Honest Movie Review of Legacy of Lies
When it comes to low-budget action thrillers, acting talent is largely irrelevant: what makes the difference is a script that is smart enough to play to its cast’s strengths. Instead, Legacy of Lies prefers to fill its running time with sappy father-daughter bonding scenes.
Scott Adkins, the main man of action, is back with another film. Adkins has established himself as a dominant force in the DTV action genre in recent years, thanks to a prolific output. The films may not have the big budgets of Marvel blockbusters, but Adkins consistently delivers bang for buck, and he does so with a consistent special effect…himself.
When a Marvel hero beats up a slew of enemy soldiers with the help of CGI, stunt doubles, and wires, a number of factors come together to create the illusion of badassery. When Adkins appears on screen, he delivers. He’s the real deal, just like the action heroes of yesteryear, and he’s kicking it (delightfully) old school.
Martin Baxter (Scott Adkins, The Expendables 2) is a former MI6 operative who quit 12 years ago after a mission in Kiev went horribly, mysteriously wrong. Now he’s a single dad to an annoyingly precocious 12-year-old (Honor Kneafsey) and makes ends meet as a nightclub doorman with a side of cage fighting.
A multidimensional character, albeit one with only one dimension of interest: a ‘roid-rage bouncer who unnecessarily escalates every situation to violence, has the advantage of being both within Adkins’ dramatic skill set and conducive to action thrills. What about the rest? Not at all.
Legacy of Lies, Adrian Bol’s thriller, is a mash-up of the Bourne series and Taken, albeit on a much simpler and smaller scale. The film is not an easy watch, with an abundance of fight scenes and little substance to carry the narrative forward. There is a lot of exposition and not much “show,” resulting in a stale script.
Adkins has an interesting relationship with his daughter Lisa (Honor Kneafsey), a precocious twelve-year-old who is obsessed with school, dieting, and money, but that is the extent of the story’s excitement – aside from the engaging father-daughter relationship, the storey loses its mojo.
Adkins takes a break from his creative collaboration with director Jesse V Johnson in Legacy of Lies. They’ve made some great action movies together, and that brings a sense of security. The presence of writer/director Adrian Bol brings a sense of mystery to Legacy of Lies.
Adkins plays an ex-MI6 agent who is haunted by the death of his wife during a botched mission. In the present, he is a single father with a precocious 12-year-old daughter. He brings his daughter to his underground MMA fights while ignoring her tactical advice on how to win. He also takes her shooting practise to abandoned warehouses.
They lead a nomadic existence, always attempting to stay one step ahead of the past. However, Adkins’ old MI6 colleagues, the daughter of an old Ukrainian colleague, and a nefarious Russian woman put pressure on him to find a file deemed lost from his previous mission.
Overall, the film never quite wants to be a brooding Euro thriller, instead relying on straight-up action beats (though they do become welcome). The plot is straightforward, with a good old-fashioned McGuffin among the usual suspects in an espionage thriller.
In fact, the genre appears to be out of favour, which is unfortunate. As such, while it didn’t quite hit some of Melville’s marks, it was still a welcome paddle in those waters, and it’s almost become a straight to video enterprise for this genre in general.