With his first appearance as Yuri Boyka in 2006’s “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing”, Scott Adkins astonished action aficionados in a way not seen since Tony Jaa‘s gravity-defying debut in “Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior“. Since then, Scott has not only returned to the role of The Most Complete Fighter in the World twice, but he’s continued to consistently thrill at every turn throughout his career. Whether he’s adopting the sword and garb of a shadowy ninja, laying traps as a stealthy assassin specializing in “accidents”, flipping and spinning amid an ensemble of his fellow action stars, or battling the Sorcerer Supreme as a disembodied ghost, Scott Adkins has left a massive and unforgettable impact on martial arts films that will undoubtedly continue to be felt for decades.
Naturally, having completed so many exciting, action-packed movies throughout the course of his career, it only stands to reason that Scott has busily honed his craft in order to up the ante, put everything on the table and essentially outdo himself with each project. This has resulted in some of the most incredible martial arts action sequences of the 21st century – and that can only mean one thing readers: it’s time for another KFK countdown so get chanting BOY-KA! BOY-KA! like you mean it as we rundown (in descending order) the Top 10 Scott Adkins Movie Fights!
- Hallway fight — Close Range (2015)
- Ghost fight — Doctor Strange (2016)
- Bar fight — Avengement (2019)
- Mike Fallon vs Jane the Ripper — Accident Man (2018)
- Sports store fight — Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)
- Boyka’s debut — Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006)
- Boyka vs Igor Kazmir — Boyka: Undisputed 4 (2016)
- Casey vs Myat — Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear (2013)
- Collins vs Payu & Jaka — Triple Threat (2019)
Fight sequences captured in a single unbroken shot were certainly not unheard of before 2015. However, for action fanatics, it remains a year we’ll always remember as the one where single-take fights really broke out. The first season of “Daredevil” kicked the craze off with its legendary hallway smackdown, and Ryan Coogler’s spin-off of the “Rocky” franchise, “Creed” kept it going with Donnie’s first fight as a pro. Not to be outdone, Scott Adkins and Isaac Florentine jumped right aboard that hype train with the opening set piece of “Close Range”. Here our grizzled anti-hero Colt MacReady wages a one-man war against some less than fortunate henchmen in his bid to rescue his kidnapped niece Hailey, played by Madison Lawlor.
Fitting for the title of the film, the flashier techniques Scott is known for are kept to a minimum, with everything playing out as a pitched battle of knives, sweeps, and Judo throws all at, well, Close Range. The trend of the one-shot fight sequence would only gain more steam from here on, with 2018’s “Kickboxer: Retaliation”, the Knightmare sequence in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, the opening battle of “The Revenant”, and the subsequent second and third seasons of “Daredevil” all jumping in on the action. However, 2015 was the year where it really became the next big craze in action filmmaking, and “Close Range” earns a place of honor among the annals of fight films that made that happen!
2016’s “Doctor Strange” represents a little bit of film history, in that it has what is very likely the first ever big-screen martial arts battle between two astral-projecting opponents. Neurosurgeon turned sorcerer Doctor Steven Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is still getting used to his newfound metaphysical abilities, but he’ll need to rally everything he’s got when the vicious zealot Lucian, played by Scott Adkins, is hot on his trail. When each combatant leaps out of his body, it’s literally a battle of two ghosts, and was that something any of us had EVER seen before? With the advances in visual effects and performance capture, makers of fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero movies are able to have their cake and eat it too in a way that wasn’t possible before. We may be seeing two CGI ghosts punching each other through walls and vending machines, but there’s a sense of reality to it with the knowledge that the performers involved are still carrying out everything on screen. We’ve certainly seen Scott Adkins do gravity-defying aerial kicks before, but never in the form of an astral projecting spirit. Way to deliver the goods, Sorcerer Supreme!
Scott Adkins has played villains and heroes alike throughout the course of his career, but with “Avengement”, we see him tackle the role of a guy whose got one foot on both ends of the spectrum. After being falsely railroaded into prison, Cain Burgess is forced to transform himself into a wild animal to survive the constant onslaught of violence from his fellow inmates. When he finally escapes, revenge is the only thing he has on his mind, and he plans to make dead certain the ones who helped put him behind bars know the kind of suffering he’s endured, holding them at gunpoint in a local pub and regaling them with his story until the big boss arrives. With the pub being the framing device for the flashbacks to Cain’s story, there’s never any doubt that we’re building up to the inevitable moment where all hell breaks loose. After holding his captives hostage for this long, with this much bottled-up rage from his time in prison, unleashing this proverbial bull-in-a-china-shop proves brutally catastrophic.
With “Avengement” just rolling out now, it’d be an immense disservice to say anything more revealing, but make no mistake – when it comes to bar fights, the finale of “Avengment” is already an all-time classic!
The golden age of comic book movies has given way to some unforgettable entries in the genre, and 2018’s “Accident Man” is just the latest to make the case that they need not stay strictly in the PG-13 lane. Based on Pat Mills and Tony Skinner’s eponymous title featured in the now defunct British comic title “Toxic!”, “Accident Man” follows Mike Fallon, an assassin specializing in making hits look like horrible accidents, on his quest to track down his ex-girlfriend’s killers. His vendetta ultimately brings him face to face with Jane the Ripper, played by Amy Johnston, so named for an especially gruesome means of finishing off her victims that she’s known to employ. “Accident Man” had long been Scott’s pet project, one for which he went as far as to serve as producer and co-writer alongside Stu Small, and if you’re ready to see a little darker humor sprinkled into comic book movies, the film is a hellacious black comedy from beginning to end. You may still be cheering for a bad guy in Mike Fallon, but he’s not without his redeeming qualities, and Amy Johnston truly relishes playing a villainess as vicious as Jane the Ripper. The world of assassins is also a very egalitarian one, so there are no qualms to be had about Mike facing off with a woman, especially considering the fate her male opponents are known to meet at her hands. Comic book movies are getting more and more willing to wear a hard-R rating as a badge of honor, and as that trend continues to unfold, “Accident Man” stands out as a four star general. Be sure to also check out KFK’s interview with Scott Adkinsabout “Accident Man”!
If there’s one thing that Scott Adkins can brag about, it’s the fact that for the majority of his films, pinning the single greatest action sequence is considerably more difficult than is often the case elsewhere. That’s certainly true for 2012’s “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning”, in which Scott goes head to head with the two original UniSols, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, within minutes of each other – and in the same year that all three were seen in “The Expendables 2”, no less. However, the crowning achievement of action in “Day of Reckoning” remains the knockdown, drag out fight between our hero, John, and his pursuing enemy Magnus, played by MMAfighter Andrei Arlovski. Following a harrowing car chase, both fighters literally smash into the sporting goods store and leave it looking like a train wreck by the end, and what makes it particularly sweet is the fact that, per the film’s reality-warping plot line, our hero only discovers the extent of his strength and fighting skills here. If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a bowling ball looks like, you get your answer when John literally smashes one to dust with his fist, and that’s swiftly followed up with both combatants clanging aluminum baseball bats with each other like two medieval knights. While the finishing blow is a little more censored in the domestic version of the film, it’s showcased in all its “Mortal Kombat”-worthy glory in the international release, and that’s exactly what you see above. The “Universal Soldier” series truly reached its apex with its straight-to-DVD entries, and “Day of Reckoning” is home to some of the best action scenes the series has ever produced, with its sporting goods store brawl being an all-time hall of famer. Be sure to also check out KFK’s in-depth interview with the film’s fight coordinator Larnell Stovall!
From the moment “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing” kicked off, its opening minutes became an immediate historical relic as the moment when we were first introduced to Yuri Boyka. Assuming what would become his signature role, a then-unknown Scott Adkins literally somersaults into the ring to leave our collective expectations in the dust in the film’s opening MMA smackdown with Silvio Simac. It’s impossible to overstate just much said expectations were completely and utterly vaporized within the first ten minutes of “Undisputed 2”. This was a straight-to-DVD sequel to a boxing movie from 2002 that didn’t even leave that much of an impact, being helmed by a former “Power Rangers” director, and starring a British martial artist that nobody had seen before. And yet, it ran circles around the big-screen competition and became an immediate cult classic. On top of that, the film pulls off a very unexpected bait-and-switch right off the bat. Even though Boyka’s technically the villain, the fight is intercut with our reintroduction to the previous film’s antagonist, George “Iceman” Chambers, played by Michael Jai White, as he abuses his management team and generally acts like an obnoxious, self-absorbed jerk to everyone around him. Between that and Boyka’s breathtaking fighting prowess and iron-clad warrior mindset, the film sets us up to root for the bad guy from the start. Boyka would, of course, shift from villain to anti-hero and go on to become the focal point of the series as the series progressed, but for millions of fanatical action junkies we will always cherish the opening of “Undisputed 2” as the moment when the world first met The Most Complete Fighter in the World.
When we first met Yuri Boyka in “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing”, he was fighting purely for his own glory. When he returned in “Undisputed 3: Redemption”, it was to reclaim the honor he’d lost by his earlier hubris. However, in “Boyka: Undisputed 4”, The Most Complete Fighter in the World evolves for his first truly selfless battle. After inadvertently killing an opponent in the ring, Boyka enters an MMA tournament to free the fighter’s widow from the grip of a Russian crime boss to whom she is now seriously in debt. Naturally, one of Boyka’s opponents, Igor Kazmir, played by Brahim Achabbakhe, is one of the gangster’s lackeys, and would like nothing more than to beat him within an inch of his life (though he states his desire in far more acidic terminology). The whole “Undisputed” series has shown Boyka’s growth from a determined antagonist to a more altruistic anti-hero, and while he’s never truly been a villain, “Undisputed 4” is where we begin to see that he carries some remorse for his past actions. He still sees himself as The Most Complete Fighter in the World, because it’s a title he had to earn last time, but for the first time, we’re now cheering for Boyka as The Most Heroic Fighter in the World as he wages war in the ring to free the woman whom he’s unintentionally sent into a life of indentured servitude.
Make no mistake however, Boyka still relishes a good fight, and this is the one where he’s genuinely looking forward to defeating his antagonistic enemy. Suffice to say, he doesn’t let us down, and you’ll feel pretty compelled to chant “Boy-ka! Boy-ka! Boy-ka!” before the fight is even half over! Be sure to also check out KFK’s interview with Brahim Achabbakhe where he shares a look behind the scenes on shooting his fight scene with Scott Adkins in the film!
The sequel to 2009’s “Ninja”, 2013’s “Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear” turns up the heat tenfold and brings our hero Casey Bowman, played by Scott Adkins, to his knees following the murder of his pregnant wife. This sets the usually straight-laced Ninjutsumaster down a dark path that takes him all the way into the jungles of Burma, where he dons his black ninja garb once again on his quest for revenge. The tiny henchman Myat, played by the film’s fight choreographer Tim Man, proves to be a much bigger obstacle than Casey anticipated, with his speed and agility more than a match for those of our hero. Casey is probably the most straight arrow Scott Adkins has ever played, but “Ninja II” puts him in a dark mindset and unleashes the sleeping beast within him. The fire engulfing the compound lends an atmospheric quality to Casey’s battle with Myat, as if he has to literally descend into hell itself to get his vengeance (especially in regards to the film’s twist ending). Tim Man is also usually either behind the camera or lending his talents as stuntman, so its a rarity indeed to get to see him showcase his incredible skills this prominently. Whether it’s the 80’s ninja craze or modern ninja movies we’re talking about, “Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear” ,is an all-time great within the genre, and Casey’s literally blazing showdown with Myat, one of the most unforgettable ninja battles ever put to film. Be sure to check out KFK’s interviews with Tim Manand Scott Adkins on their work on “Ninja II”, along with our interview with the film’s director, Isaac Florentine!
The most anticipated martial arts action movie of 2019, “Triple Threat”, finally arrived in March, and to say it didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. Bringing together a motley crew of some of the most hard-hitting warriors in the business, “Triple Threat” positioned itself as an Asian-led take on “The Expendables”, and given Scott Adkins’s memorable appearance opposite Jason Statham in “The Expendables 2”, he was as perfect a choice as any for the film’s nefarious arch-villain, Collins. And talk about a bad guy who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Collins will stop at nothing to collect the bounty on the head of Xian, played by Celina Jade, but that’s not going to happen if Payu played by Tony Jaa, has anything to say about it, with a little help from his new ally Jaka, played by Iko Uwais. Coming at the tail end of what was already one hell of a glorious finish for “Triple Threat”, the home stretch of the finale is completely off the charts, with Scott channeling his innate talent for villain roles with a blend of potty-mouthed one-liners and one moment of instant-replay physicality after another. Just taken in isolation, Collins’ smackdown with Payu and Jaka would’ve been a more than satisfying conclusion to “Triple Threat” but the fact that it caps off a finale this grand makes it that much more of a home run for everyone involved!
…and in at #1 is…
Boyka vs Dolor — Undisputed 3: Redemption (2010)
Oh, boy, here’s a tough one for any fan of the “Undisputed” franchise – how, exactly, do you pin down the finest hour of The Most Complete Fighter in the World? From the moment we met him in the opening reel of “Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing”, Yuri Boyka has been Scott Adkins’ most iconic role, and one where every last moment he’s on-screen portrays a powerful a presence. In the end, however, Boyka’s final duel with the slimy Colombian ex-smuggler Raul “Dolor the pain” Quinones, played by superb action ace Marko Zaror, is Boyka’s most impressive battle.
Boyka’s defeat at the hands of George “Iceman” Chambers, his only known loss, at the end of “Undisputed 2” left him with a serious knee injury that he’d had to work tirelessly to overcome, and that he’d spent all of “Undisputed 3” avoiding, with a few close calls. The merciless Dolor knows exactly how to exploit Boyka’s weakness, and puts him through a searing level of pain he’d never known. However, you can’t keep an indomitable spirit like Boyka down, and Dolor discovers the hard way just what kind of pain Boyka has had to work around. The final showdown of “Undisputed 3” is a simply breathtaking exchange of martial arts mayhem between its two combatants, but it’s also the point in the series where even the viewers can’t help but pump their fists in the air and chant (you know what) as Boyka overcomes his crippling injury plus the sleazy taunting of his opponent. With “Undisputed 3”, Boyka fully took center stage in the “Undisputed” franchise, and after his titanic battle, finally beating Dolor, it’s crystal clear he’s on that throne to stay!
So there we have it folks, KFK’s Top 10 Scott Adkins Movie Fights. Which of the above did you enjoy the most? What fight movie challenge do you think would push Scott to the next level? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.
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