Avengement is the sort of movie you get when someone mixes up the scripts from Eastenders and Brawl in Cell Block 99, and then decides “Fuck it, lets shoot it anyway!” – and that is a very, very good thing.
Starring Scott Adkins (Who WAS actually in Eastenders as well as The Bourne Ultimatum, Ninja and The Expendables 2 to name but a few) as Cain Burgess, a hardened criminal who has escaped from prison and is eager to put the hurt on the older brother who stitched him up and tried to have him killed. The story of how we ended up at this point is told in flashback as Cain retells the story of his life to a group of his brother’s men while he’s holding them at gunpoint. We see that Cain was a bit of an arse to begin with, a not very successful wheeler-dealer in his brother’s shadow, he’s given a “simple” job that goes wrong, the wrong person gets killed and Cain gets sent down for a long stretch.
So far so good. Just one problem: people in the jail keep trying to kill him and each time he defends himself his sentence gets longer, and longer, and longer as more and more time is added as punishment. Don’t question why the attackers never seem to get punished (the ones he leaves alive, anyway), the warden in this film just seems to have it in for Cain a la Warden Drumgoole from Lock Up.
The fight scenes in the prison aren’t quite as dramatically over the top as the aforementioned Brawl in Cell Block 9, but they are beautifully executed in their sheer brutality. Hats off to Scott Adkins, who gives it his all in every scene. There’s no particularly flashy fighting, this isn’t The Matrix or The Raid, but you FEEL every hit, every punch, every kick, every bone broken. Also, prison napalm is nasty stuff (and also a real thing).
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The story itself is a fairly straightforward revenge yarn with little in the way of twists and turns, but what could easily have been a terribly pedestrian story is escalated by the excellent performances turned in by the cast. You truly believe that Cain is an angry, angry man that you would not want to mess with unless you felt the pressing need for some emergency dentistry. Nick Moran is gloriously overconfident and slimy as Hyde, and Thomas Turgoose does a brilliant job portraying Tune as a man more likely to piss himself than actually get into even a slap fight with anyone.
Special mention has to be given to the final big fight scene of the film, Cain standing against ten men in the confines of the pub. The scene last nine minutes and there’s barely a moment to breathe. There’s no music added, just the sound of fists and bats on flesh as Cain attempts to systematically demolish every opponent who gets in his way. The Fight and Stunt Coordinators Dan Styles and Luke Lafontaine, who have between them worked on fighting/stunts for Vikings, Kingsman, Iron Man, Serenity and Captain America, have done a simply brilliant job here. Audiences come to a film like this for the fight scenes and Avengement does not disappoint, scratching that particular itch very nicely.
If you fancy a movie where the lead character kicks, punches, stabs and shoots his way through lots and lots of people, then this is the film for you. Its got no pretensions about being highbrow or arty, but goddamn it’s great fun. I waited a long time for this film to come out, and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to say that it was worth the wait and that it is most definitely worth your time.