(May 13, 2020 NYC) –Debt Collectors (2020) is bloody good fun. This sequel to the 2018’s The Debt Collector, picks up shortly after the explosive end of the original film. A nearly healed French and Sue are reunited for a few final debt collections for their old boss, Tommy, (Vladimir Kulich skillfully reprising the role), as a payback for saving their lives. In the tradition of its predecessor, the duo’s journey to Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles is fraught with obstacles and adversity as vehicles for the film’s bone-crushing action sequences. As the story unfolds we learn that these jobs are more than they appear to be, and have a dangerous connection to their deceased nemesis, Barbosa.
Debt Collectors defies the typical notion that “buddy films” have to be formulaic to be successful. Furthermore, it defies the convention that sequels are rarely as good, or even better than, their predecessors. Debt Collectors is fun, explosive, well-scripted, and well directed movie in its own right. As a stand alone it equals, or surpasses The Debt Collector, as a film. Jesse V. Johnson, together with Scott Adkins, have carved out a niche’ as filmmakers that have elevated the action film from a genre where the script and dialogue are ancillary. Their films elevate the elements that support the action and fight choreography as holistic and indistinguishable elements of a great film.
The choice to call this film Debt Collectors, instead of The Debt Collector 2, was curious to me prior to seeing the film; however, after seeing the film the choice seems warranted. While the first film featured both Adkins and Louis Mandylor in co-starring roles, the film was, essentially, all Adkins. The story was built around Adkins as a struggling martial artist making a foray into a new and more dangerous line of work, including the physical and moral struggles he faced. In the sequel Louis Mandylor adds depth and heart to the performance he gave in the first film and emerges as a multi-dimensional, sympathetic, and complex character. His performance is so engaging that when he takes his lumps, and he takes many, the audience can’t help but cringe in pain. The film also showcases, in a larger way, Sue’s fighting skills and grit as his physicality is showcased in a broader way than was displayed in the prior film.
The fights, and fight choreography, do not disappoint. In Johnson and Adkins movies there is an expectation that fights will be brutal, realistic, and well-choreographed. Debt Collectors is no exception to that rule. The fights, and the action, are all top level.
The chemistry between French and Sue is what fuels the success of these two films. The well-timed use of humor, contrasted by the action and violence all work well to make these two unlikely heroes appealing and relatable. The supporting cast, including Marina Siritis and Mayling Ng, all serve the film well. I could easily see interest in a third film in the franchise.
Debt Collectors hits DVD and streaming services on May 29th. I highly recommend it. In fact, during this time when people are consuming more video content, I recommend you make a double-feature of it. Watch these two films back-to-back. They are worth the investment of your time.