‘Legacy of Lies’ Movie Review: Scott Adkins’ James Bond Movie

Scott Adkins has managed to keep action fans thrilled during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Thankfully, he works so prolifically that he had several movies in the can before the virus forced productions to suspend. With no big studio action spectacles on the horizon, Adkins fills the void first with Debt Collectors, and now Legacy of Lies.

Scott Adkins in Russia
Scott Adkins | Igor Dashevskiy/Lionsgate

Hopefully, viewers starving for action will discover what loyal fans have known all along. Adkins continues to deliver thrilling showcases on par or exceeding Hollywood’s offerings, with far fewer resources, and available to fans for less than bloated studio fare. Legacy of Lies is now availble on VOD.

Scott Adkins in ‘Legacy of Lies’

12 years go in Kyiv, Ukraine, Martin (Adkins) was involved in a mission gone bad. A sniper took out his contact in a warehouse meet, and Martin was involved in a shootout. Back in the present, Martin has a daughter, Lisa (Honor Kneafsey) who gambles on his underground MMA fights.

Scott Adkins and Honor Kneafsey
Scott Adkins and Honor Kneafsey | Igor Dashevskiy/Lionsgate

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Trevor (Martin McDougall), Martin’s old MI6 boss, pulls him back in. Plus, Sacha (Yuiia Sobol) comes to him for help and they get shot at. They’re all looking for files the Russians got 12 years ago, that could reveal who betrayed Martin in Kyiv. Oh yeah, and that contact killed in action was Lisa’s mother. Lisa doesn’t look 12 yet, but Kneafsey is 16 so she could have been born before that tragic mission.

The name’s Adkins, Scott Adkins

Legacy of Lies has a solid foundation to set up the action like big studio movies used to deliver. They used to call in James Bond for international intrigue, but Martin goes on the case this time. When people don’t cooperate, he has to fight all their henchmen. Trevor’s guys also have Lisa, so he’s got to save her.

Scott Adkins | Lionsgate

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Russia may be less exotic than James Bond since we’ve seen so many direct to video movies in Eastern Europe, but it’s still globe trotting. It has a safety deposit box, and they needcodes to get in. These are the maguffins but that’s what maguffins are for, to get the hero into action so we can see them save the day.

Legacy of Lies doesn’t overthink it. The bad guys put Martin in a bind, so he decides to do the right thing to help Sacha. This is great stuff. 

Scott Adkins in action, again 

Writer/director Adrian Bol is new to Adkins’ work but he gets it as well as Adkins’ usual directors Jesse V. Johnson and Isaac Florentine do. That first sniper shootout in the Kiyiv warehouse is well done with clear geography. You understand where everyone is and how they’re shooting at each other. 

Legacy of Lies MMA
Legacy of Lies’ MMA fight | Lionsgate

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Bol gets dynamic camera angles in close quarters in the octagon MMA fight. Martin’s encounters in Russia are more innovative and engaging than The Old Guard which had $70 mil with 87eleven team. Fight choreographer Tim Man created bigger thrills by keeping it simple and letting Adkins perform it in long takes.

Legacy of Lies: Yuiia Sobol
Yuiia Sobol | Igor Dashevskiy/Lionsgate

This is how you use an action hero. You put Adkins in the vehicle and he elevates it to his personal standards. You may not be invested in the Russian files, but you definitely want to see Martin save his daughter, and Sacha becomes an endearing character who you’ll want to persevere too.