Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday delivers the violence, direct-to-video.
Remember Accident Man? It’s OK if you don’t, but DTV actionheads tend to think of it fondly as a sturdy Jesse V. Johnson-directed vehicle for the beloved low-budget action hero Scott Adkins, one that (along with other Johnson escapades like Debt Collectors) allowed the star to showcase his increasingly capable skills as a comedic actor as well as his usual flying kicks. Anyway, there’s a sequel. Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, like its predecessor, is based on a series of 90s comic strips about Mike Fallon (Adkins), a frustrated hitman who eliminates his targets in ways that appear to be accidents, hence the catchy title. At the end of the last movie, with a John Wick-ish twist, Mike has been ostracized from the hitman community and finds himself taking odd jobs for a mobster in Malta, the improbably named Mrs. Zuuzer (Flaminia Cinque). When someone tries to kill the boss’s layabout son, she threatens to kill Mike’s buddy Finicky Fred (Perry Benson) unless Mike keeps the kid alive, and so goofy hitman-related hijinks ensue.
Adkins himself has been steadily improving as a comedic actor, and here his exasperated demeanor matches really well with the manic pace and intrinsic goofiness of the story. After a handful of short appearances in other films (most notably stealing the show in the Jamie Foxx vampire movie Day Shift), it’s great to have a no-frills star appearance from him. This guy needs to be carrying studio tentpoles. But even while “there’s not enough Scott Adkins in this” has become a bit of a mantra recently, his co-star — Sarah Chang — up and steals the movie right out from under him as Wong Siu-ling, a ninja Mike has hired to attack him at random, Cato/Inspector Clouseau-style. It’s a great running gag, albeit an obvious one, but Chang’s flippant attitude and clear martial arts abilities are winning.
Like the first film, this one is populated by ridiculously cartoonish characters like a huge, face-tattooed guy who thinks he’s a vampire or an evil clown named Poco. The movie never quite overcomes that silly factor, but what it does deliver are some outstanding fights. Directors George and Harry Kirby are veteran stunt performers, and their dedication to displaying the athleticism of their actors while they execute some expert choreography is welcome. There are some blistering fights here, pulled off with a minimum of cuts and loaded with jumps and throws and broken windows and smashed tables. It’s exactly what you want from a DTV action film; clearly the filmmakers know what we’re all here to see.