Two of Hollywood’s biggest (in every sense of the word) action heroes have joined forces to produce (Seagal) and executive produce (Austin) a film together, and Maximum Conviction is the result.
Being a fan of both Seagal and Austin I was quite looking forwards to seeing this action-man mash up, but sadly, not long into the film, I realised I would probably have to wait a bit longer for something good to come out of these two action giants coming together under one studio roof.
Cross (Seagal) and Manning (Austin) are in the process of decommissioning a high security detention centre when a couple of women prisoners turn up needing their supervision overnight until they can be moved on. However, a group of violent mercenaries are after one of the women who is in possession of some highly classified information that their employer requires. The mercenaries therefore infiltrate the detention centre, via a specially modified garbage truck run by Trojan Systems (a bit of a giveaway there me thinks!), and all hell breaks loose as the few remaining guards, including our rugged heroes have to defend themselves and protect their prisoners. A promising start, story-wise, even if it does borrow heavily from John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, but I’m afraid, unlike the film they’re paying homage to Maximum Conviction doesn’t ever reach the same levels of tension or entertainment that Carpenter’s film does.
While the film has good action credentials it squanders them on too many routine and therefore boring shootouts mostly set in very similar looking corridors, which quickly becomes very repetitive. Steven Seagal looks like he’s eaten too many fellow cast members in between takes – he’s enormous – and this affects the audience believing him capable of being an action lead. The battle armour he has on doesn’t help either – it makes him look about four stone heavier! When he does get to fight it’s more fast-cut patter-cake rather than the proper Akido he’s world renown for. It’s a shame really as Seagal used to be able to bust some very impressive moves in his youth, but nowadays he tends to amble around like an overgrown telly-tubby with slicked back black hair and a slightly miffed expression on his face!
Austin fares a little better, although he looks bored for the most part, as if he knows the film’s probably going to be a clunker so he can’t really be arsed! He has a couple of OK fight scenes and you can at least hear what he’s saying most of the time, unlike Seagal who seems to have taken recorded mumbling to a whole new level…
Don’t get me wrong, there is stuff to like about Maximum Conviction – it’s reasonably well shot, although the editing can be a bit annoying at times, it moves along at quite a fast pace so you never really get truly bored and there are enough scraps, gunfights and cheesy one-liners to keep most less demanding action fans satisfied. In fact the best fight sequences in the film involve secondary and younger members of the cast who at least look like they’re making a bit of an effort and want to impress their audience – maybe Seagal and Austin should have had smaller roles and let the youngsters carry the film instead; it would have been considerably better, me thinks.
Michael Parė is also a bit wasted as the main villain of the piece and his final face off with Seagal is disappointing, although, to be fair, he does come across as being a really nasty piece of work so at least he did make an effort acting-wise. However, Brit actor and martial artist, Bren Foster comes up trumps with a great fight scene toward the end of the film and Aliyah O’Brien also proves her chops in the action category pulling out some cool moves while managing to look sexy simultaneously; not an easy feat I’d say.
Maximum Conviction is an OK B-movie type of action film, but it would have been a hell of a lot better had it’s main stars had a bit more conviction in their respective roles – see what I did there! I just hope that Austin comes up with another Recoil soon and Seagal pulls his finger out, loses a bit of weight and comes up with something as decent as his best more recent film, A Dangerous Man.
Maximum Conviction is out at the moment on the StudioCanal label. The DVD has no extras – not even a trailer – so is a pretty poor package really.
Reviewer: Justin Richards