Monday, February 06, 2023

Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, on DVD

Mike Fallon is a talented fighter, but his preferred method for assassinations is arranging “convenient accidents” that the police never investigate with much thoroughness. It therefore makes sense that he would live to see another day of misadventures after the carnage of his first movie. It turns out Malta is a great place for a hitman to work, given its handy proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. However, trouble still finds him there in the Kirby Brothers’ Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, which releases tomorrow on DVD.

Fallon still feels bad about killing all his colleagues in Big Ray’s hitman guild during the first film, but what can you do? What’s done is done. He wanted to lay low in Malta, but he soon found himself busier than ever. That is hardly surprising, considering former Maltese Labour Party Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (or his associates) hired a hitman to assassinate investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Talk about a friendly business environment—for hired killers.

Still, Fallon carries a heavy load of guilt over what happened. Technically, he was the good guy, saving his ex, but there is no getting around the fact he killed a lot of his friends. That is why he is uncharacteristically welcoming when his old mate, tinkering hitman Finicky Fred shows up in Valetta, looking for the internet girlfriend (whom Fallon assumes scammed him). Soon, they are teaming up on jobs, until Mrs. Zuzzer, a legendarily ruthless crime family matriarch kidnaps Fred. If Fallon wants him back, he will have to eliminate all the international assassins who have accepted the non-exclusive contract on her idiot son Dante, awkwardly including Big Ray. Ordinarily, Fallon would tell her to go pound sand, but that guilt still has a hold on him.

Like the first film,
Hitman’s Holiday is a terrific showcase for Scott Adkins’ martial arts skills. He also shows off solid comedic chops, but never at the expense of the action. To Adkins’ credit, generously shares the screen with Sarah Chang, who definitely deserves breakout action stardom for her work as Wong Siu-ling. Essentially, Fallon has hired her to be like Burt Kwouk in the Pink Panther movies, attacking him once a week to keep him sharp. Of course, they team-up against some imposing martial artists and a psychotic killer-clown, who can’t feel pain.

Everyone who digs the
John Wick series should also watch Adkins’ Accident Man and Debt Collectors films. Both duologies (so far) successfully combine comedy with bone-crushing fight sequences. The Adkins films are somewhat lighter in tone and they focus more on martial arts than gunplay, but they are wildly entertaining and release similar cinematic endorphins. Honestly, Keanu is cool, but Adkins is a way more credible butt-kicker.

The Kirby Brothers (George and Harry) take over for previous director Jesse Johnson, but you really can’t tell much difference—in this case, that’s a good thing. They clearly capture the physicality of their ensemble martial artist cast, while capitalizing on the photogenic Valetta backdrop. Plus, Ray Stevenson is dependably steely reprising his prior role as Big Ray. This should become a long running franchise, because the first two films are so much fun. Highly recommended for action fans,
Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday releases tomorrow (2/7) on DVD.