It's really weird when you sit down to watch a trashy action/martial arts film and instead you get a decent movie.
Scott Adkins has been making cheap-ass action movies for over a decade, and recently some of them have been getting decent reviews (I really want to see "Accident Man"). This one sees him in the role of Cain Burgess, badly scarred and hardened after seven years of prison. He gets loose when he's taken out to see his mother who's dying of cancer. He knows who he blames for his seven years of pain, and he decides he's going to be avenged. He goes to a pub where his old gang is hanging out, and takes the lot of them hostage. Much of the story is told in flashback as he fills them in on how he became who he is today.
Adkins is riveting: he's an incredible bundle of rage and violence, but he somehow still has a streak of humanity left. My reaction was "I'm going to be sympathetic to him ... from as far away as I can possibly get" - it's always impressive when an actor can induce such a visceral reaction. It's interesting to compare this thoroughly convincing performance with the lackluster nasty he played in "Triple Threat" which I watched earlier this evening. The acting in that was ... well, fairly good for a martial arts film, but nothing compared to this.
Someone give this guy a chance: he's actually got skills (outside of the martial arts).