Every Scott Adkins & Isaac Florentine Movie, Ranked | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

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Icon 10월 18, 2021

Scott Adkins has made many movies with director Isaac Florentine – we take a look at their collaborations and rank them, from weakest to strongest.
How do Scott Adkins‘ movies with director Isaac Florentine rank from softest to strongest? Beginning his career in the late ’90s in British television, Scott Adkins has steadily climbed to the top of contemporary action stars, and several of his most acclaimed martial arts films have been helmed by Isaac Florentine. The latter might not quite share the same mainstream recognition, but among action fans, Isaac Florentine is the Steven Spielberg of the straight-to-video action subculture.
Like Adkins, the Israeli-born Florentine has also been a martial artist since childhood and got his start as a filmmaker on extremely low-budget movies like Desert Kickboxer and Savate along with second unit directing on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Aside from his frequent work with Adkins, Florentine has also directed such martial arts-filled action movies as Cold Harvest, High VoltageBridge of Dragons, and Acts of Vengeance, where he’s directed names like Gary Daniels, Antonio Sabato Jr., Dolph Lundgren, Antonio Banderas, and Karl Urban.
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To date, Florentine has directed eight movies with Scott Adkins, a figure which could be technically extrapolated to ten if his work as second unit director on The Legend of Hercules and his overseeing producer role on Boyka: Undisputed are also factored in. Their budgets may be low, but there’s no denying the action movie magic that Adkins and Florentine regularly pull off frequently makes their big-budget theatrical competition look practically second-tier to their often Jackie Chan-worthy outings. Here’s every Isaac Florentine-directed Scott Adkins movie, from worst to best.
Scott Adkins’ third movie with Isaac Florentine, The Shepherd: Border Patrol also brought aboard Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jack Robideaux, an ex-New Orleans cop who takes on drug smugglers led by former special forces agent Benjamin Meyers (Stephen Lord) and Adkins as his right-hand man Karp. Van Damme was just starting to re-invent himself during his straight-to-video career purgatory of the early 2000s, and he settles into a gruff but kind-hearted veteran of many battles abiding a pacifist philosophy. Of course, the prospect of a Van Damme-Scott Adkins rumble was the big hook for Border Patrol, and while apparently truncated from what was originally intended, their final showdown hits hard and was a harbinger of several Adkins and Van Damme collaborations to come. Though it remains Van Damme’s only movie to date with Florentine, Border Patrol is an entertaining entry in the early phase of his comeback and showed that Scott Adkins was on his way up.
The first Adkins-Florentine joint sees Marshall Teague as Major Don Harding, who leads a special ops unit into the ex-Soviet country of Muldonia to rescue a hostage. Adkins enters the fray as British SAS operative Talbot, on a mission to avenge an old friend killed in action and teaming up with Harding’s unit. Most Isaac Florentine movies are case studies in making a budget stretch, but for its meager $1.3 million price tag, Special Forces pulls off a mini-G.I. Joe action movie with remarkable gusto, Adkins being its non-masked Snake Eyes. Adkins had only a handful of film credits to his name at the time, but he’s the unquestionable star of the movie, slipping in impressive kicks and flips into the movie’s military-based action scenes, and snagging the standout battle in the finale against the target of his mission, the henchman Zaman (Vladislavas Jacukecvicus). As the beginning of Adkins and Florentine’s long and fruitful partnership, the resources Special Forces had to work with may have only been a book of matches rather than a blowtorch, but it absolutely brings the heat.
Scott Adkins’ first time as a leading man, Ninja simultaneously doesn’t reach the heights it could have while also showing that he and Florentine were still in a whole other ballpark. Adkins plays Casey Bowman, an American Ninjutsu student tasked with protecting an armored box known as the Yoroi Bitsu from his former dojo rival Masazuka (Tsuyoshi Ihara). Ninja‘s comic book-like crafting is something Florentine has lamented in the years since, while it’s the incredibly rare case where an action movie moves at perhaps too much of a breakneck pace. Still, the flashy ninja fights are expectedly incredible, from a deadly encounter on a speeding subway train to Casey taking on an underground cult single-handedly. Florentine has described this as his homage to Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury dojo fight that kickstarted his martial arts and filmmaking dreams. The final showdown does, unfortunately, blur the lines between ancillary opponents and Casey’s final confrontation with Masazuka into a singular Mortal Kombat-style ninja battle, but it’s a wild ride nonetheless, and Casey’s ninja suit is a gorgeously designed spin on the White Ranger’s garb, harkening back to Florentine’s Power Rangers beginnings. Ninja didn’t quite slash expectations in two as many had hoped, but fans of Adkins, Florentine, and ninja movies, in general, will still have plenty of fun with it.
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Another of Adkins and Florentine’s more singular action movie one-offs, Seized still snaps in the way that even their more minor efforts always do. Adkins plays ex-Special Forces operative Nero, who is forced to come out of retirement and carry out a series of hits for Mario Van Peebles’ Mzamo in order to rescue his kidnapped son. If ever anyone had the time of their life playing a villain in an Isaac Florentine movie, it has to be the scene-stealing Van Peebles, decked out in a cowboy hat throughout the movie and taunting Nero like a radio DJ holding hostages. Seized is an Adkins-Florentine collaboration where the low budget is slightly more evident; the action scenes taking place in restaurant kitchens, horse stables, and mansion backyards in between scenes of Nero driving from one coerced hit to the next, but that’s at worst a minor quibble overshadowed by great fight scenes and Van Peebles’ entertaining villainy. Adkins even gets in a quick but potent battle with UFC fighter Uriah Hall in the finale. Seized won’t go down in history as an action movie reinvigoration as several of Adkins and Florentine’s collaborations have, but for 85 minutes of campy villain quipping and Matrix-style gritty martial arts, it gets the job done.
Another enthralling Florentine action flick that works with what it’s got, Close Range has Adkins as former soldier Colton MacReady. After rescuing his niece Hailey (Madison Lawler) from a Mexican drug cartel, he and his estranged sister Angela (Caitlin Keats) are forced to stand their ground on her Arizona farm. By 2015, Adkins had grown into speaking with an American accent to give it low-key gravel, and it suits his portrayal of Colt well as a rough and tumble anti-hero. Filmed in just 19 days, Florentine gets all the mileage he can out of setting 80 percent of the movie in the house or the immediate area surrounding it with fantastic action scenes. Ironically though, the best of the bunch isn’t even on the farm itself, but the kick-off of Colt arriving to his niece’s rescue, battling through cartel henchmen in a single-take fight. Close Range is maybe a bit on the short side, but it’s yet another example of Adkins and Florentine being having a buck to spend and making it look like a hundred.
It’s unusual to see a sequel being the true beginning of a franchise, but Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing was a fresh start for the series after the indifferent impact of its 2002 predecessor, along with being the first big break for Scott Adkins. Taking over the role from Ving Rhames in the first Undisputed, Michael Jai White plays former world heavyweight boxing champion George “Iceman” Chambers, who is framed for drug possession while in Russia to set up a prison fight with the self-proclaimed Most Complete Fighter in the World, Yuri Boyka, played by Adkins. Making the leap from boxing to MMA (which Donnie Yen helped integrate into action movies) under J.J. “Loco” Perry’s meticulous coordination, Undisputed 2 is a firestorm of incredible action and gave Adkins his definitive role. Despite the movie taking Chambers from villain to anti-hero, Boyka’s the real breakout character of the film, with both having something to learn about humility and doing so the hard way. There’s really nothing more to say other than break out the popcorn and prepare to be amazed at the awe-inspiring fights of Undisputed 2.
Boyka gets a shot at a comeback in Undisputed 3 when he joins an MMA tournament of prisoners from around the world, with the winner to be given his freedom. Boyka’s struggles with his bad knee keep viewers on pins and needles at all times, with even Boyka wondering if he’s too much of an open target now, heightening the already sky-high amazement-meter of the movie’s action scenes, orchestrated by Larnell Stovall. Having turned from being a villain, Boyka’s rivalry with his fellow competitor Turbo (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) also pulls back the curtain on the former’s fearsome exterior and shows how unbreakable Boyka’s firm honor code is when they learn that the tournament is being stacked against them. Marko Zaror is also a despicable delight as Dolor, hand-picked to win the tournament by the prison officials throwing every unfair advantage at him. Boyka and Dolor’s final battle in the ring is still a sight to behold of Adkins and Zaror’s insane abilities as martial artists and Boyka turning Dolor’s exploitation of his bad knee back at him in the most painful way possible. Undisputed 2 might have gotten the ball finally rolling for the series, but Undisputed 3 set the series into hyperdrive.
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Landing in December 2013, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear is a worthy candidate of being titled the best ninja movie ever made. Scott Adkins returns as Casey Bowman, now teaching the ways of the ninja at his dojo and happily married to his fellow student for the first film Namiko (Mika Hijii), until his pregnant wife is murdered, sending Casey on a revenge mission that takes him deep into the jungles of Myanmar. After Casey’s relative underdevelopment in Ninja, Adkins grows into the role to show Casey’s darker side, his short temper, and self-destructive behavior after Namiko’s murder makes him a vengeful man who cannot be stopped, but who also doesn’t think before he acts. Kane Kosugi portrays Casey’s sympathetic friend and fellow Ninjutsu master Nakabara, who runs a dojo in Thailand. While the movie makes only a half-hearted effort to hide his duplicity, it’s of little consequence when his and Casey’s battle of ninja masters arrives, and Kosugi’s appearance also gives the film some 80’s ninja movie cred. Speaking of which, Shadow of a Tear is an absolute feast for ninja movie fans. For as great as Adkins and Kosugi’s final smackdown is, it’s got some serious competition within the film itself, including a one-shot dojo fight and Casey’s battle with the small but deadly henchman Myat, played by fight choreographer Tim Man, in a drug compound engulfed in flames. One has to really wonder why there’s yet to be a Ninja III after the modern ninja movie masterpiece that is delivered in Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear, but among Isaac Florentine-directed Scott Adkins vehicles, it earns the gold medal in spades.
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Growing up, Brad developed an innate love of movies and storytelling, and was instantly enamored with the world of adventure while following the exploits of Indiana Jones, Japanese kaiju, and superheroes. Today, Brad channels his thoughts on all manner of movies, from comic book films, sci-fi thrillers, comedies, and everything in between through his writings on Screen Rant. Brad also offers philosophical musings on martial arts and the filmographies of everyone from Jackie Chan to Donnie Yen on Kung Fu Kingdom, where he’s also had the privilege of interviewing many of the world’s great stunt professionals, and hearing plenty of gripping stories on injuries incurred in their line of work and the intricacies of designing the acts of death defiance he first thrilled to as a youngster. When he’s not writing, Brad enjoys going on a ride with the latest action hit or Netflix original, though he’s also known to just pop in “The Room” from time to time. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradCurran.


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