Review: AVENGEMENT Is Brutally Entertaining

(L-R) Craig Fairbrass as Lincoln Burgess, Nick Moran as Hyde, and Scott Adkins as Cain Burgess in Samuel Goldwyn Films’ action thriller “AVENGEMENT”. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Avengement is a new action film that re-teams writer-director Jesse V. Johnson and star Scott Adkins (Triple Threat). The movie follows a low-level criminal who, while released from prison on furlough to visit his dying mother, escapes the custody of his guards and sets out on a quest to get revenge on those who sent him into prison in the first place.

This film’s story is unabashedly straightforward, but still somewhat impactful and effective nonetheless. The movie is little more than the protagonist delivering a story through flashbacks, leading us to the main incident in the film. This particular storytelling method is problematic because you are introduced to the characters at a point later in their arc, so the flashbacks are extremely predictable. As a result, you are left just waiting for things to happen.

The character development is also sorely lacking. One of the main reasons why it is hard to get behind the story is that you don’t really care for any of the characters. The protagonist seems just as bad as the antagonists, with his only redeeming quality being the fact that he sees himself as an avenging angel of sorts. Otherwise, he’s pretty unlikable. He’s a jerk that has done a lot of horrible things without remorse or an emotionally justifiable reason other than blanket revenge.

That being said, the movie still manages to stay enjoyable because of its brisk pacing. The film is only an hour and a half long, so there isn’t much time to be wasted. The movie does at times feel like it is rushing terribly. This is especially true towards the end, as the climax feels much shorter and more easily resolved than the build-up suggests it will be. Nevertheless, the unstoppable energy of the film is often infectious.

(L-R) Christopher Sciueref as Yeates, Scott Adkins as Cain Burgess and Dan
Styles as Newbold in Samuel Goldwyn Films’ action thriller “AVENGEMENT”. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

The action of the movie is also a highlight. Although the action isn’t particularly refined or creative, it is still very enjoyable to watch in its own gritty way. The sheer brutality of some of the fights is what makes the film works, as you will likely find it hard not to react to the more intense imagery presented by the movie. A sequence involving a cricket bat is particularly enjoyable to watch.

All of the actors also do a surprisingly solid job in their roles, especially given the fact that this is a B-movie. Johnson and Adkins have worked together before, so you can tell that they are a combo that works. The role was probably even written for Adkins’s strengths, hence why he fits it so well. The supporting cast is also relatively strong, particularly Thomas Turgoose, who plays the comedic relief character.

On a technical level, the film was somewhat rough, but that can be expected given the movie’s B-movie status. The focus of the film is on watching people getting beat up, not how they get beat up, so the cinematography and editing are choppy, simply presenting as many angles of the fights with as much kineticism as possible. The production design is also simple, which is disappointing given the fact that a significant portion of the movie occurs in a single location.

Overall, Avengement was a mostly diverting action movie. If you are looking for a couple of cool fight scenes, this film will likely entertain you, but there are some better alternatives out right now.

Avengement hits theaters and VOD on May 24.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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