Scott Adkins ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Interview

scott adkins

Luke Jernejcic on Unsplash, Alamy Stock Photo, Leanne Mattern Illustration

fade in birmingham, england 1989 a flashback scene

WE OPEN on a boy. He is 13. Dark wiry hair. His body, lean. His smile, a mischievous grin. We see him boarding a bus with his mates. We see him standing in the back with his mates when some men get on. Robbers. They make for the boys. They turn them around, frisk them, take out their wallets. The men don’t have weapons. They are just older, bigger. One robber, taking out the boy’s wallet, catches him grinning.

ROBBER #1: “Why are you smiling?”

BOY: “I’ve never been robbed before.”

[A pause]

BOY: “It’s kind of cool.”

ROBBER #1 just looks at the BOY, and then—WHACK! —punches the BOY in the face.

In the ensuing mayhem, the boy escapes.

But the coppers come, and it’s the coppers—and not the bus driver—who drive the boy home, the coppers who pull up to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Adkins, and the coppers who escort the boy up to the front door where the BOY’S FATHER is waiting, looking as if he’s about to throw a punch himself.

The boy’s father is a butcher and his father’s father is a butcher and his father’s father’s father was a butcher—just butchers all the way down. But the boy doesn’t want to be a butcher. He goes down to the shop on Saturdays and makes less than a pound an hour hacking away at fat and bone, and he just thinks to himself: No. He thinks the same thing at school, doesn’t pay attention. Why should he? The shop, school, they’re backup plans, and a backup plan is just an excuse, innit? It’s an excuse not to make it. After he’s mugged, the boy has a plan: He’s going to make it.

The boy turns his father’s garage into a dojo. Motorbikes are pushed aside and replaced by punching bags and a makiwara and a poster of Bruce Lee—part of a shrine, really. The effigy watches the boy train. It watches the boy devour Black Belt magazine and Muscle & Fitness and every martial-arts VHS tape he brings home. Once the boy can drive, he drives around town, from one video store to the next, scavenging. Who’s got the latest Van Damme, the latest Chuck Norris, the latest Jackie Chan? A dream forms in the boy’s mind: to be the next Van Damme, the next Chuck Norris, the next Jackie Chan. And then the dream becomes more than a dream. It becomes a plan.

Soon he’s doing kickboxing bouts in random gyms and squash courts. He’s 20. He gets his head punched against the wall during one bout—WHACK!—and he blacks out.


BOY’S FATHER: “Son, you gotta get your head screwed on.”

BOY’S FATHER: “You gotta get a trade.”

BOY’S FATHER: “This is not gonna work out for you.”

The boy wakes. The boy leaves home.

cut to birmingham, england march 2022, 26 years later interior the adkins home, a house in the countryside

A MAN sits in his study: SCOTT ADKINS—cropped black hair, wiry over the forehead, a mischievous grin, granite jaw, wrestling shoulders.

This is the boy.

It is early afternoon. The house is quiet. Scott opens his laptop.

His forearms are bruised from a reshoot last weekend; he was blocking kicks. His knee has been acting up again. He can feel something catching. He probably needs surgery, he thinks. He doesn’t want surgery. Surgery means they might cut off a piece of his meniscus. He needs all his meniscus. He’s 46.

adkins in avengement 2019

Adkins in Avengement (2019).

In an hour, Scott will drive to the preschool/primary school and pick up his son and daughter. It’s a near-identical drive to the one he took as a kid, his house just ten miles from where he grew up. It’s the kind of house he would drive by with his mom and his mom would go, “Ooh, love to have a house there one day.” Well, now he can say it: “I made it, Mum.” Mum still lives nearby.

Scott checks his emails.

He’s waiting to hear back about an audition, a bad-guy part in a streaming movie—a ridiculous bad guy, the butt of the joke. His agent said he should do it. It was his daughter’s birthday that weekend, so he said no. They asked him again the next weekend. Scott said okay, did it, sent in a tape. He doesn’t have high hopes. It’s the fifth, sixth, seventh, maybe eighth role behind the lead. He should have heard by now.

“They’ve probably been to Frank Grillo, and Frank Grillo turned it down,” Scott says unprompted. “And then it’s like, Let’s see if we can get Scott Adkins!” He laughs.

He has a dry, self-effacing wit and a Cheshire grin that flashes in moments of sincerity and also moments of wryness, such that one cannot always tell which mood he intends—whether the grin punctuates or masks what Scott really feels.

“There’s a pecking order, isn’t there?” he says. “I’m just guessing that I’m behind Frank.”

The grin.

Anyway. No email.

He is used to empty mailboxes. His is a career defined by such negative moments. The roles he did not get. The chances that were never offered. He has appeared in more than 57 movies, and yet . . .

Some hurt worse than others. He auditioned for Batman in 2013, the role Ben Affleck won. He never expected an offer. He auditions with this understanding: He expects to be disappointed. But it is the role he most wants. When he read, he read the script for The Dark Knight Rises, the words Christian Bale says onscreen. Scott was hired as a stuntman for that movie. He was to double Bale in the bat suit. That also didn’t work out. Then there was The Witcher, another possible break. He sent in his audition tape and then woke up the next morning to the news that Henry Cavill had been cast. We love you, they always say. But we’re going in a different direction. “It’s bullshit,” Scott says with a tired smile. Then there was Captain America: Civil War. He was supposed to fight Chris Evans in a scene. It never happened.

A lot never happened. But a lot also did. Some dreams need to contract to come true. And some version of Scott Adkins’s dream has come true. Just not the full version, not the one you think about when you think about dreams.

He leans back in his chair.

His study is small. (Probably a lot smaller than Ben Affleck’s study.) A desk. Bookshelves with martial-arts DVDs. A guitar in the corner. The room is adorned with framed movie posters, Avengement, Accident Man, Ninja II. Scott’s face looks down from each. They are movies not many people in the U. S. have seen. But for those who have seen them, the few fans who come up to Scott, these movies seem well loved. Scott has joked he is the king of the low-budget sequel, that if someone were to ask him what movie he’s doing next, he could reasonably respond, with a grin: Probably something with “3” or “4” in the title.

adkins and kane kosugi in ninja shadow of a tear 2013

Adkins and Kane Kosugi in Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013).

Cinematic Collection//Alamy

The problem is always Hollywood. When the king of the low-budget sequel comes to Hollywood, he loses. They hire him to lose. Every time he works on a Hollywood film, his fights are cut down. Or cut out. Or the hero kills him. He has been killed many times.


Front-kicked by JACKIE CHAN. [The Medallion] Throat-jabbed by DONNIE YEN. [Ip Man 4] Groin-kicked by MATT DAMON. [The Bourne Ultimatum] Blown up by BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. [Doctor Strange] Ground and pounded to a pulp by JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME. [The Shepherd] Decapitated by HUGH JACKMAN. [X-Men Origins: Wolverine] Front-kicked in the face by JET LI. [Unleashed] Brass-knuckle-punched into a helicopter blade and, again, decapitated by JASON STATHAM. [The Expendables 2]

Still no email.

He looks back to the wall.

Above him, there is another poster. Boyka: Undisputed. Scott stands shirtless as the hulking Yuri Boyka, a fictional Ukrainian MMA fighter. The character seems to be his most beloved; if Scott is stopped on the street, it is because of Boyka. He played Boyka three times, each movie seeing wide theatrical release only in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Most English and American viewers only ever saw Boyka on DVD. But Boyka seems to resonate. If Scott is remembered for one role, that role, he knows, will be Boyka. It is as close as he comes to a John Wick. To a Rocky Balboa. But few recognize him as Boyka. Few recognize him at all.

The other week, Scott took his daughter to the cinema to see The Batman. They were stopped at the door. His daughter was too young to enter the theater, the clerk said. She is 11.

Scott protested: “Are you kidding me? Just let her in.”

The movie clerk didn’t recognize him, but this wasn’t a surprise. Even those who know Scott as Boyka don’t recognize him—he bulked for the role—and so when people come up to him, some might be disappointed: You’re not Boyka.

Anyway, they were turned away at the door.

“I don’t think the guy knew who I was, and I wasn’t about to go, Do you know who I am?” Scott says now, practically cringing at the thought. “I was almost Batman!” he jokes. The grin. He would never say such a thing.

adkins as yuri boyka in boyka undisputed 2016

Adkins as Yuri Boyka in Boyka: Undisputed (2016).

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment//Everett

He put the posters up recently, even if it seemed self-referential. It matters to Scott—being able to lean back and see what he has done, what he wanted to do since he was a boy. So few make it. Even this far. He still wants more. “I’ve done straight-to-DVD action movies, and I am seen as that guy—and I’m aware of that,” Scott says. The grin. “And look, it’s not the end of the world. I’m still making a good living doing what I love.” He will return to this refrain often. He knows his privilege. Nice house in the country. Making money for movies. (The fighting, it was always for the movies. The movies, Dad, the movies!) But when pressed, he voices again those childhood dreams. Because saying “I made it, Mum” isn’t really true.

“I’d like to have a bigger career,” he says, “and be somewhere more towards where Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are.”

fade in

THE MOVIES! It looks like the desert, and it tastes like shit-circling flies buzzing into his mouth.

Every day for a week, the crew picks Scott up in a van and drives him over this shitty, bumpy road, all the way to the desert’s edge. There’s sand and a beating sun and a reservoir, standing water, which explains the flies; they are everywhere. He stops fighting them. Just lets them stick and jump and poke his face. It’s miserable.

The film: outlandish action. It’s fun. Scott gets to ride away from an explosion on a motorbike, fly though the air, jump away from a fireball—the stuff he always dreamed about doing. And he knows the stunt coordinator, trusts him, which is important. But he feels ridiculous. It’s a World War II movie. Everyone else is shooting guns. And here’s Scott running through the gunfire and karate-kicking people. He thinks it’s kind of absurd, but hey, that’s what the director wants, and they offered him more money than last time, so who was he to say no?

That previous movie, Karmouz War (released in the U. S. as No Surrender), had become one of the highest-grossing movies ever in Egypt. (Here it made more than the final Avengers movie.) Scott played the antagonist, a stand-in for British colonial oppression. In the final battle, the hero bludgeons Scott with a fire extinguisher, straps a bag to his chest, pulls a grenade pin, and then front-kicks him into oblivion. BOOM! Scott wasn’t the star of the movie, but they put him on the poster anyway. He thought it was completely stupid. The fans loved it.

They love him here. It is the quirk of some celebrities: They are most recognizable when they are farthest from home. If Scott had a movie-star home, that home would be the Middle East. Here Scott feels like a superstar. The reason is Boyka, that straight-to-DVD action franchise that hardly anyone saw in the West. In the Middle East, it appeared in theaters. It was bought on DVD and passed around and probably bootlegged and passed around some more.

“i’ve done a straight to dvd action movies, and i am seen as that guy and i’m aware of that,” scott says the grin “and look, it’s not the end of the world i’m still making a good living doing what i love”

When Scott walks the street here, people shout, chant.




One of the Egyptian posters for Karmouz War—which is not a Boyka movie—didn’t even say, “Scott Adkins.” It said, “Boyka.”

After the desert one day, Scott leaves his hotel to visit an outdoor mall. He’s bored. Figures he’ll go buy some chocolate. People begin pointing, quietly at first, and then loudly.




It actually makes Scott nervous. Alone, no security, in a foreign country. He doesn’t like it. He immediately turns around and hurries back to his hotel. He had a baseball cap on, too—didn’t matter.

He remembers Serbia a few years ago. He went to a movie. No one would notice, he thought. In line for popcorn, a guy started shouting:


During the whole movie, Scott just sat there, thinking, Are they looking at me? It was awful.

He wants to be famous. He’s often thankful he’s not. There are moments he wants to be Dwayne Johnson, and then there are moments he is thankful he is only Scott Adkins. He imagines the paparazzi, cameras outside his Birmingham door, the inability to move about his life, his family routines changing. “There would be a trade-off,” he says.

But now is thinking of the other side. Being Batman. Being Bond.

“I would choose to be more famous, I suppose,” he says, after some thought. “Because you’re reaching for it, aren’t you? You want better opportunities, better movies to be in. But maybe I’d regret it. Who knows? Probably. There would be some regrets, I’m sure.”

He remembers the first time he met Jackie Chan. When he went out with the legend one day after filming . . .



JACKIE CHAN floats through the crowd, the shops. He stops to buy something. The crowd swarms, reaching out, grabbing at him.

Scott watches in awe.

He knows he wants it.

fade in a village, somewhere in southern china , october 1999


He had left England. Couldn’t afford to live in London. Didn’t fit in with the acting kids. The singing and dancing. Scott just wanted to punch and kick people in movies. So he sent in his reel to a director in Hong Kong and then soon found himself here.

Some shit hotel room.

There are cockroaches scuttling across the floor, and the food—what the Hong Kong crew feeds him for lunch every day with rice—makes him sick. He eats McDonald’s instead. (Is it making him fat? He can’t afford to get fat.) He sits and sits and waits, tries to stay loose for 14 hours of filming. Sitting and sitting and waiting and then . . . ACTION!


Scott’s first movie fight.

Scott vs. a wushu champion.

Scott’s getting pummeled.

Now it’s Scott vs. the film crew as they direct him in Cantonese.


It’s exhausting.

It’s exhilarating. This is what the dream—the plan—requires, and he’s doing it. Hong Kong cinema. Here is where Van Damme started. Here is where Jackie Chan began. Scott will be next. He will have his moment. He loves every punch he takes.

adkins and donnie yen in ip man 4 the finale 2019

Adkins and Donnie Yen in Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019).

Well Go USA//Everett

You take the roles you can, you take the punches you get. For Scott, in the beginning, he is the evil foreigner, the bad guy, the guy who gets punched. He goes to China, Hong Kong, England, Thailand, back and forth, one movie and then the next, one punch, and then the next. He does a soap opera in England. It’s not as much fun. He goes back to getting punched.

At some point, for guys who know how to get punched, know how to fly on a wire and get hit by cars and tumble down hills—for guys like Scott—there comes a choice. You market yourself as a stuntman and you do stunts for the stars. Or you work to be the star. Working to be the star means doing a lot of shit movies. It means taking a lot of punches and traveling far from home—one shitty hotel and then the next—for years. It means saying no to stunt work. Saying no to a paycheck.

There is a moment when Scott makes this choice.


Restaurant. Lunch. CHAD STAHELSKI—the former Matrix stunt double for Keanu Reeves. He co-owns a stunt company. He asks Scott if he wants to join. Steady work. Steady paycheck.

SCOTT: No, Chad, I can’t. I can’t be a stuntman. I want to be a leading man. I want to be starring in films.

CHAD: [half kidding] Scott, do you honestly believe that anyone in Hollywood sees you as anything other than a stuntman? The guy who’s been in 20 martial arts films? The guy in Ninja I and Ninja II?

fade in alabama, september 2022

SCOTT’S IN AMERICA, rehearsing action scenes with a stunt coordinator. He’s playing twins. One twin is a big Hollywood movie star, the other an English gangster, a failed movie star. Hollywood Twin dies, and Failure Twin comes to investigate Hollywood Twin’s death. Anyway, it looks like the movie is doomed. Part of the funding fell through. Everything shuts down for a week or two. They tell Scott to go back to England. So he goes back to England. And then it shuts down indefinitely.

It all seemed precarious from the start.

A couple months ago, production was having trouble finding a director and fight coordinator. The fight guy Scott likes would need a work permit, since he’s foreign. Another time, Scott saw the cops turn up because production hadn’t filed the filming permit; they had to move to another location. Then a stunt guy didn’t show up, so the director stepped in to take a punch.

“i would choose to be more famous, i suppose, because you’re reaching for it, aren’t you you want better opportunities, better movies to be in but maybe i’d regret it who knows probably there would be some regrets, i’m sure”

Finding the right director and fight coordinator is important. It’s maybe the biggest advantage of Scott’s movies: Often, he can choose the right people. Big-budget movies may have the money, but they often fuck up the action. Scott remembers filming The Bourne Ultimatum with Matt Damon. They spent all day on a small fight scene. There were several cameras rolling, all angles. It was madness. You can’t sell a punch if you’re filming from several angles at once—you’ll literally see the punch miss. But production didn’t care; they were just gonna chop it all up in editing and call it a fight. Dancing around the cameras, pretending to hit Matt Damon, Scott thought to himself, Fucking hell, these guys don’t know what they’re doing. He was gonna have to punch Matt for real in order to sell it. In the end, it was Matt who hit Scott for real. Kicked him the balls, actually, caught him with a toe to the testicles. Scott sat in the theater during the premiere, waiting for his moment, hoping he didn’t look like shit. Turns out, he didn’t look like anything. He appears for less than 30 seconds. An entire day of filming for 30 seconds—and a kick to the balls.

He might get more control over the fights when he’s the star. But the budget has more control over him. Would he rather look like shit in a big Hollywood movie, basically doing stunts, or make a fight he’s proud of—and have it go straight to DVD?


Everything has been falling through—left, right, and center.

After Egypt, Scott had planned on filming two other movies over the summer. Both fell through.

Scott was scheduled to fly to New Orleans for another film. He spent time working with a dialect coach, trying to get his New Orleans accent down. The shoot date is getting moved, they tell him, but who knows. It might just be dead. More time wasted, and more money, and more hope. He had turned down other projects, too, thinking he’d be filming in America. Now he has nothing. Just one movie for the rest of the year. One More Shot. He’ll be filming that in London soon. But who knows. Maybe that falls through, too.

adkins and jeanclaude van damme in universal soldier day of reckoning 2012

Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012).

Cinematic Collection//Alamy

It’s only been a few years since Scott took a movie to pay bills. He had just bought his house, in Birmingham. Really stretched himself. Spent money he was supposed to be paying back. He took the first movie job available. It wasn’t good. Before the house, there was another time when he took the first job available. That was 2010, when his wife was pregnant with their first child and they were broke. He had just done a Boyka movie, but he didn’t get paid much for it. (Boyka was always low-budget; Boyka never paid much.) For the first time, Scott asked himself, Can I support a family like this? Do I need to do something else?

Things changed for Scott only about six years ago. The work has become more consistent. But sometimes it feels like it all could end. Schedules are tight for B movies: Scott must shoot the whole thing in two or three weeks. He has to do each fight scene in a single day; a blockbuster film might dedicate an entire week to a fight. If he gets hurt, production is fucked.

He thinks about what he might be able to do with more money. He remembers filming John Wick: Chapter 4 with Keanu Reeves. Just last summer. It will be one of his biggest films. He remembers the set, a warehouse turned into a nightclub, a huge waterfall. A $10 million set. He remembers looking up and gaping.

fade in, berlin july 2021 a year ago ext outside a restaurant

IT IS pissing down outside. Torrential rain. SCOTT runs into the restaurant. Beside him, also running in, KEANU REEVES.

KEANU: “Hey.”

SCOTT: “Shit, Keanu! How are you doing, mate?”

The two have not yet met.

If Scott were to list the top five greatest action stars ever, Keanu would be there. Beside Schwarzenegger and Stallone and Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise. And here he is now. Keanu. Drenched. Standing beside him.

adkins as killa in john wick chapter 4 2023

Adkins as Killa in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023).

What it is that makes a man a star?

Scott’s skills, his years of work, they are undeniable. Tae kwon do, kickboxing, wushu, kung fu, jeet kune do, capoeira, krav maga. What he doesn’t know, he picks up on set from other fighters—karate, aikido, jujitsu, Thai boxing, the list goes on. He can’t move like Boyka. Not anymore. But he’s still got it. And his face. Is it not the face of an action star? Cropped black hair, wiry over the forehead, a dark brow, granite jaw. He looks like Bruce Wayne.

What it is that makes a man a star?

Why Ben Affleck and not Scott Adkins? Why Keanu Reeves and not Scott Adkins?



Scott Adkins vs Keanu Reeves.

Scott is on his back, lying on a soaking mat/puddle, as waterfall rain drenches him and his opponent, Keanu, who is on top of him, just beating the absolute shit out of him. A right punch two inches from his chin. Then a left, buried into his shoulder. And then a right, pounding down into his sternum.

They have been shooting for weeks.

When they began, CHAD STAHELSKI—the director, the man who once tried to recruit Scott to be a stuntman—said as a greeting:

CHAD: Welcome to John Wick. Welcome to pain.

Sometimes Keanu comes onto set limping. Also totally beat up.

They shoot each fight scene from one angle—just one. Not from seven with a dozen cameras. And then they shoot it again. Take after take after take. And then they switch angles, and do it all over again. Take after take after take. And then…

CHAD: Another.

CHAD: Another.

CHAD: Another.

So they do another.

What it is that makes a man a star?

There is at least one answer—as to what makes Scott the star he is. It is an eternal Hollywood truth: Stars like Keanu will always need people like Scott. They need someone to lose.

“You have to give,” Chad says. Give is Chad’s word for lose. “It’s a dance. Scott’s got an energy that feels like he’s giving, he’s helping. You’re accenting the other person. You’re not trying to screw them up like a real fight. Or off-balance them. You’re trying to guide him through and raise them up. No matter who fights with Scott, they’re gonna get better. He lifts you up. He’s a good dance partner. He makes you look good.”

This content is imported from youTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

“I Am Going To Kill You!” Scene | JOHN WICK 4 (2023) Movie CLIP 4K

Watch on

This is an image

When Chad called Scott for John Wick, he needed someone to make Keanu look really good. And Chad always wanted Scott. That lunch back in London those years ago, when he gave Scott the brutal truth, Chad was only half serious. He had a reason. “The B side of that is: Don’t just do action movies,” Chad remembers saying. “Reach out and take risks. Yes, right now, [that] was the perception. Not how I see it.”

Chad gave Scott a break. But he also gave him a risk. When he cast Scott, he told him what he had in mind for his character: Scott was going to act in a fat suit. He would look 100 pounds heavier. He would be punching and kicking after hours in a makeup chair, adding chins to his face and girth to his waist. He would wear grills. He would look ridiculous. Scott’s biggest movie. His biggest movie and he’s wearing a fat suit. His biggest movie and even if you knew him, you wouldn’t recognize his face.

“I always thought Scott was going to be something,” says Chad. “I still believe. He’s got a long way to go. And he’s gonna get there. . . . We all have different paths. It’s just a matter of time. It’s not so much, you know, Why hasn’t Scott [become big] as much as it is When will he?”


Scott in his fat suit lying in a puddle, getting—WHACK!—ground and pounded by one his top five action heroes.

You can almost see it.

You can almost see him grin.

fade in birmingham, england, november 2022


Well, not canceled. Moved. They are supposed to shoot at Stansted Airport next month. Stansted Airport is undergoing last-minute repairs. Can’t shoot there now. Will have to shoot in February. Let’s hope it happens. Until then, Scott won’t have another movie for the rest of the year.

“So yeah, it’s not good,” he says. He pauses. “Man, this is a bit of a negative interview, this one, innit?” He grins.

He’s sitting in his training room, his home gym, a padded wrestling room with pullup bars and kickboxing equipment, dimly lit now with red lights. A punching bag hovers like a bouncer in the corner. It’s Scott’s dojo. The dream. What he tried to do with his dad’s garage all those years ago.

Scott’s feeling . . . okay. In a few months, John Wick will come out. It’ll be big. He doesn’t want things to seem all doom and gloom. Reality is, getting movies made right now: It sucks. Funding is falling through. Shock waves from a struggling economy, an industry moving to streaming. It is what it is.

He is prone to reverie in moments like these. The movies of past decades. The days of VHS, before online pirating made straight-to-DVD, so many of his own movies, unprofitable. Before the death of the martial-arts star. Before handheld shaky cameras and seizure-inducing editing replaced actual on-camera fighting. Before VFX artists could digitally superimpose a star’s face on a stuntman and call it a day. Before the superhero movies took over . . . 

But we’re getting negative again. The times are just changing.

Scott remembers being 30, being Boyka. He was, in those years, a beast, he says, at the absolute peak of his physicality. He remembers the moment it all caught up to him, the realization that he was getting older, that his body couldn’t take the same beating anymore.

It was 2011. A few jobs had fallen through. Scott’s wife had just had their first kid, and they needed the money. He took a stunt job. It was for The Dark Knight Rises. He was to double Tom Hardy as Bane and then Christian Bale as Batman. He would be in costume when production started. No one would see his face. But Scott Adkins was going to finally do it. He was going to be Batman. He was fitted with the costume one day. Underneath the cowl they put a women’s sanitary towel to mop up the sweat, which took away from the moment, just a bit. The suit was bulky, too, like American-football shoulder pads. Scott could barely move and kick.

They rehearsed for six weeks. It was the fight sequence in which Bane breaks Batman over his knee.

And then Scott tore his ACL.

He had to leave production. No more stunts. He continued on his path to being a star. He never ended up shooting a single scene in the bat suit.

Scott thinks about his career, his choices. Maybe he shouldn’t have done so many stunt roles. Maybe he should have finished drama school and gone the traditional way, done straight acting. Not flown back and forth to China for every martial-arts film.

He remembers his second time filming with Jackie Chan, after Istanbul, his first massive movie, this time in Ireland. All those years ago . . .


Scott Adkins vs. Jackie Chan.

Scott’s first huge movie fight. He has to kick Jackie in the chest. If he does it right, if he impresses Chan, he will be given the final fight; losing to Jackie Chan in the final fight will be an honor. But first he has to kick him—hard but not too hard. The first couple kicks: too soft

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER: “Hit him harder!”

A man from Jackie’s team comes over, whispers something sharply to Scott.

STUNTMAN: “Be very careful!”

Shit, Scott thinks. But he does it. He kicks Jackie in the chest—hard but not too hard. He gets the final fight.


“I remember after that fight scene just thinking to myself, This is the best day of my life,” Scott says. “Having fought Jackie Chan and acquitted myself well—and everything you’ve dreamed of up to that point. Being tested and coming through with flying colors. I remember just feeling so happy.

“And I had that feeling again, maybe 15 years later, when I was invited to the Jackie Chan Action Movie Awards, and I was presented with the award for best action actor, and best fight sequence, for the film Boyka: Undisputed.

“I don’t want an Oscar,” Scott says with finality. “That’s not what I’m in this game for. I’m in this game to get an award from Jackie Chan.”

“i remember after that fight scene just thinking to myself, this is the best day of my life having fought jackie chan and acquitted myself well and everything you’ve dreamed of up to that point ”

There is no grin.

Scott is serious.

Maybe he wants that award for a bigger role. (Batman, Bond, the Punisher; he especially likes that last one.) Maybe, having in his 20s tried to become Jackie Chan, that man at the bazaar those years ago, maybe Scott wants to be the one giving awards, having become the legend. We all tell ourselves stories about who we are, who we might become. Sometimes we move on. Sometimes we outgrow the stories. But sometimes the stories outgrow us. Isn’t it better this way? To always be reaching. But to also lean back in our chairs and see ourselves postered above, in whatever role we have found, whatever role makes us proud. Maybe Scott wants a bigger role. But, for now, Boyka will be his legacy. His less watched John Wick. His lower-budget Rocky Balboa. Boyka may not be enough, but Boyka means . . . something. Doesn’t it?

Scott isn’t always sure what, exactly, Boyka means. Or what, exactly, it means that he’s in John Wick: Chapter 4, in one of the biggest action-movie franchises in the world—with one of the biggest action stars in the world. Scott knows only that he is not that star. His plan didn’t work out exactly, and he’s already 46. But he’s gotten a hell of a lot closer than most people get to their dreams. And he’s only 46.

There is a sad but redemptive end to the story of Yuri Boyka. Always he wins, but always he is imprisoned. The franchise ends with Boyka returning to the prison ring, fighting for a small audience of inmates, performing for a few who appreciate his craft while the majority outside hardly know his name.




We go close on a man. He is silhouetted in black against the blue hallway. He walks toward the camera. The chants of those in a far-off room grow with intensity. The man steps into the light. SCOTT ADKINS as YURI BOYKA. He moves determinedly forward, and the camera swivels to track his destination: a roped boxing ring surrounded by cages. The man walks into the ring and turns now to the screaming crowd, the other inmates.

They are rattling the bars, the ring before them.

As the man raises his fists in preemptive triumph, they continue the chant, now deafening.

They chant:




This content is imported from youTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Scott Adkins vs Jackie Chan Fight Scene – The Medallion Action Movie Clip

Watch on

This is an image

A version of this story appears in the May/June issue of Men’s Health.

Headshot of Joshua St. Clair

Assistant Editor

Joshua St Clair is an Assistant Editor at Men’s Health Magazine. 

This article was originally posted here.

Comments are closed.