Being a sequel, you could be in the dark about the dynamics of relationships, inside jokes and pretty much anything that might be referenced from the first film. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Payback, a film that is worthy of going straight onto the shelves in Poundland even if all the cinemas in the world were open.
French and Sue, two blokes who both think the other one is dead, find each other and rekindle their working relationship. The job this time around is picking up three payments of outstanding debts. Simple enough, and as the pair are harder than coffin nails, they shouldn’t have too much issue collecting. During their escapades that take the duo from L.A. to Vegas and back again, they are being followed. Assuming their babysitters are just keeping an eye on the large amount of cash French and Sue are handling, they think nothing of it. However, the audience discovers that Tommy, Sue’s longtime money man, is being used as a honeypot by vengeful gangster Molly, who is seeking justice for his brother’s demise. Laying the blame on French and Sue, Molly hopes to draw the two “dead” men to Tommy and kill all of them.
The plot is ridiculous. The characters aren’t relatable. Sue’s accent is difficult to understand at the best of times. The fight scenes are, I’m assuming, the key selling point of this production, that’s why Scott Adkins is cast as French. An actor with a huge background in mixed martial arts, hand to hand combat is favoured in Payback over seen-before shootouts. The fight scenes are shocking, but not in a good way. They look badly choreographed and under-rehearsed. There’s an ongoing dialogue between French and Sue, who would win in a fight between a boxer and a mixed martial artist? Could be a call back to when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Coner McGregor got it on back in 2017, or an attempt at foreshadowing for the dumb fist fight French and Sue eventually have. If Louis Mandylor ever had boxing training, then the man has forgotten it. Just piss poor.
It’s not fair of me to isolate issues with the two leading men though. Not one actor in this movie drove me to give a solitary shit about a thing. And there is a lot at stake in this film! Thousands of dollars, gangsters being gangsters, very vague love interests and old friendships ending prematurely. Not a single shit. Brainless and paperthin plot, subplot and characters. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about anything though. The film concludes very open ended, so I can nigh on guarantee this double bill becomes a fucking trilogy.
So perhaps you might be more clued up if you were savvy with the story of the first Debt Collector film, but then there would be no reason to watch this one. You don’t hate yourself that much to watch both of these films. Honestly, you’re not that bad.
Dir: Jesse V. Johnson
Scr: Jesse V. Johnson, Stu Small
Cast: Scott Adkins, Louis Mandylor, Vladimir Kulich, Myaling Ng
Prd: Deborah Del Prete, Jonathan Hall, Brandon Mechen
DOP: Jonathan Hall
Music: Sean Murray
Run time: 97 minutes
Dazzler Media presents Payback on Digital Download 8th June and DVD 6th July 2020