“We’re in the business of taking lives, and business is booming.” Out of a secret London club operates a group of assassins for hire, each with their own particular approach to the job, axe murderer Carnage Cliff, femme fatale Jane the Ripper, Poison Pete, former special forces operatives Mick and Mack who are together known as the Murdering Mercenaries, Finicky Fred who experiments on random targets and Mike Fallon, the Accident Man.
His hits meticulously planned and executed, Mike’s modus operandi is to make his murders appear to be anything other than planned, tragic fatal accidents or suicides with no loose ends and a hefty payoff arranged by shifty fixer Milton, the money man whom none of them care for but all of them have to deal with.
There are three rules: never get angry, never get involved, and most importantly, never get caught, but when Mike’s ex-girlfriend Beth Carpenter is murdered in an apparent robbery gone wrong and the two suspects are found dead of a convenient overdose shortly after he recognises the hallmarks of a professional hit and cover up, one most likely carried out by one or other of his drinking buddies.
In the company of killers, the only person the Accident Man can turn to is Beth’s girlfriend Charlie Adams, the woman she left him for, in hopes she can provide a clue as to who might have targeted Beth and why; none to happy too happy to see him or help, the only thing which might persuade Charlie is when she realises she herself is also a target and Mike is the only man who can protect her.
Based on the early nineties comic book of the same name created by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, both best known for their many contributions to the pages of 2000AD, Judge Dredd, Flesh, ABC Warriors and Nemesis the Warlock among them, Accident Man merges the hard streets of London with the subversive punk attitude which launched that legendary comic to create a very British sense of the criminal underworld on the brink of anarchy.
Directed by former stuntman and stunt coordinator Jesse V Johnson from a script by Stu Small and Doctor Strange‘s Scott Adkins, Accident Man is largely a vehicle for Adkins as the comprehensively deadly title character whose detachment was his greatest asset until compromised by the murder of the only woman he loved, the frequent fight scenes shot in long takes and wide shots to leave the viewer in no doubt as to who is performing the dirty work.
Playing out like an anti-Kingsman, with martial artists Michael Jai White, Ray Park and Amy Johnston as Mick, Mac and Jane the Ripper and Game of Thrones heavyman Ross O’Hennessy as Carnage Cliff, the emphasis is firmly on the physical, with Cold Skin‘s Ray Stevenson by far the strongest character is Mike’s mentor Big Ray, a man of barely controlled temper who will have your back so long as you don’t cross him or compromise the operation.
Adkins can pull off any physical demand required of him with intimidating power and effortless grace but the script lacks the sharpness of the similar Mr Right, never calling him to demonstrate personality deeper than an aggrieved man with few interpersonal skills beyond hitting people, not helped by flat one-liners or his pairing with Twilight‘s Ashley Greene who chooses to play the admittedly underwritten Charlie as conceited and unsympathetic, and with much of the plot told in monotone voiceover Accident Man never quite becomes as cool as it needs for the genuine sparks of the flashback scenes of Stevenson and Leon Finnan’s teenage Mike to set the film alight.
Accident Man is available now on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment