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Review: Legacy of Lies (2020)

There really seems to be two Scott Adkins. There’s the one who works with top-level action directors like Jesse V. Johnson and Isaac Florentine. The result is films like Avengement and Ninja: Shadow of a Tear. Then there’s the one who seems compelled to do any film that offers him a paycheck. Even if it means doing a film like Incoming. So when I saw that his latest film Legacy of Lies was written and directed by somebody I’d never heard of, Adrian Bol, I was concerned. A cast full of unfamiliar names and an incredibly generic, low energy trailer didn’t help either. I hit play and hoped for the best.

MI6 agent Martin Baxter (Scott Adkins) is in Kiev to retrieve some unspecified Russian documents. The Russians get tipped off, the mission fails badly, and his wife is one of the casualties. Twelve years later, he and his daughter Lisa (Honor Kneafsey, Crooked House) live off the grid. He makes a living as a bouncer and competing in underground fights. She’s never attended school but can do excellent fight analysis for her dad.

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But when Sacha (Yuliia Sobol) a journalist whose father was killed for that same information accidentally blows his cover, all hell breaks loose. The Russians have Tatyana (Anna Butkevich), who looks like a cross between Madonna and androgynous era Marilyn Manson, kidnap Lisa. That leaves Martin no choice but to team up with Sacha. While taking on the Russians, MI6 and the CIA to get his daughter back.

If the plot sounds like any of a dozen generic DTV action films that went directly from filming in Eastern Europe to the shelves of your local Walmart, it’s because that’s what this is. Granted, Adkins puts more effort into his performance than Bruce Willis. And he’s a better actor and in better shape than Steven Segal. But Legacy of Lies could have as easily starred either of them. Or whatever wrestler or MMA star they’re pushing at the moment for that matter.

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Adkins brought fight choreographer Tim Man (Triple Threat, I Am Vengeance: Retaliation) along with him, so Legacy of Lies has a couple of excellent fights. Martin’s brawl with MI6 agent Edwards (Leon Sua, The Host, 90 Minutes) is a particular standout. Unfortunately, the fight scenes are few and far between. Most of what action there is in Legacy of Lies is chases and gunfights. Neither of which are more than adequately done at best. The final showdown is particularly uninspired and lifeless.

Actually, “adequately done” describes Legacy of Lies fairly well. The plot is just interesting enough to keep you watching, but not particularly involved. It might have helped if we were told just what was in the files everyone was after, beyond some vague mention of nerve agents. Or if the identity of the double agent who betrayed him wasn’t so obvious.

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Lionsgate will release Legacy of Lies on July 28th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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