Avengement (2019): Action / Crime / Thriller

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After years of imprisonment, a man manages to escape and heads straight for the people responsible that made his life inside a living hell.

Fifth collaboration between Jesse V. Johnson and Scott Adkins with this one and Savage Dog (2017) being my favourite ones. Originally from Sutton Coldfield, only a few miles away from where I live, Adkins is the man for the job. He trains hard and, once in front of the camera, he pours his soul out for us to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I have a recommendation though and I address it to Johnson: With the protracted tracking shots being used more and more all over the world, I would really love to see Adkins in longer, uncut shots doing what he does best. Films like Ong-bak (2003) and Yip Man (2008) have raised the bar sky-high and I have the ultimate confidence that the Brits can do it as well. I really want to see it happening; longer shots = less editing = more continuous action. Avengement¬†has these gritty fights that Johnson’s previous films lacked and Adkins, regardless, always delivers. Craig Fairbrass, Thomas Turgoose, Nick Moran, Kierston Wareing, and Leo Gregory are, as always, brilliant.

I hope The Debt Collector 2 (2020) adds something even more to the equation and that their successful collaboration keeps improving. Adkins needs more spotlight as he has the talent that makes martial artists half his age weep.

 

Bonded by Blood (2010): Crime / Drama / Thriller

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Third film on the Essex Boys murders after the “Essex Boys” (2000) and the “Rise of the Footsoldier” (2007). And is absolutely brilliant! Gruesome violence, prison, dodgy deals, backstabbings, drugs, guns, vulgar language, and Vincent Regan, Tamer Hassan, Kierston Wareing, and Adam Deacon performing magic on camera. Brilliant year for Michael Socha as well who jumped from this one to “Shank” (2010) and “This Is England ’86” (2010).

According to many (beyond my area of expertise), Essex wasn’t like this in the 90’s, something that was held against the production design. Also, the massive script liberties annoyed certain people as it, allegedly, deviated from what really happened (which is still uncertain anyway).

For all its quirks and foibles, “Bonded by Blood” is very enjoyable and for its budget, it gives you one hell of a ride.