“The Geneva Convention doesn’t apply in space.”
Scott Adkins is an action star whose films are always worth a watch as the odds suggest a fun time for fans of terrific fight scenes. Recent releases like Accident Man, Wolf Warrior 2, and Eliminators see him at the top of his game showcasing beautifully choreographed and executed beat-downs, and even a lesser film like Savage Dog is raised up by his ridiculous skills and athleticism.
But he’s no miracle worker. Exhibit A? His latest feature, Incoming.
A terrorist cell called the Wolfpack attacks targets through multiple Western countries, and five years later all six of the killers are being held prisoner on an orbiting space station. They’re each unaware who else is aboard the station and spend part of their day undergoing enhanced interrogation by a man named Kingsley (Lukas Loughran). A shuttle arrives bringing three newcomers — the pilot Bridges (Aaron McCusker), a doctor named Stone (Michelle Lehane), and a CIA agent called Reiser (Adkins). A bad call by the doc — see, she’s a woman who lets her emotions overrule her common sense — results in the terrorists escaping their cells and setting the entire station on a collision course for Moscow.
Incoming commits multiple sins, but chief among them is misusing Adkins. It’s an ensemble film making him just one of many, but rather than make the most of his time onscreen his action beats are kept to a minimum. Worse, he’s forced to fight down to the level of his co-stars meaning his swings are slower and higher — read less convincing — then you find in his better films. On the plus side, he does get to dispatch a few baddies with a knife, and the film isn’t shy about its rapid-fire stabbings.
Director Eric Zaragoza makes his feature debut here, but it’s an inauspicious one restrained both in budget and creativity. Mission Control back on Earth looks like a dimly lit closet, pneumatic doors on the space station appear to be operated by grips hiding behind the walls, explosion effects are low-rent, and the production design in general offers little outside of generic halls/rooms. All of this would be forgivable if the action stood out, but instead, we’re left with a flat and unremarkable genre effort.
The script marks Jorge Saralegui‘s second writing credit — his first is for the story behind Eddie Murphy’s 2002 action/comedy Showtime — and in following the trend of every other aspect it underwhelms and fails to find any degree of excitement. It also isn’t quite sure what to do with its characters. Stone, in particular, is saddled with an act of sheer stupidity that causes the initial trouble, and she remains obnoxious for far too long. Reiser kills one of the murderous terrorists at one point, and Stone yells at him about it because even at this point she’s still arguing they be treated better. It’s something of a mixed message that quickly gets drowned out by the script’s attempts at story twists, but none of it’s as effective as it should be.
Incoming is a bit of a dud as the action is minimal and the thrills are even more sparse. Major Adkins fans will want to check it out for his stab-happy performance, but it’s best to consider this a minor blip as we wait for the two films he’s currently working on — Ip Man 4 alongside Donnie Yen, and Triple Threat where he’ll be sharing the screen with Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Jeeja Yanin, Tiger Hu Chen, and Michael Jai White. They’re gonna make one hell of a double feature.
Incoming was released to VOD on May 4th, 2018.