Accident Man (Blu-ray) (2018)

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Released 7-Feb-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Audio Commentary-with Scott Adkins and Stu Small
Featurette-Assassin's Roll Call
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Violent Ballet: Filming the Fight
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 105:29
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jesse V. Johnson
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Universal Sony
Starring Scott Adkins
Ray Stevenson
Ashley Greene
David Paymer
Michael Jai White
Ray Park
Amy Johnston
Perry Benson
Nick Moran
Ross O'Hennessy
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Sean Murray


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Dutch
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† More than just another cheap, nasty direct-to-video action movie, 2018ís Accident Man actually represents a long-gestating passion project for star/co-writer/co-producer Scott Adkins, and his enthusiasm shines through in the finished product. An adaptation of the ďAccident ManĒ comic strips from the early 1990s written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, there is so much flavour, wit and charm to the picture, which elevates it above any number of other low-budget action titles currently flooding the marketplace. Admittedly, there might not be much originality to the narrative, as it boils down to a revenge story with little in the way of surprising twists or turns, but itís a hugely entertaining watch nevertheless, invigorated by the details of this assassin underworld and a goofy sense of humour.

†††† A ruthless assassin, Mike Fallon (Adkins) is known as the ďAccident Man,Ē as he specialises in methodically eliminating targets and making each death look like an accident. Fallon is a member of an underground league of assassins ruled by Big Ray (Ray Stevenson), while Milton (David Paymer) takes care of liaising with clients and assigning the contracts to the appropriate killer/s. But when Fallonís ex-girlfriend Beth (Brooke Johnston) is found dead after an apparent burglary, and another assassin tries to kill Fallon, he believes that thereís more to the story. Confiding in Bethís devastated girlfriend Charlie (Ashley Greene), Fallon suspects that fellow assassin duo Mick (Michael Jai White) and Mac (Ray Park) were involved in Bethís killing, forcing him to put his life in jeopardy as he becomes determined to find out who put out the hit. Meanwhile, his own crew are ordered to hunt him down.

†††† At first glance - with the pictureís voiceover narration, excessive violence, sense of humour and assassin bar - Accident Man does look like a British Deadpool rip-off, but thatís an erroneous assumption. The comic book source on which the movie is based actually went to print before a single ďDeadpoolĒ comic was published, and Adkins had been working on the screenplay with Stu Small long before 2016ís Deadpool lit up the box office. Despite the writersí inexperience (itís the first screenplay credit for both men), the script represents an agreeable adaptation of the first Accident Man comic book story, with little touches to modernise the material. Furthermore, whereas most modern superhero franchises feel the need to spend an entire feature exploring its protagonistís origins, Accident Man only spends fifteen minutes showing how Fallon got his start as an assassin, set to voiceover narration by Adkins, revealing everything that we need to know. On that note, Fallonís introduction is note-perfect as well, observing the professional contract killer carrying out a job (and taking a selfie with the corpse) before blowing off some steam by deliberately getting into a bar brawl.

†††† With a meagre budget, there was no leeway for any large-scale, CGI-laden action set-pieces, and therefore Accident Man relies on the martial arts prowess of its stars to deliver thrills. Once the movie kicks into high gear at about the hour mark, the action is almost non-stop all the way through to the end credits. Smartly, the cast is filled out by capable fighters - aside from Adkins, there is also the likes of Jai White (Black Dynamite) and Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace), while actress/stunt-woman Amy Johnston (playing Jane the Ripper) proves to be adept with a samurai sword. Itís a treat to watch these seasoned professionals throwing down, aided by outstanding fight choreography and smooth camerawork which ensures that we can always comprehend whatís going on. Luckily, thereís enough variety to the bruising, brutal action set-pieces to prevent things from feeling repetitive or monotonous, and pacing is assured. Outside of a few moments (including a shonky climactic decapitation), Accident Man fortunately doesnít feel necessarily cheap - itís a slickly-constructed undertaking on the whole, with director Jesse V. Johnson making the most of the limited funds at his disposal. (Of course, it may appear cheap to those smug hipsters who download a low-quality pirate copy, but it looks top-notch in pristine high definition.) Johnson is something of a direct-to-video action luminary, having previously helmed Savage Dog with Adkins (among many other flicks), making him a perfectly sufficient directorial choice.

†††† Adkins has appeared in a few major motion pictures, but they often fail to take advantage of the actorís insane abilities. Hell, in the likes of Doctor Strange and The Expendables 2, he was just a henchman with minimal screen-time. Accident Man, however, is the star vehicle that Adkins has always deserved, showcasing his terrific martial arts skills as well as his innate charm as a performer, and itís therefore a bit of a shame that this movie isnít a bigger deal. The comic book portrayal of Fallon was a bit more refined with more expensive tastes, but Adkins is nevertheless an ideal pick; heís gruff yet charismatic, making the character his own. And unlike his iconic role of Boyka in the Undisputed sequels, Adkins gets to make use of his natural English accent here. Thereís a sizeable ensemble of assassins in Accident Man, and the movie efficiently introduces them one-by-one before getting into the story proper.

†††† Permeated with a distinctively British sensibility in its dry sense of humour and use of songs, Accident Man will appeal to fans of Adkins and should satisfy those who like the comics. Hell, movie-goers just seeking a fun time should find a lot to like about this actioner. It never takes itself too seriously and it definitely wears its R rating on its sleeve, which makes this an easy recommendation for fans of í80s and í90s genre flicks, but itís probably not a movie for the easily offended. Fast-paced and lean at 105 minutes, Accident Man is an insanely fun independent British action flick, as well as a pleasingly accurate representation of the source material. With its unique energy and flavour, you will be left yearning for a sequel.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† With this Blu-ray disc being authored and encoded by the reliable folks at Sony, Accident Man looks excellent for the most part in 1080p high definition, doing justice to the low-budget source. Impressively, the movie is mastered with an above-average bitrate averaging at a bit under 28 Mbps, making use of a dual-layered BD-50 to maximise the video quality. And with Accident Man being framed at its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, there's less screen real estate for the encode to manage than a 1.85:1 or a 1.78:1 presentation would demand, making the high bitrate even more impressive. It's commendable that Sony chose to make use of a BD-50 given the movie's 105-minute runtime and the small supply of extras (there is a fair bit of unused space left on the disc), but I'm glad they did, especially given the lack of a 4K Ultra HD alternative. Accident Man unfortunately bypassed cinemas around the world (although I did have the privilege of seeing an ungraded preview at a special screening), and I therefore cannot compare the Blu-ray to anything, but one would assume that the Blu-ray presentation is faithful to director Jesse V. Johnson's vision in terms of colours.

†††† From a fine detail perspective, Accident Man's Blu-ray presentation genuinely shines. Shot digitally with Arri Alexa cameras, the transfer sports beautifully tight textures on skin, clothing and environments, and it frankly looks superior to other, more expensive blockbusters. Close-ups resolve every last detail to be seen on faces or hands, while Fallon's jacket looks equally impressive in medium shots. The transfer is stable to boot, never looking overly smeary or smooth despite the digital shoot. Luckily, the video remains stable even in lower-light scenes, though textures are perhaps not as strong in certain shots. The presentation is even able to resolve a fine layer of source noise, which is more apparent in some scenes than others. Of course a 4K presentation could potentially look even better, but the potential upgrade wouldn't be major. Sharpness, meanwhile, is terrific. No matter the lighting conditions, the video looks razor-sharp - even in medium shots, you can still make out every individual hair making up Park's moustache, while Adkins' stubble is equally well-resolved. I never felt underwhelmed in terms of textures or sharpness; this disc is borderline demo material.

†††† The encode thankfully never falls victim to any compression artefacts. Owing to the high bitrate and competent encoding, there are no traces of aliasing, macroblocking or even banding - it's smooth sailing across the board. I did notice slight instances of juddering during pans or tilts, but that's about it. The only real drawback of the presentation is the colours. As ever, it's hard to overlook the inherent shortcomings of 1080p when 4K Ultra HD is a thing. The palette here is surely true to the intentions of the filmmakers, but it looks drab for the most part, in need of more "pop" that could be possible with a High Dynamic Range grade coupled with Wide Colour Gamut. Particularly in scenes under lower light, the movie looks dull as all hell. In addition, certain shots do look rough throughout - for instance, second unit footage of Fallon on his motorcycle looks like so-so action camera footage, and is therefore noticeably soft and unrefined compared to the Arri Alexa footage, but this traces back to the source. It is a bit disappointing that Sony did not opt for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Accident Man given that a HDR grade could make the movie genuinely sparkle, but this Blu-ray's presentation is so razor-sharp and bursting with textures that I cannot complain too much. This one looks great.

†††† Sony have included a whole buffet of subtitle options in many different languages. The English track is, of course, perfectly well-formatted and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† Accident Man comes to Blu-ray with a pristine, lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that shouldn't leave anybody disappointed. It's clear that this disc was also intended for European distribution, as there are additional lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks in French and German, while lossy Dolby Digital options are included in Hungarian and Polish. I concentrated on the primary English track for the purposes of this review, and it's a winner. Although not as layered or as rich as an object-based mix might be for a major blockbuster, the broad strokes of the track are excellent - dialogue is consistently easy to comprehend, the subwoofer comes alive during the action sequences, and there are no encoding anomalies like sync problems or drop-outs.

†††† Whenever the characters throw down, subwoofer activity accentuates every punch, kick, and body fall. Gunshots are sharp and loud, too - when Mac and Mick unload with machine guns as they try to take out Fallon, the ensuing mayhem is deafening and all-encompassing, with sounds of bullet hits filling the rear channels. Meanwhile, both the competent original score by Sean Murray as well as the songs throughout come through all available channels with crisp precision, never sounding muffled or held back in any way. The only shortcomings of the track are presumably source-related - environmental atmospherics are kept to a minimum, and therefore certain scenes sound a bit underwhelming. This aside, I have no real complaints about Accident Man's lossless 5.1 mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

†††† Not much. There's a feature-length audio commentary and barely ten minutes of video extras. I wish there was a whole lot more.

Commentary with Scott Adkins & Stu Small

†††† Co-writers Adkins and Small sit down for a commentary track, though they are not in the same room together - Adkins recorded from England, while Small was in Vancouver. Bouncing off of each other, this is an insightful track about the process of creating Accident Man - topics include the director, Adkins' James Bond suit at the beginning, adapting the comics, the limited 24-day shoot, the actors (Adkins was involved in the casting process), the "Englishness" of the material, the music, use of CGI, and much more. It's even revealed that the fifteen-minute sequence concentrating on young Mike Fallon was to allow Adkins to focus on the Mike/Mick/Mac fight scene in the dojo, and they actually had too much time as a result. Plenty of other production anecdotes are provided throughout, from improvisation to things being changed on the fly, and making the most of the available budget. In the absence of a beefy documentary, this is a good listen.

Assassin's Roll Call (HD; 5:51)

†††† This brief featurette runs through the assassins seen in the movie, featuring interviews with cast and crew. The focus is more on the characters than the actors themselves, which makes some of the material feel a bit superfluous, but it's nice to see the on-set footage.

Violent Ballet: Filming the Fight (HD; 4:23)

†††† Despite singular use of the word "fight" in the title, this featurette runs through the process of creating a number of fights seen in the movie, showing previz material as well as rehearsals and behind-the-scenes footage.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † As far as I can tell, supplemental material is identical worldwide. Releases only differ in terms of language options.

Summary

†††† One of the better and more flavoursome direct-to-video action movies in some time, Accident Man should satisfy its niche audience of old-school action enthusiasts. It's funny, action-packed, and well-made despite its meagre budget. Universal Sony's Blu-ray, meanwhile, is a winner for the most part. The technical presentation is excellent, with top-notch video and beautifully crisp audio. Although the special features are in short supply, this disc nevertheless comes recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, March 02, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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