Bullet Points: Maximum Risk
I used to hold Van Damme to a seriously high standard. And really, why shouldn’t I? Dude made Bloodsport, Universal Soldier, Kickboxer, and Lionheart in a matter of four years. Most guys don’t make that many kickass films in their entire career. When you produce so many great things that quickly then you are bound to get people’s hopes up that you can keep it up for your career. I know that when I first started dating my wife I was probably the greatest boyfriend in history but now she’s married to me and there are maybe a half-dozen better husbands than me running around out there. So you see, it isn’t uncommon for all of us to let down our people from time to time. Does that mean that Maximum Risk is a letdown? Well, you can be the judge of that.
The Gist: Alain Moreau is surprised one day to find that his twin brother whom he has never met was found dead. Alain travels to the USA and is mistaken for his dead bro (classic) by the very men who were after his brother Mikhail and Alain is now on the run with his bro’s ex squeeze Alex. With mobsters and dirty federal agents on his tail, Alain will have to find out who killed his brother in time to save his own skin. He’ll also have to find time to bang his brother’s ex. Score!
The Cast: JCVD plays a pair of brothers for the third time in his career and while this isn’t on par with the awesome Double Impact, it isn’t as bad as Replicant. Van Damme was starting his downward spiral here but still does a decent job. Natasha Henstridge is very sexy, that is no secret, but she is almost too hot for the role. It was kind of distracting at times and my penis can only get so hard. One of my favorite characters was the random cab driver. He got a few minutes of screen time that didn’t really make much sense but his eventual death gave the two main characters a chance to actually act.
The Villain: There are a ton of people chasing JCVD in this one and I suppose I’ll say a bit about each. First of all, they are all terrible at killing a guy. Jesus! There are so many opportunities to kill Alain that are total failures the only real explanation is that they must work for the government… BOOM! They actually do work for the government so you can blame Obama for them sucking so bad. Fire these guys immediately! Paul Ben-Victor is one of the only recognizable people here and he plays his usual slimy character. I really dug the JCVD fight scenes with bad guy Stefano Miltsakakis but even he should be shot for incompetence. I think they have three different fight scenes; I guess no one else could throw a decent punch so he had to sit in for Bolo Yeung and just keep fighting Van Damme for the entire film.
The Action: There are a couple of decent action set pieces in this film but as an early Van Damme movie it appears to be lacking that one big scene to set it apart and push it into the “good” range. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad film. It really tries to make us like Alain but once he bumped uglies with his dead brothers girlfriend I knew we wouldn’t get along. Stefanos Miltsakakis and Jean Claude have a couple of good knock down, drag out fights but even that couldn’t save this film from the lackluster ending that it provides. A guy did get hit by a train, though, so that was pretty funny.
Take it Home:
- Contractual obligation: You can’t have a JCVD action movie without some nudity! He’ll pull his butt cheeks out at the drop of a hat but we get to get a peek at what is hiding under Natasha Henstridge’s tank top as well.
- Helmer: Directed by longtime Hong Kong director Ringo Lam.
- Favorite Quote: When a dude talks about wanting to kill Jean Claude’s ass he tells him to “take a number.”
- Not a good start: It’s never good to start your action film with JCVD running away from a couple of un-intimidating looking dudes. Turn around and kick their asses!
The Verdict: Maximum Risk isn’t going to make you into a Van Damme fan. In fact, if you’re not a fan of “The Muscles from Brussels” then you probably won’t enjoy this film very much. He lacks the charisma that he’s been carrying around since No Retreat, No Surrender and even the good parts of the movie can’t make up for it. If you’re reading this site there is a good chance that you are a fan of the man so you should definitely check it out. Just don’t go trying to convert non-action fans to our side with this flick.