Wednesday, 9 October 2019


Harakiri by way of ITV4. Jesse V Johnson's Avengement sees Scott Adkins take an entire pub hostage so that he can batter the beefy clientele with his twisting, serpentine memories. Adkins plays Cain Burgess, an amateur boxer who didn't always look like he'd gotten his head stuck in a sandwich maker. Pre-chromed gnashers, Brugess was a hilariously clean-cut, cargo pant prep, dressed head to toe in Burton menswear and looking to open his own gym. The problem? He didn't have the capital, necessitating a trip to his treacherous loan shark brother, played by a scowling Craig Fairbrass.

Armed with a snapback cap, Cain dabbles with some light mugging to win favour. Unfortunately his first mark is so desperate to get her handbag back that she runs straight into traffic, landing a goggle-eyed Cain in prison.Structurally, Avengement is all over the place, Cain's recollections roam up and down his lifespan, pulling out the noteworthy confrontations and how they have shaped his current, double-barrelled identity. This scrambled approach to plot nicely simulates the anxious excitement of a juiced-up maniac creeping closer and closer to his revenge.

Avengement's fights are deliberately excessive too, puncturing the talky stillness of Cain's lock-in with lock-up throw downs that begin with crossed words before dragging in umpteen, gawking bystanders. Mindful of Adkins' already impressive physical dimensions, Johnson and co-writer Stu Small chart Cain's mutation by trashing the star's face. Teeth are stomped out of his skull; boiling sugar water burns away his good looks. Adkins leans into the dead-eyed, reptilian personality that emerges from these injuries - a self-assured creature who takes great delight in redirecting the violence that tracks in at him. A significant step up from Adkins and Johnson's previous efforts, including their droll but meandering adaptation of Pat Mills and Tony Skinner's Accident Man.

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