|Directed by||Jesse V. Johnson|
|Produced by||Ehud Bleiberg|
|Written by||Jesse V. Johnson|
|Music by||Sean Murray|
|Edited by||Matthew Lorentz|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
Avengement is a 2019 British action film directed by Jesse V. Johnson, starring Scott Adkins, Craig Fairbrass, and Thomas Turgoose. The film follows Cain Burgess, a prisoner who escapes police custody after his mother's death and visits a private bar, holding its members hostage as he starts revealing his past and what led to him becoming a violent fighter.
Avengement was released on 24 May 2019 on VOD and in selected theatres. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who highlighted the action sequences and Adkins' performance. In 2020, a special edition was released, containing an uncut version of the film.
Prisoner Cain Burgess is being escorted by police to a hospital where he learns of his mother's death. After seeing her corpse, he fights off the cops and escapes their custody. He then visits a private bar, entering it after attacking the bouncers. While having his drink, he overhears one of the patrons named Tune describe how an unknown assailant killed a fellow gangster named Rook. Cain intervenes with his laughter, only to invite the wrath of Tune, his fellow patrons and Bez, the bartender. Claiming himself to be a friend of Lincoln, the owner of the bar, he tells everyone he'd walk away after finishing his drink, but gets into a brawl, acquires a double-barreled shotgun and holds everyone hostage. Soon, Lincoln's lieutenant Hyde arrives, recognizes Cain as Lincoln's brother and is also held hostage. One of the patrons trying to intervene is shot in the kneecap by Cain, who blames Hyde and Lincoln for his condition. Cain then starts narrating what caused him to become a violent fighter in prison.
It is revealed that Cain used to be a skilled but quick-tempered martial artist who caused Lincoln, a loan shark, and several gangsters to lose substantial amounts of money every time he wins. Seeking to invest in a legitimate business, Cain comes to Lincoln for financial help, and is pulled into the world of crime when he is asked to rob a mark who has retrieved a package from one of Lincoln's gangsters, in exchange for money. Cain succeeds in stealing the package from a middle-aged woman who pursues him and gets killed in an accident during the chase. Cain is arrested and charged with manslaughter. Detective O'Hara explains that Lincoln's scam baits marks into acting as a bagman to forgive their debts. Lincoln arranges for someone to steal the bag, causing the mark to owe Lincoln even more money than before. When Cain refuses to cooperate with the police, a corrupt cop, Sgt. Evans, beats him up. Despite his clean record, Cain is sentenced to England's most violent prison where he gets into several fights and sustains severe injuries to his teeth and face. Despite fighting in self-defense, his sentence is repeatedly extended and this prompts him to become a cold-blooded killer in order to survive. After several years, one of his attackers reveal Lincoln has put a large bounty on his head. O'Hara, who has since learned about the bounty, once again asks Cain to give up his brother. Cain agrees on the condition that he be allowed to visit his dying mother at a hospital. They are too late, and Cain misses his chance but escapes custody after violently beating the police officers who delayed his visit.
By night, Lincoln arrives and is similarly threatened by Cain. Lincoln appeals to Cain's better nature, not realizing the changes he has been forced to undergo. Hyde mocks Cain and insults the people they conned. Enraged at his flippant attitude at destroying so many lives, including his own, Cain shoots and kills Hyde in front of the others. Realizing that Cain has changed, Lincoln drops his pretenses and admits to ordering a hit. Cain angrily says that he never spoke to the police and that Sgt. Evans admitted to spreading the false rumor before Cain killed him. Although surprised at the viciousness of Cain's vengeance, Lincoln says he never even cared whether it was true; the real reason he ordered the hit on Cain was because he lost respect either way from just the rumor, which Lincoln couldn't abide. After proving that he has emptied Lincoln's bank account, Cain announces that he will now kill Lincoln, and offers to let everyone else leave. Tune leaves, but returned with an automatic assault weapon planning to ambush Cain before being quickly subdued by him. The rest are killed in the ensuing fight. Lincoln vows to recover, and, with all the guns emptied, attacks Cain with a knife. Cain eventually overpowers and stabs his brother, killing Lincoln. He then morbidly leaves Bez behind, and stumbles out of the bar before collapsing on a nearby bench. In his office, Detective O'Hara discovers that Lincoln's bank account has been divided amongst his victims by Cain.
- Scott Adkins as Cain Burgess
- Craig Fairbrass as Lincoln Burgess
- Thomas Turgoose as Tune
- Nick Moran as Hyde
- Kierston Wareing as Bez
- Mark Strange as Clif
- Leo Gregory as Mo
- Luke Lafontaine as Chas
- Ross O'Hennessy as Sgt. Evans
- Beau Fowler as Vern
- Dan Styles as Newbold
- Christopher Sciueref as Yeates
- Matt Routledge as Orderly
- Jane Thorne as Mrs. Burgess
- Louis Mandylor as Detective O'Hara
- Terence Maynard as Stokes
- Daniel Adegboyega as Rook
Avengement is the sixth collaboration between director Jesse V. Johnson and Scott Adkins. Johnson's script was inspired by a 1962 samurai film called Harakiri by director Masaki Kobayashi. Adkins had been looking for a film project based in the United Kingdom and Johnson selected Avengement, one of his older scripts. Stu Small was brought in to rewrite the dialogue and tailor it to Adkins. Stu extensively rewrote the script, and updated older parts of the script. Shortly before filming began Johnson watched a documentary on crime in the UK and used it to add true crime elements to the story.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 84% based on reviews from 19 critics, with an average rating of 6.50/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Avengement compensates for a lack of narrative originality with thrilling sequences of violent, bone-crunching action, elevated by Scott Adkins' brutally intense performance." On Metacritic the film has a score of 63% based on reviews from 5 critics.
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Director Jesse V. Johnson sprinkles in enough cruel twists of fate and melancholy-laced flashbacks to prevent Avengement from becoming just another disposable exercise in action sadism on a budget. The real credit, though, goes to Adkins, who one of these days will hopefully get called up to the Hollywood big leagues and wind up surprising a lot of people — and grin while he’s doing it."  Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Avengement features a good balance of colorfully profane British gangster-speak and intense, explicitly gory punch-outs." Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Portraying his most complex character to date, Adkins delivers a ferocious turn that proves visceral in its emotional as well as physical intensity."
- "Avengement". British Board of Film Classification.
- "Avengement". firstshowing. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Avengement (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
- "Scott Adkins Unveils Avengement Special Edition". The Action Elite.
- Vo, David (June 14, 2018). "Director JESSE V. JOHNSON & SCOTT ADKINS Teams-Up Once Again For AVENGEMENT. UPDATE: Trailer". Martial Arts Action Cinema (M.A.A.C.). Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
- Matthew Essary (June 3, 2019). "JESSE V. JOHNSON INTERVIEW ON AVENGEMENT". TheActionElite.com. Archived from the original on July 5, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
- Benardello, Karen (24 May 2019). "Interview: Jesse V. Johnson Talks Avengement (Exclusive)". Shockya.com.
- "Avengement". Metacritic. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
- Chris Nashawaty (24 May 2019). "Scott Adkins bruises his knuckles in the gritty action flick 'Avengement': EW review". EW.com.
- Noel Murray (24 May 2019). "Reviews: Scott Adkins' career-best 'Avengement'; 'The Poison Rose' and more". Los Angeles Times.
- Frank Scheck (23 May 2019). "'Avengement': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.