Review: DEBT COLLECTORS, Lively Bashing and Manly Bantering, Mostly

Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor star in the action picture, directed by Jesse V. Johnson.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Review: DEBT COLLECTORS, Lively Bashing and Manly Bantering, Mostly

A sequel doesn't always require knowledge of its predecessor.

Debt Collectors
The film will be available to watch on various Video On Demand platforms via Samuel Goldwyn Films on Friday, May 29, 2020.

French and Sue are good buddies, in the classic '80s action-movie' definition of such a relationship: manly men who share a violent past, a tumultuous present, and an uncertain future.

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson, Debt Collectors (2020) is a direct sequel to The Debt Collector (2018) and features the same lead performers, Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor, in the same roles as French and Sue, respectively, manly men who have shared past, action-filled traumas, and are still standing.

French is introduced at his new job as a bouncer at a bar, where he can't even finish eating breakfast before an unhealthy group of grouchy, day-drinking men pick a fight with him and cause him to lose his job. As it happens (?!), Sue has sauntered into the bar moments before and, after the fracas concludes, promptly offers French a job.

Director Johnson and cowriter Stu Small structure the film around the three big debts that French and Sue must collect within a brief period of time. The first debt requires a long drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, giving French and Sue ample opportunity to banter and bicker, as well as wonder why two mysterious men in another vehicle are shadowing their every move.

Veteran stunt performer and coordinator Jesse Johnson has now helmed a wealth of action movies, many featuring Scott Adkins, and is skilled at staging the fight sequences so that it's always clear that Adkins and his fellow combatants are truly in the fight, as it were. In Debt Collectors, the fights, other action scenes, and comic banter are occasionally interspersed with dramatic moments that are surprisingly touching for their tenderness.

Of course, the manly men mainly fight and act tough and talk tough and bash heads and break bones and spurt blood, which is what most debt collectors do in the movies, anyway. On that score, Debt Collectors succeeds in showcasing the many talents of Scott Adkins, perhaps cinema's greatest current action star. I have no doubt that Adkins could kick the behind out of every superhero in existence.

Still, Adkins is also more than capable of handling the comic and dramatic requirements of his character. Mandylor, too, supplies his share of comic and dramatic chemistry, suggesting greater depths to his character than might be imagined.

Mostly, the movie is fun and games of the violent kind. The stakes grow darker, though, as the story enters the third act. Unfortunately, for my admittedly personal taste, director Johnson engineers events so that they descend into the lower levels of savage ferocity.

It's difficult to see how a prolonged sequence revolving around brutal torture is absolutely necessary, per se, to the plot, but this is an action fantasy, after all, and your mileage may vary. Until then, Debt Collectors is an old-school action flick with plenty of bashing and brotherhood.

For more information about the film, visit the official site.

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Jesse V JohnsonLouis MandylorSamuel Goldwyn FilmsScott AdkinsUS

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