Directed by: Martin Owen
Written by: Sally Collet & Martin Owen
Starring: Scott Adkins, John Hannah, Lashanna Lynch, Isabelle Allen, Tommy Flanagan, Elliot James Langridge, Franz Drameh
BBFC Classification: 12
It’s retro day-glow, video game inspired, sci-fi fun in The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, a homage to video games of yesterday and a showcase for action star Scott Adkins to flex his comedy muscles.
It’s 1990 (ah, halcyon days!) and The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud is one of the best video games going. A retro, side-ways scrolling, 16 bit (read: best kind) of video game it sees Max Cloud (Adkins) and his crew of space adventurers battling evil across the universe. It’s the favourite game of Sarah (Isabelle Allen) who despite her dad’s objections at playing the game, finds herself sucked into the game and embodying the character of Jake (Elliot James Langridge). It’s then up to Sarah’s buddy Cowboy (Franz Drameh) to take control and navigate Sarah/Jake through Max Cloud’s latest adventure, which sees him and the crew crash land on the planet of Heinous and do battle with space ninjas (yes, space ninjas!) and the evil galactic warlord The Revenger (John Hannah).
From the get-go, Max Cloud wear’s it’s sense of retro fun proudly on its sleeve and while it can’t always keep up with its ambitions, this is a lot of creative, action-packed, silly fun. The slick visual style to create the video game world is well realised and sets the tone: bright bubble-gum sheen that enhances the videogame/comic book stylings. Likewise, everything is played full tilt with characters over-the-top, fake American accents through the roof, and action enhanced to highlight video games of the 1990s. Played a little like an old Saturday morning cartoon or an episode of Power Rangers (complete with over-the-top costumes and hamming it up!) this all adds to the sense of fun and it’s obvious the makers have a lot of nostalgic love for video games and silly entertainment from the 80s/90s.
While everyone is game and certainly embraces the over-the-top nature of proceedings and the makers have crafted a groovy 1990s video game world, the film suffers from an energy lag in the mid-section, lacking the momentum and peppiness this type of flick needs. While the movie has scope its resources don’t always reach it as sets are limited to the same 2 or 3 and when the action gets too big/contains too many cool looking creatures it reverts to showing it through the video game Cowboy is playing (meaning we’re denied a cool fight scene with an multi armed alien!). However, creativity is always on show and the cast for the most part fully embrace the bonkers nature of proceedings. John Hannah and Lashanna Lynch are on fine villain hamming fun, Elliot James Langridge does well as the avatar possessed player and Adkins all but steals the show as the full-of-himself hero. He’s got a knack for comedy, sends up his tough-guy-hero persona well and keeps everything propelling along with well-timed comedy and high-kicks.
Yep, Adkins still gets to cut loose in some cool fight scenes (with those aforementioned pesky space ninjas: should have been more fights with them!) and there is a surprisingly high gore quota for a 12. Max Cloud will no doubt divide those into the either love it or hate it camps but those willing to give it a chance will find a lot to enjoy. Plus, anything that celebrates old-school, 90s, 16-bit, scrolling video games (and features Stan Bush’s Dare) gets a thumbs up from this 2-bit reviewer.
101 Films will release The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud in the UK on digital, DVD & Blu-ray Monday 18th January 2021.