Hey gang, Valkor here. Stone Cold Steve Austin's movie career – rather direct to video career, is pretty much rock solid in my book; the last few films that have come across my desk that he's starred in have scored pretty well (i.e. Recoil and Tactical Force). In this next piece, Maximum Conviction DVD, Austin teams up martial artist great Steven Seagal. The title sounds pretty bad ass and for the most part, it is. Major spoilers ahead.
Maximum Conviction centers on Black Ops Operatives Cross (Seagal) and Manning (Austin), who are sent to this "shadow" prison to shut it down. At that moment, the prison receives two female prisoners who are of the top-most priority; first up is Charlotte (Aliyah O'Brien). She's quiet, reserved, but you can tell there's malice behind that smile of hers. Next is Samantha (Steph Song); fidgety, high strung, she's the one who holds a secret that she literally carries deep within in. Why is it important mentioning these two? Well a group of mercenaries have snuck onto the prison and their prime targets are the two women. And now it's now up to Manning and Cross to split up, find out what the mercenaries' plans are, get the girl, and retrieve the package she holds before the bad guys get at it. Get it? Got it? Good!
This isn't Seagal's first outing here at TOV; Epic-1 had the honor of reviewing two films – The Keeper (4 stars) and Against the Dark (2.5 stars). And while I might be new at "reviewing" a Seagal film, I'm totally aware of his past theatrical films, but not so much his straight to DVD stuff. By the title of this film alone I was excited, but as far as execution goes…
Maximum Conviction wasn't the worse film I ever sat through, however there were times I wanted to walk away from it (see "The Bad"). But in the end, I made it through – twice, and enjoyed the experience overall. The story, if you look at it not just from my synopsis but anywhere else, it seems pretty straight forward; and for the most part it is. The plot is rock solid, simple, and the film does its best to stick with it. On the whole the film is action-drive; there's no backstory to anyone character, no real character development, we literally follow these two guys in and around this prison as they shoot up a bunch of mercs and for that I loved it! The action is a lot of fun and is mostly run and gun, with a few explosions here and there, and a bunch of fist fights; I loved Austin's makeshift use of a flamethrower – freakin crazy! The dialogue is mad cheesy, but tolerable and the acting isn't entirely bad, not the greatest but it doesn't detract much. Stone Cold pretty much plays the same type of guy I've seen in most of his films, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for this type of film. Dude looks great and is such a bad ass doing what he does best and that's kick a lot of ass! Seagal, while a bit sluggish (the dude is up there in age), still does a nice enough job, even though during some fight scenes the camera is kept tight around his upper body, but for the most part, he still puts on quite a show. PerfectView hotty, bad ass, no doubt goes to Aliyah O'Brien, whom I was hoping beyond hope would get a shower scene but watching her kick some big dude's ass, beating him into the ground, was just as satisfying. Overall, not bad Maximum Conviction. Not bad at all.
The first 30 minutes of the film is rather sloppy; it's almost as though everyone was improvising until the whole "chasing the baddies through the prison and save the girl" kicks in. There's no real direction and stuff just seems to happen. But once you get past that, then the film starts to get better. Next, while there's loads of action, there's no real tension. And what I mean by that is there's so much going on, especially in the beginning, that it's difficult to keep track of the story thus no build up. A lot of stuff happens, but there's no sense of urgency. I think maybe that stems from the fact that the film is predictable and the only people who die are the ones you don't care about. Finally that ending - I laughed my ass off. So Cross and Manning stop the baddies and save the girl, thus getting the information that was held on the chip that was inside Samantha. That information turned out to be untraceable money, which the two decide to split amongst them. OK that wasn't really all that bad, just unexpected. And it's a nice segue into part two, should they decide to make another film.
When Aliyah dies. And to quote Peanutbutter from the film Flypaper: It's like, extra sad when a hot chick dies. When an ugly chick dies, it's like, their life probably sucked anyway, so it's no big deal.
Maximum Conviction is available now on DVD, Blu-Ray combo pack, and digital formats. And while it's no Expendables, it's the kind of film you'd like to have around for a lazy Saturday afternoon and you're simply looking for some on-screen mayhem. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give the film a 3.5.