sequels like Expendables 2 and the underrated Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. But, despite this, his solo features have hardly set the world alight. He should have been the ideal choice for making something out of Hard Target 2 (especially after what he did with Universal Soldier) but, despite his best efforts, Adkins has always struggled. A blisteringly fast fighter, with some seriously good moves, he's still just lacked something (often a decent director). And he's also come just that little bit too late to the party.
Like throwing John Wick, Brawl on Cell Block 99, and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels into a big blender, and seeing what comes out
Avengement delivers everything Adkins is known for - breaking heads and kicking ass aplenty - probably packing in more fighting sequences than a dozen mainstream actioners all rolled into one. On paper, it's the same story, just a different day, but somehow the curiously British tale of gangsters, prison life, and revenge - told in a surprisingly effective non-linear fashion - just about finds a way to do something different with Adkins' usual ass-whooperie. The framework takes it a notch higher than normal, shading in - unbelievable though it may seem - an interesting backstory about his fighter, who messed up by winning a fight he was supposed to throw for his gangster brother and, through one tragedy after another, ended up behind bars with a slew of inmates trying to kill him daily. It's a tough, bloody and unrelenting affair, with lopped limbs, decapitations, and curbing which hasn't been seen since American History X. But it's also more than just a series of exceptional fight sequences. It's kind of like throwing John Wick, Brawl on Cell Block 99, and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels into a big blender, and seeing what comes out.
Adkins gets to do what he does best - go up against multiple opponents and get utterly battered in the process but dish out some serious damage with his tremendous skills. But the flavour is different, the Brit gangster slant affording it a darker shade of grit (and dark humour) that is a welcome break from him attempting to be an American avenging angel; that suits the low budget that is still all he commands; and that might actually hold your interest. In a sea of DTV actioners which have the star power but don't know how to deliver the one thing that they're there for (you only have to look at Stallone's Escape Plan 2 and Escape Plan 3 - for an example), it's nice to see Adkins, a guy who always gives 110%, actually getting something approaching a break.
Avengement Blu-ray PictureDazzler Media bring Avengement to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a generally very good 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation which does its best to ameliorate the only occasionally obvious trappings of the production's limited budget.
It's not going to win any prizes, but it gets the job done, much like the film itself
Cast over with dark shadows and generally solid black levels (there's a hint of crush, but the only difficult scene is the neon-lit club sequence, where the grain/noise levels get a little unruly), there's plenty enough detail to please, and more than a hint of style to the proceedings. The colour scheme does its best with the UK setting (the weather is hardly helpful, but they try to make it part of the gloomy mood) and the interiors are rich and suitably lived-in, from the prison to the pub. It's not going to win any prizes, but it gets the job done, much like the film itself.
Avengement Blu-ray SoundA strong action-driven aural accompaniment
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a solid effort too, promoting the dialogue with clarity and precision, whilst effects take in the hundreds of thumping body blows - and worse - as well as a few booming shotgun blasts to boot, adding some LFE weight to the punchy affair. The score pervades the piece, and is arguably a little intrusive at times - the main theme is a misstep and repeated incessantly - but overall it's a strong action-driven aural accompaniment.
Avengement Blu-ray ExtrasJust a trailer
Avengement Blu-ray VerdictIn a sea of DTV actioners which have the star but don't deliver the one thing they're there for, it's nice to see Adkins, who always gives 110%, getting a break
Avengement enjoys a solid enough presentation from Dazzler, with decent video and audio, and is a strong enough affair to justify the attention of action fans. If you appreciate Adkins' skills, this is a great showcase, with a more colourful framework than his features normally allow, and - fingers crossed - he'll eventually get his Timecop. Avengement may not stand up as against mainstream movies but, in pure action terms, it more than gets the job done, delivering some excellent action against an innovative backdrop. What more could you ask for?
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £9.99
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