One of the most impressive thing about Marvel's Dr. Strange is the cast they were able to assemble. From Academy Award-nominated stars like Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor to famed character actors like Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen, the supernatural superhero has a cast most Oscar-bait films would be jealous of. It is easy to forget they also have one of the most overlooked action stars of the past decade in their cast: Scott Adkins.
Over the past decade he has become one of the more recognizable names on the direct to video circuit. First doing extra work on UK television, Adkins would make his big-screen debut in the Jackie Chan film The Accidental Spy. Since then he has gone from a generic henchman to the main lead, working with action legends like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham and Jet Li. With his first appearance in a proper Marvel movie approaching (let’s all forget X-Men Origins: Wolverine ever happened) lets take a look at nine of his best action scenes.
1. The Tournament — The Fall Of Yuri Petrov
2009's The Tournament has a perfect example of a Scott Adkins bad guy action scene. A spin-off of the Deadliest Game template, it features Adkins as ruthless assassin Yuri Petrov. Up against Lai Lai Zhen (Kelly Hu) this church fight does a great job mixing gunplay, martial arts and even explosions. Choreographed by J.J. Perry, he and Adkins do a great job elevating what should be a typical fight scene.
2. Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing — Scott Adkins Versus Michael Jai White
If one had to pinpoint Adkins's star-making performance it would have to be Undisputed 2. A sequel to box office bomb Undisputed, it stars Michael Jai White as boxer George "Iceman" Chambers (Ving Rhames in the original). As good as White is, it is Adkins as Yuri Boyka that steals the spotlight thanks to his impressive martial arts skills. Moving beyond the boxing of the first film, Undisputed 2 used mixed martial arts as an inspiration this time around. Each fight does a great job showcasing boxing, kickboxing, and grappling while also serving the story. By the final fight it all comes together to make one of the best MMA fights in film. It is easy to see why Adkins would team with director Isaac Florentine again to make movies about Boyka.
3. Undisputed 3: Redemption — The Most Complete Fighter
Adkins would return to the role of Boyka in Undisputed 3. Humbled by his loss in the last film, he enters an inter-prison fighting tournament for early release. Facing favorite Dolor, the two go at it with an impressive kickboxing display. Like Chambers in the last film, we witness Boyka adapt his fighting style, bringing in elements of wrestling and ground striking. Going nearly 10 minutes, Dolor vs. Boyka is the kind of fight a lot of MMA movies wish they could have.
4. Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning — Adkins Versus Arlovski
The Universal Soldier series has always been considered cinematic cheese. It wasn't taken seriously by action fans until 2009's Universal Soldier: Resurgence and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, which starred Scott Adkins. One of the best scenes pits Adkins against former UFC champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski. Set in a sporting goods store, the two go hard as they unleash a barrage of strikes on each other before a baseball bat is brought in for its bloody finale. Focusing more on brutality than technique, it is the kind of fight we don't get in movies anymore.
5. Ninja — Adkins's One-Versus-All Scene
Adkins reunited with Undisputed 2 and 3 director Isaac Florentine to do a modern take on the ninja subgenre. Searching for girlfriend Namiko, Adkins is confronted by robed criminal cult, The Temple. You quickly forget how cheesy that sounds as soon as the action starts. Using a mix of athleticism and traditional martial arts like ninjitsu and judo, he tears through these henchmen like they're made of paper. It's an incredible display of martial arts expertise — almost as impressive is how well it's shot. The whole fight sequence shot at angles that captures every move without you feeling like something was missed. Clearly a take on the Bruce Lee/Jet Li "One vs All" scene, it's a welcome addition to the long-running kung fu movie tradition.
6. Métal Hurlant Chronicles — Scott Adkins Versus Michael Jai White II
I actually stumbled upon this looking for another fight clip on YouTube and am absolutely fascinated by it. Apparently it is a French show based on the magazine Heavy Metal. Pitting Adkins against Michel Jai White again, the two spar using a mix of martial arts and swordplay. While I am not quite sure why they are fighting (nor the context) it is a fun follow-up to their first fight. Plus, who can possible hate a random sword fight?
7. The Expendables 2 — Statham Versus Adkins
In possibly his biggest movie, Adkins had a dream match against fellow Englishman Jason Statham. Next to an airplane, Adkins and Statham come armed with a blade and brass knuckles, respectively. Similar in styles, they work great together on screen. While not the longest fight, the two get a chance to show off their impressive skills and by the end you're begging for the two to do another movie together.
8. Wolf Warriors — Battle For China
While starring two skilled martial artists, Wolf Warriors is more of a war movie than martial arts. Thankfully, this is rectified when Adkins faces off with Chinese star Wu Jing. Set against the forest areas of China, it offers a setting rarely seen in action movies. Each wielding knives, the two are lightning quick as they trade kicks and knife cuts in this fight between these two underrated action stars.
9. Close Range — Fight To The Top
Scott Adkins has worked with director Isaac Florentine several times and has delivered action movie gold each time. While each movie is a blast, their latest collaboration may have their best action scene yet. Done in one long shot, Adkins tears though members of a drug cartel to save his niece. Without a single wasted movement, he uses a mix of striking, grappling and even a blade to take out each of these henchmen. It's the perfect start to this high-octane movie.
Adkins And Doctor Strange
As I said at the beginning, Doctor Strange looks to have a stellar cast. No doubt that the cast has great actors from top to bottom. Let’s just hope they realize how great Scott Adkins is and he gets a chance to shine.
What are your favorite fight scenes? Who do you think is an underrated action star? Let me know in the comments.