Writer: Larry Ferguson (Screenplay)
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger
Plot: A cop/flic discovers that he had a twin who just got murdered in Nice, France. In order to find out who did it, he takes his place including the cute girlfriend in Little Odessa, NYC.
Tagline – The other side of safe.
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Typical Van Damme
Story: Maximum Risk starts when a French police detective Alain Moreau (Van Damme) sees a man killed, the man looks identical to him and Alain learns that he did in fact have a twin brother. Alain must now look to investigate the murder of his twin brother with his partner Sebastien (Anglade).
Alain learns that his brother was adopted by a Russian family and that he has gone onto to raise up the Russian mob, only he is wanted by them, Alain is joined by Alex (Henstridge) his brother’s girlfriend as they look to bring down Ivan (Grenier) the leader of the Russian Mob.
Thoughts on Maximum Risk
Characters – Alain is a French police detective that lives a normal life in Nice, his life if turned upside down when he finds a body that looks identical to himself, learning that he does have a twin brother. Alain go in search for answers which leads him to New York city and the Russian mob, here Alain must learn who he can trust and why his brother is killed, while showing all his fighting skills. Alex is the brother’s girlfriend, she knows he danger Alain has walked into and will help him get out of the life of crime that his brother was part of. Sebastien is the partner of Alain back in France, he has worked with him for years, only he stays in France for the investigation. Ivan Dzasokhov is the Russian that has been hunting down Alain, he wants something that he posses and knows it could give up his freedom is the secret it released.
Performances – Jean-Claude Van Damme is the man we know for action, when he gets to fight we know we get quality scenes, when it comes to becoming serious he isn’t on the same level. Natasha Henstridge was fresh of the back of Species here and easily fit the role for looks, while never getting her chance to do much more. The rest of the cast fill their roles to help make Van Damme look good in the action sequences.
Story – The story follows a man that must unlock the mystery behind why his unknown brother was murdered, which sees him enter the world of the Russian mob. Let’s be honest, the story isn’t always the most important part of any Van Damme movie, we just want to watch him kick people’s asses. This story puts him in a place where he just doesn’t know where each step will take him, we get plenty of people that want Alain dead which shows he doesn’t know who to trust, but we always know that he is going to come out on top, it is an easy relaxing action film for the story side of things.
Action/Crime/Mystery – The action here involves Van Damme doing his thing, kicking ass regardless of the size of the opponent. We follow a police officer entering the world of the Russian mob which brings us into the crime elements of the story, while the mystery comes from just who could be trusted during this time.
Settings – The film takes place in two main cities, Nice in France and New York, we do get the fish out of water idea with Alain in New York here.
Final Thoughts – This is a simple easy to follow action movie that we are used to seeing from Van Damme.
Overall: Simple Van Damme Action Film.
ABC Film Challenge Non-Review Selection
I won’t be doing reviews for everything letter, so here are my pick for today.
ABC Film Challenge
Why I’ve Picked this choice – This is a Netflix suggestion, it is a Bollywood film, one that could be used to talk about crime, if you have seen it, let me know what you think about it.
Writer: Mark Pickering, Martin J Pickering (Screenplay)
Starring: Duncan Casey, Justin Marosa, Kitt Proudfoot, Samantha Schnitzler, Jasmin Clark, Laura Coleman
Plot: After being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group demonic, flesh eating Witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches honey trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls.
Tagline – A Harvest for the Devil
Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Blood Splatter Fun
Story: Wicked Witches starts when Mark (Casey) gets thrown out by his wife, turning to his old friend Ian (Marosa) who lives on a farm where the men grew up on, partying and away from the world, it isn’t long before Mark sees the Ian isn’t acting the way he used to though.
Mark is joined by another friend Stevie (Proudfoot) for a party, but the strangeness around Ian continues to grow as the women in the local area seem to be putting spells on the men, with Mark becoming the latest target from the flesh hungry witches.
Thoughts on Wicked Witches
Characters – Mark has just been kicked out by his wife, he had been the one cheating on her and turns to an old friend to help him get back on his feet, he returns to a childhood party location, where he brings his friends down for a party only to learn that a coven of flesh eating witches are waiting for their next prey, he must fight to survive, Mark is like that friend you have that always talks up his cocky attitude and we don’t learn much about him other than this. Ian is the man living in the farm, he is happy to reunite with an old friend, only he has changed, he can snap at a click of the fingers and isn’t as friendly as Mark remembers, he is filled with surprises though. Stevie is the best friend who also arrives for the party, he helps to continue to bring out the worst in Mark with his attitude towards drink, drugs and women. The High Priestess is the one controlling the witches, she has the other witches help her collect the souls required.
Performances – Duncan Casey does have the most to do through this film being the lead, he does bring us the cocky figure with ease, but like most performers, the scared reaction scenes are over the top. Justin Marosa does do the snap of a fingers switch well through this film. Kitt Proudfoot doesn’t get enough time to make him go to the full into the worst side of his character. Samantha Schnitzler leads the host of beautiful women being the witches in the film.
Story – The story follows a recently kicked out man that turns to an old friend only to find himself being hunted down by flesh eating witches. The story isn’t the deepest and doesn’t bring us the most likable characters in Mark, Ian or Stevie, we don’t get enough focus on the witches either which does disappoint because once they are unleashed, we get the blood splatter. The story does have a lot of almost filler which just follows the party or travel sequences and by the end we get everything in this story which is just blood splatter horror, letting the effects tell the story over anything else.
Horror – The horror in the film comes from the witches, with a lot of unsettling moments early on before letting the blood flow later on.
Settings – The film is set in a remote English farm, which does what we need in this film, create isolation for the witches.
Special Effects – The effects in this film come from the witches getting their hands on their victims, we get the blood covered moments through the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a fun blood splatter horror, we get simple characters but plenty of blood.
Overall: Fun Horror.
Writer: Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur (Screenplay)
Starring: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols, Simon Reynolds, Philip Akin, Stephanie Moore, Miranda Edwards
Plot: A businesswoman is pursued by a psychopath after being locked in a parking garage on Christmas Eve.
Tagline – A New Level of Terror
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Standard Forgettable Horror
Story: P2 starts as businesswoman Angela (Nichols) starts running late to her family’s Christmas party after her work party, gets trapped inside her work structure after her car fails to start, leaving her at the hands of security guard Thomas (Bentley).
As the night unfolds Thomas puts Angela through a string off tests, before she tries to figure out a way to escape this psychopath.
Thoughts on P2
Characters – Angela is a businesswoman that finds herself working late too often becoming more distant from her family, while not starting her own. When another late night finds her car breaking down and missing her taxi, she finds herself locked in the parking structure being chased down by the crazed security guard. Thomas is the security guard that has his own plan for Christmas, to keep Angela locked inside completing his twisted ideas.
Performances – A crazy Wes Bentley is always something we like to see, but even he doesn’t reach the levels we would like to see him get too. Rachel Nichols is fine in the leading role as the damsel in distress, trying to fight back.
Story – The story is very simple, crazed man prevents girl from escaping her parking lot only to want to get involved in a game to se how far he can push her. There isn’t much more to this story, we get glimpses into the idea that he is doing this to protect her against men that have done wrong, but otherwise, it is a cut and dry story with little in the way of twists along the way.
Crime/Horror – The crime comes from what Thomas does, which works for the film, the horror never reaches the levels he could do for where the film tries to go.
Settings – The film is set inside the parking lot which does make for a good setting with no escape once locked in.
Special Effects – The effects are used when needed, the film doesn’t rely on them, when it could easily do so.
Final Thoughts – This is a crime horror that grabs the basic ingredients and does nothing interesting with the story to make it a stand out.
Overall: Not worth the time it takes.