In the ever growing filmography of Scott Adkins 2018’s Accident Man stands out. While most of his movies are generic DTV action movies, Accident Man was a passion project to him. It was a more lighthearted feature than his usual output and a Scott Adkins take on a comic book property. Apparently it did well enough to warrant a sequel: Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday.
After the events in London, Mike Fallon is living on the island of Malta where he still operates as a hitman who stages his hits as accidents. One day he runs into Finicky Fred and assumes his past in London has caught up with him. But them running into each other is simply a matter of fate and the two start a partnership which evolves into a friendship.
But when the son of mob boss Zuuzer survives an assassination attempt staged as an accident on his life, the blame is put on Fallon. He manages to convince the mob boss of his innocence, but she does take Fred hostage. In exchange she wants Fallon to bring her son Dante back home safe.
Dante is a piece of work. He’s a whiny twenty-something who walks around in some sort of Pokemon pajama. To make things worse, he swallows a tracker on purpose. This makes him an easy target for an array of skilled assassins looking for a 9 million dollar payday.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday opens with Adkins fighting a clown who wields a brick on a stick hammer. The screen freezes and Adkins goes into full voice over mode with the classic “So how did I get myself into this situation?” flashback framing of the story. It’s one of the many moments Scott Adkins provides the movie with clever sounding dialogue delivered in a thick British accent.
By starting with Fallon fighting a maniacal clown, the movie directly acknowledges its comic book roots. The rest of the assassins are less flashy, but all of them stand out from a genera;l crowd. Something which basically makes someone unsuitable for this job in real life.
The movie takes its time to put the assassins into play. The first act mostly consists of building up the bond between Fallon and Fred. We see them taking out several marks with elaborate staged accidents. Fallon also has a deal with Wong Siu-ling. She’s a martial artist who keeps Fallon alert and in shape by attacking him by surprise whenever she pleases. A simple plot device to keep provide the movie with action scenes until the assassins arrive.
Once the assassins enter the picture, the movie takes it down a notch in terms of plot and opts to basically go from one fight scene to the next. Each assassin appears when Fallon has disposed of the previous one. Almost like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat roster. The fights are great and nicely choreographed, especially considering that movies like this are shot on a shoestring budget which doesn’t allow the stuntmen to put months of work into the choreography.
The small budget is also obvious when it comes to the special effects. Almost all of the visual effects are glaringly added in post production with a computer. Even when a practical approach seems to be the better choice. There is a shot of a decapitated head tumbling down across the camera and it’s pretty obvious that it’s created entirely during post-production with CGI. None of the colors, light and shadows on the head match the environment. In these cases the choice for CGI baffles me, as similar shots have been done practical for decades now. It’s not that hard and expensive to get yourself a prop head in the movie industry.
Luckily there aren’t many shots, but every time a CG effect is on screen it takes you out of an otherwise enjoyable, but slightly repetitive action movie. Blood squibs: CGI. Explosions: CGI. Fire effects: CGI. I know that these movies are made with a budget for only two or three weeks of shooting and therefor have little room to take time to perfect a special effects shot like an explosion thrusting a DJ on fire in slow motion towards the camera. But if such a shot can only be made by using really shoddy CGI I would rather not see this shot in the movie at all.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is certainly a movie that targets a niche audience. It’s a low budget action movie, with a more jokey approach than most Scott Adkins movies. This will put some people off. I liked it, while my girlfriend hated it. And she usually likes the simplistic Adkins action movies, like last year’s One Shot.
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday: it’s silly, it’s fun, but it’s not for everyone.