The sixth collaboration between British action film legends Jesse V. Johnson and Scott Adkins sees the actor in unfamiliar territory as antihero Cain Burgess, escaping from H.M.P. Belmarsh after the death of his mother and seeking vengeance on the gang who made him a hardened criminal in the 2019 action movie AVENGEMENT. Former stuntman Johnson together with co-writer Stu Small conjure up that rare thing; a film that doesn't portray revenge as glorious but acknowledges what a destructive and ugly act it is and some of Adkins best work to date sees him emotionally and physically scarred as the intimidating lead as well as employing a ferocious and violent fighting style over some of the more acrobatic martial arts we are sometimes used to seeing from him. Strong support from Thomas Turgoose as wannabe tough guy Tune, Craig Fairbrass as double-crossing brother Lincoln and Terence Howard as criminal accountant - surely a tautology - Stokes round out an impressive cast.
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Dan: Riggs, you're back and you've brought pain with you.
Reegs: Yes. I've brought the sixth collaboration between Adkins and Scott Adkins and Jesse V. Johnson we watched their previous collaboration, the deck collector. And we all enjoyed that, had a sort of Tarantino esque vibe
Dan: stretching it. But yeah.
Dan: I I do remember not turning it
Sidey: no, I remember you being guys do you were being, you were, I was surprised by how into it you were.
Dan: It was a
Reegs: And so this was the sixth collaboration between these guys and it after pit fighters, savage, Which I've seen is great accident, man. The debt collector, triple threat, I've seen all of those movies are all great and I wanted to see this one that was on Netflix, so we watched it
Sidey: And its name is Avenge. Avenge.
Dan: It could have been the avenge, could have been
Sidey: could have been a West Ham Day Out
Dan: Avenger Armor. It could have been many, any of those, couldn't it? But they went for a venge
Reegs: Yeah. Strong avenging theme. Yeah. In, in this. And uh,
Dan: got that director TV feel straightaway, isn't it? When you kind of look as, as most of these Adkins.
kind of films. Collabo. Yeah. Do have a kind of budget thing. You know what you're going in for. It's not like the high end all bells whistling, cgi
Reegs: no, but what it is, is, is great collaborative action filmmaking using good physical stunts and one of the best stunt men in the business, despite all his dodgy Joe Rogan shit which we don't have to talk about.
So this one we get to see a slightly. Side of Scott Adkins, a little bit of Ranger as an actor because he gets to try out a few different fighting styles in this and some different material as an actor. The, the sort of stuff that we're not used to seeing him. And we do see him right at the beginning.
Kane Burges in a prison transport. He's got bright white trainers on. Did you notice that? They always used, talk about how bright the whites have to be, the trainers. The whites. And he's being escorted and we only see him from the back, but when he does turn around, it's not the Adkins we used to see.
And he's got scars all over his face. His teeth are metal. He's got like a horrible burn or something. And he's being taken to hospital, isn't he? To see his dying mother?
Sidey: Yes. He's been allowed out to see his mother before she passes away. Yeah. But we don't have the full story on that yet.
Reegs: No, no.
Dan: Well, a lot of this story is actually told with flashbacks, isn't it?
That's right. So, we, we get so far down and then there'll be some memory from the past, including him gonna visit his, his mum in hospital. And we learned that actually she didn't make it. He didn't make it in time to, to get there and visit her. It was about 20 minutes. And didn't they stop for a latte or
Reegs: We'll find out. Yeah. One of the coppers stopped for Starbucks for a vanilla latte. That's why he missed his dying mom. Anyway, they, they take him down. He, like, he says, I wanna see the body anyway. And they agree and they take him down. And then the title comes up, avenge and we hear some scuffles and stuff.
And then he escapes and he's off. We don't see what happened, but he's broken out relatively easily and he's headed straight to the horse and jockey.
Reegs: not straight because we'll find out later. He did a few other things first, but that's where he is gone. The horse and Jockey Pub a right shit, old pub.
This in it like old man West End of London. Yeah. Horrible pub. Guarded by two guys who tell him he needs a membership and they're both dispatched pretty quickly with a fucking punch to the throat.
Dan: Yeah, they, they're, they're just goons, aren't they stood outside and, and they're No match for Atkins, who's practices fighting style since prison and all the rest of it as we learn as we go on.
But he, he looks a hard, he looks a
Sidey: not to be messed with. No.
Reegs: He goes in and the bar made bears chats to him and um, he gets to drink anything with a hefty head. he asks for which, yeah, I dunno. The bitter didn't look that great. But anyway, the bar may chats him up a bit and he tells us to keep the change.
And then in the background, there are some goons, aren't there, one of whom is called Tune? It's Thomas.
Sidey: Well, I Turgoose thought it was Jordan Pickford. He looks like fucking
Dan: more like Jordan Pickford. Yeah.
Reegs: from, this is England.
Dan: So Jor.
Sidey: oh, of course. Yeah. That's where I recognize him from.
Dan: Jordan Pickfords brother. He, he starts telling a story. Yeah. About how another guy had
Reegs: a gangster named Brook had his arm chopped
Sidey: He's the kind of goon who likes to tell the stories about what other people have done rather.
He's not, he's not the muscle, he's not the, he's the like corner boy, if you like,
Dan: And, and that's exactly what he was. He was stood on a corner with his mate r and they were getting
Sidey: Yeah, the skier
Dan: Yeah. They were getting an eyeball down the back of an alley by who we now know
Reegs: Well, Kane starts laughing, I think at this
Sidey: Doesn't, yeah, he doesn't get all the story out, and he's like, what the fuck? He laughing
Dan: Well, as, as he starts telling this story, which Jordan Pickfords kind of heroics comes into the into the front of it, but he is, The truth. And Kane knows that because he was the other guy who ripped this guy's arm off. So he calls him out on it.
And doing so, it
Sidey: hes, he pushes it a bit. He, he laughs at them. And then there's a bit of a lot of posturing of like, what are you laughing at? And he's like, sorry, you know, you carry on your story and it settles down and then it starts up again and he immediately like cuts them off.
Yeah. And it's all just, you know, front and well's, not front cuz he's gonna back it up, but it's,
Reegs: he's sort of horribly aggressive, this character and just like a real thug. It's
Sidey: He's a psycho, I mean he is a psycho. Psycho.
Reegs: Yeah. And he's screaming about what a tough guy looks like and I look like a tough guy, don't I?
And all that
Dan: Oh, he's like a torn piece of paper, isn't he? I mean, he's ripped.
Reegs: Yeah. Anyway, so yeah, we find out that it was, it was Kane who was there ch chopped off R's arm. And just as it looks like it's gonna all kick off, he pulls out a shotgun, a shoe, a shoot yeah. A sauna or shotgun. And he's like, I demand to know where Lincoln is.
Sidey: Yeah. And,
just as he says that, there's kind of Lincoln's number two comes out the door,
Reegs: Yeah. Do see who that was?
Sidey: grabs it. Yeah.
Dan: Well, I did see who it was, but tell me his
Reegs: Nick Moran from the lock stock movies. Yeah, he plays Hyde is sort of Lincoln's
Sidey: wasn't it, in that kids' program about, oh, was that Dexter Fletcher?
Press gang or something.
Reegs: Yeah, press gang. He might been in that. There was a few British actors in't
Sidey: that. Anyhow, there's different character altogether in this,
Reegs: And then it kicks off a bit. One of goon, one of the goons rushes him, doesn't, he gets his leg horribly blown away with a shotgun and he's just like screaming in pain, scream in pain.
So, he can puts in very quickly out of his misery, I think. Did your head butts him or
Sidey: are we getting an nice gratuitous shot of the, of the wound in
Dan: and the, yeah.
I mean, they didn't, they didn't pull away from that. And you get to see a nice, as you say, open flesh wound from a shotgun. Well, Adkins, he's, he's proved early on. He is. He's nowhere Oscar winner.
He kind of grimaces through a lot of his scenes, doesn't he? But I guess that's part of the, the character, the
Reegs: Well, he is just really horrible.
Dan: He is
Sidey: really, he's
Reegs: aggressive. He's very effective. Yeah.
Dan: isn't he? I mean,
Reegs: yes, exactly.
Well, it this movie. Yeah. It's a deconstruction of revenge as a motive in action movies. But anyway, we can get into that if you want. But he, he gets basically puts every, he gets everybody to put their mobile phones in a, in the jar of pickled eggs, doesn't he? And he settles everybody down. Right.
We're all just gonna wait until Lincoln shows up and we're gonna sort it out, and then we get a.
sort of dark night homage doesn't, he says, oh, do you wanna know how I got these scars? And he recounts the
Dan: and nobody really does, but he's he stood
Sidey: it, it's a rhetorical question.
Yeah. They're gonna, they're gonna find out. We need to know as well. We need, we need
Dan: they're gonna find out and he goes through this and then another flashback. And he goes,
kind of scene in,
Reegs: well, he's the more pretty boy, Scott
Sidey: it the, is it the teeth first?
Dan: It's in the first kind of
So we get, we get like a series of flashbacks, which just basically tell you how each scar or each thing that he's wearing after all these years in prison. Yeah. He's in Belmar. And we'll get, we get filled in the backstory of just what's happened and why he's on this
Reegs: He's continually getting jumped. And
Sidey: so the first fight is, is pretty brutal.
Reegs: Oh, it's absolutely All of the fights are, are, are. It's not the Bic spiny acrobat stuff. It's brutal, blunt
Sidey: especially the teeth
Yeah, there are a series of really horrible things, like you say, there's an American history, ex
Sidey: was gonna say, you just need to say American history X and you know exactly what we're talking about.
He overpowers a few of them, but they just keep coming. Yeah. Overpower him. Hold him to the step and
Dan: there was like one,
Sidey: see it, I think. Oh, certainly the aftermath. You
Reegs: know, the huge guy Joe is lump, his name is, he's the guy who says He like bumps into him or whatever, and it kicks off fight absolutely enormous. He was Mike Tyson's sparring partner.
That guy, Joe Eagan, his name is
Dan: be pretty tough to be,
Reegs: yeah uh, Akins said about him, he likes to improvise in the fight scenes, which can be a bit disconcerting.
Sidey: We get we get the, the recovery room. Him and the,
Dan: we haven't really explained what's happened there. He's, he's had this huge fight and then he's been made to open his mouth on the, on the cook of a step
Sidey: Yeah. They stamp
Dan: and, and then they stamped down.
I mean, there is what, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 guys. The odds were against him but he was overpowered, slammed down, and then he got for the rest of the
Sidey: Yeah, we see him in the hospital bit and they, and the guy says, oh, that's all we could do for you.
And he is like, it's bullshit. They could have
Reegs: got metal teeth.
Dan: Which he doesn't actually mind cuz he thinks it makes him look fucking scary.
Reegs: Yeah. Because he's continually getting jumped and we get many little montage scenes of like, Guard suddenly leaving an area and two people locking a door, and you're like, yes, I know what's about to happen. And he, you know, he gives as good as he gets and people are continuously coming for him.
People trying to stab him. There's lots of broken arms. There's he gets hot. They make prison, nap
Sidey: you could make napalm in prison, doesn't he? The guy says, and then after each battle, which they are we see him up against the, the
Reegs: governor. Yeah.
Sidey: he says, right's. Another six months. Six months solitary and you know, another year on
Dan: well, he takes really
Sidey: and I was thinking, He's never getting out, you know, because he's just, every fight is just like, you know,
Dan: giving him
Sidey: another, he's taken the brunt of it physically and incarceration.
Reegs: So we see how he became the twisted guy that he is now. And you know, eventually it's gonna become clear that this all ties back to Lincoln.
Who is brother.
Dan: Yeah. And it seems that Lincoln, who's been running this operation where basically I do, they go to people's houses and then just basically live out their houses, run their operations from there, parasite, everything they can then move on to the next Yeah.
Reegs: That's basically it. Yeah. And
Dan: that's kind of the
Sidey: operation Macai
Dan: Yeah. So that he, he's going that his brother's working and one of the jobs we.
That he did to get into prison was having to, to do a job for his brother because he wasn't actually a bad guy. He was a boxer. He was a fighter.
Sidey: He was,
Reegs: lost money on him because he was supposed to what's it
Dan: He was meant to take a fall, wasn't he? He was meant to go down in the fifth, and he, he didn't, he ended up winning and,
Sidey: he says, I was just trying to make it look realistic, but he knocked the guy out,
Dan: He not the guy out. And they all lost a load of money. So to pay him back, he needed to, to then go,
Sidey: well, he goes, he goes to, he interrupts a card game, doesn't he? With his brother, his brother's played by
Yeah. Which is Richard Farriss's brother. He was actually an extra in the I'm too sexy music video. Right. Said Fred. Did you know that?
Reegs: was he really?
Sidey: yeah. He interrupts their card game, which is obviously gonna be some high stakes shit to plead and beg for some. Cuz he wants to start up his own gym franchise, I
Reegs: thing. Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Sidey: they're like, no, I'm not gonna just give you money. You are, you know, we've lost money on you already.
Reegs: Mm-hmm. .
tell you what, do this job for us.
Sidey: And we can think, we can talk, you know,
Reegs: and his job is to basically steal this blue pla he says, have you seen one of these before?
What? A blue plastic bag, Anyway. Yeah. So his job is to steal this stuff off, off a woman, but she doesn't give up without a fight. It's kind of comical at first. He's running off taunting her and then suddenly, but she's got a bit like Ned Flounders Terminator. Like she
Sidey: she keeps coming
Reegs: middle-aged woman, and he's a bit like right.
Leave it. I'm gonna go. And then eventually tragically she gets mowed down by a, a car as she chases him. And that's how he ended up in
Dan: the police see everything and tackle him, take him to prison and because
Reegs: oh, and then it's Detective Louie Mandalore from the deck collector. Yeah, it was him.
Dan: And so, which is Sue in the debt collector, isn't it? And he's then looking at a long charge. Needing to, to rat his brother out and he's no way he's gonna do that. So he ends up going into prison. What was in the bag?
Sidey: It's cash. I think
Dan: it was just cash, but he tied it all in with his operation.
So rather than just an innocent kind of just robbing this random per person, he ties him in with the whole kind of kit and caboodle of the operation. And gets
Reegs: the, I think it's, they lend them money, like disadvantaged and vulnerable people. They lend them money and then they steal, the money gets stolen from them, so they still owe money to the loan shark.
And then that's when they move in and start exploiting all of their assets to like, it's a really horrible
Dan: it really
Reegs: And it does happen.
Dan: And and this, this documentary film almost shot shine light on that didn't It did,
Reegs: did, yeah. Absolutely.
Sidey: But yeah, like you say, he's, his brother hasn't helped him in any way. In fact, he's stitched him up. Yeah, he's, and he learns this eventually did, not straight away, but he, his mom comes to visit him.
Yeah. And, and she's said, oh, your brother's been so good looking after me, cuz she's now not Well, and it's the, the rage is just building
Reegs: Well, he wants to confront her over Lincoln and say, look, that's what's happened to
Dan: he, he's been bullying me, but
Reegs: because she, he's been a good son to her, he's like made sure that he's paid for a treatment. He doesn't wanna break her heart before. So, yeah,
Dan: He's been so good. I wouldn't dunno what I'd do without him. And it's like, oh, last thing you wanted to hear because he wanted to say, he's the reason I'm in here.
Dan: he's sending people to keep getting me killed.
Reegs: put 20 grand on his price,
Dan: put a head, he's put a price on his head. On his brother's head. Yeah. Yeah.
Dan: that, that money is been fought every day.
Reegs: So it's all tying up really nicely. We've had all of this stuff revealed in flashback and what we're really waiting for is Lincoln to turn up and he does with a couple of his mates.
And is there a fight straight away? I can't remember. There's a gray
Dan: Well, we find out the guy that that's been shot in the leg has actually died. Yeah. And a, a couple of them then start getting a little bit n nervous. One of the guy rushes him, he gets a gut full of lead as well, and he quickly just manages to put in a couple more bullets, doesn't he before they start
Reegs: yeah. But then somebody throws into the room like a whole bag of like two by
Sidey: fours in front.
Reegs: bats. It's amazing. Yeah. And there's some great action where it's like long takes and shot from a still camera so that you can see what's, you know, actually happening as opposed to things being thrown around.
Dan: So thi this was one of those things that was slightly annoying and a couple of the the fighting scenes where, It's a, you know, it is what it is kind of film.
But when there's like six or seven of them and then you have like five of them just looking at one
Yeah. The queue up,
Dan: they're queuing up going one by, it would not happen. Just they would all pile in at once and they'd just beat the hell out of
Reegs: But it's a long tradition
Dan: they're all, yeah. Well, okay, so, it didn't.
Didn't make it
Reegs: The fights are really good
Sidey: Well, the word, I mean
Sidey: you wanna talk about that then Jordan Pickford bursts in with a machine gun.
Yeah, yeah. And sprays everywhere in there around him. Yeah. But not him.
Reegs: Yeah. Well no, some guy stands up just as he, but then I think he laughs. I mean, the film is in on the joke. Yeah. That stuff is not there because it, like by accident
Dan: bit itchy and scratchy.
Reegs: Somebody, you know, oh, Hyde started to rant at some point and just completely unexpectedly gets his head blown off by the shotgun, doesn't he?
Yeah. Just completely like as he's mid rant. Yeah. And then eventually it's brother versus brother, and they have this long, intense struggle. They're like looking into each other's eyes as they're trying to
Sidey: the knife getting closer to your face, that, that sort of fight.
Reegs: Yeah. And in the background there was a Queen Vic on the bar.
Did you see that? Cuz obviously Craig Fair Brass was East Enders. Yeah, lovely stuff. And
Sidey: Kane. gets the better of him.
Reegs: Yeah. Kane gets the better of him and it turns out he got the better of everyone. There was a bit of a misunderstanding. Lincoln did all this because he was told by a bent copper called Evans.
The Scott Adkins had that
Dan: his brother had ratted on him
Reegs: on him. . So that's what all the, the thing was about. And don't worry, because on the way to the pub, not only did he kill Evans, but he also went to Lincoln's
Sidey: Right. Very fast
Reegs: yeah. To get him to transfer all of his money to the 147 odd victims
Sidey: they got like 16 grand each or something.
Reegs: 16 grand each.
Dan: and yeah. And that's the last scene actually, isn't it?
When you got some old boy going to the post office and he looks at his gyro and it's got an extra sort of 15, 16 grand in it. And we know that our mate is, is Robin Hood, did
Sidey: Did he, did he survive though?
Reegs: He collapses on a bench. Kind of laughing, doesn't he?
It's unclear. Yeah. I think
Sidey: I think not. I think it was a suicide mission. Yeah.
Dan: But there you go. A venge.
Dan: Yeah, I mean, it was one of those films again, as soon as it, as soon as This was announced on our, yeah, on our WhatsApp. I looked, oh, what, what's this? I saw him and I thought, right, what's the other one? And then I went to our, our main feature this week, which is Great Wall.
Yeah. So I was in a real kind of stick point where I thought, well, which one, which one do I watch first? You know? Yeah. Cuz I wasn't really looking forward to ivory of these. This is, these are films I avoid generally. I mean, be movies with lots of fighting. Basically that's it. It's, it's just lots of fighting.
It's, it's, it's got some plot put together, but again, I must say half pleasantly surprised by this, and maybe because my expectations are, are so low then I'm pleasantly surprised. Yeah. And it's about an hour and a half long. It's, it's totally rubbish. Some of the, the fighting and the, and the violence and things goes a little bit too far for too long.
but it is what it is and I actually quite enjoyed it despite thinking that I wouldn't
Sidey: Yeah. The fighting is really well choreographed. Yeah. And I do like qui again, so, you know, I just think someone's done really well for himself.
Yeah. This particular movie, it's just nasty. Like everyone is nasty in it. It's nasty, so it's hard to love it. You know? I, I was pleased when it finished. And I wouldn't watch it again, but I did, I did enjoy it and I did really enjoy talking about it as well. Yeah. But it's just that there's no not a single like redeemable character.
Yeah. And well, you know, the director who wrote this, and the guy Stu Small, who does his like dial does Adkins dialogue and I think also co-wrote this. They, it is a, it is sort of about how ugly revenge is as a motivation and we always see it in action, movies, revenge, and we're supposed to The, the revenge, and this is not that movie, this is something else, but it does have a sort of element of atonement in it at the end as well with this whole redistribution of the money.
And he's, like you say, he's not a, a. Character that you like or you support in any way, which is different for Adkins. So yeah, I thought it was interesting thematically and kick ass fights. Very violent.
Dan: Yeah. If you, if you like lot of fighting and you like this kind of genre, then I'd recommend it If you, if they say, really, I like action movies, lots of fight,
Sidey: If you're a West Ham fan, you're a lot of relatable, a lot of relatable
Dan: a lot of
Dan: stuff. So.
Overall for me, I would say
Reegs: Oh yeah. Strong recommend. Yeah,
Dan: it's, it's a recommend if you like this kind of thing.