Scott Adkins gets rabid in Savage Dog
Scott Adkins’ portrayal of Boyka in the Undisputed franchise has made him a cult figure in the martial arts genre. However, in his latest film Savage Dog, the martial artist goes rabid and uses an arsenal of kicks, punches, bullets and bombs – and a machete to cut anything that stands in path for vengeance.
The plot puts Adkins’ character as Irish boxer Martin Tillman imprisoned in an Indochinese jail in 1959 and is forced to fight other prisoners – akin to his Boyka role. However, the warden Steiner (Vladimir Kulich); a former Nazi, releases him in the hopes that it will get the attention of MI6 agent Harrison (Matthew Marsden) away from him. However, once outside he must choose to fight to save the woman he loves; Isabelle (JuJu Chan), and avenge his friend Valentine (Keith David).
It is disappointing that Ms Chan’s skills as a martial artist was not showcased in the film and her character has very thin dialog. However, that is not to say that she did not some depth to the story-line. Her character, Isabelle, brought out a more humane Tillman.
The film is in a narrative format with David’s character Valentine telling the story of – the legend. This, I assume, is supposed to give the audience a perspective of seen beyond the fourth wall, a dreamlike view of past events.
The main characters have solid backstories except for Valentine who could either be a figment of Tillman’s imagination or isn’t really dead and inserting himself into the narrative to create a connection with the audience.
The main theme in Savage Dog is the need to belong, the yearning for independence. Tillman is an Irishman who faces the death sentence in Great Britain and is being pursued by a relentless spy.
Isabelle is seeking to establish a connection with Steiner whom she believes is her father. He on the other does not want anything to do with her despite her efforts. All the other characters too are men without countries.
One character that Adkins fans will recognize is Rastignac, played by his Undisputed III co-star Marko Zaror, who happens to be the main villain in this story. Another familiar face would be Cung Le as Boon; a formidable opponent for Adkins.
Savage Dog reminded me a lot of the old Chuck Norris films and how he would incorporate karate with gun fights. It is not that new but something different from the characters Adkins is renowned for.
I’ve also got to warn you, this film is one of the goriest films that Adkins has been in and may not be a pleasant viewing experience for some.