Sunday, 5 February 2023

Netflix And Chill: Legacy Of Lies (2020)

When I choose to watch a Scott Adkins movie, I am choosing violence. Adkins is one of the more consistently entertaining modern action stars, doing his thing in the kind of films we used to see go straight to video some time ago. Legacy Of Lies isn’t a film that lacks violence, but it isn’t full of the kind of inspired fight sequences that you can find in other Adkins movies.

The star plays Martin Baxter, a retired special agent who seems to make a living now from various fighting tournaments. He takes on opponents while his daughter (Honor Kneafsey) places the bets. It isn’t exactly an ideal life for a single dad, but things are what they are. They are safe, they aren’t likely to be dragged into any espionage, and they are aiming to be happy. Unfortunately, they are put in danger when dragged into a serious bit of espionage. It involves poison, official secrets, and an important figure from Max’s past.

Written and directed by Adrian Bol, Legacy Of Lies is an action thriller that could have easily been marketed a few years ago as “ripped from today’s headlines”. The heart of the plot revolves around a deadly poison, and the shifting loyalties and seeming sensitivity of the whole thing makes it clear that those involved are, or are connected to, very powerful people. It’s just a shame that this takes precedence over what we really want to see in a Scott Adkins movie, which is Scott Adkins fighting his way through hordes of disposable villains who aren’t afraid to try their luck against his deadly fists and feet.

Adkins does well enough in his role, and his scenes alongside Kneafsey hint that a much better movie could be made around two characters living the way they do in the early scenes here. Get that script written and I will be there to support it. Martin McDougall and Leon Sua aren’t too bad in main supporting roles, but the same cannot be said for the likes of Anna Butkevich, Yullia Sobol, and others who seem to have been hired for their accents, looks, availability, or combination of all three.

There is the seed of something good here, hidden underneath the muddled tone and the restrictive low budget, but I suspect that it would take someone better than Bol to make that film. Adkins fans may find, as I did, that there is just enough here to keep them moderately entertained, but there are so many better vehicles for his talents that you could choose. This is one to keep bumping down the list of viewing choices, at least until you have seen most of the Adkins movies directed by Jesse V. Johnson (someone who knows how to use the star well).


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