Halloween Kingathon – Maximum Overdrive (1986) From Tranquil Dreams

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Kim from Tranquil Dreams brings us this review on Stephen King’s only directed film, let’s see what she thinks

 

 

maximum overdrive posterDirector: Stephen King

Cast: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, John Short, Holter Graham


A comet just flew over the world.  At a truck stop, a few people stop there and get stuck there when what everyone assumes is the radiation from the comet is causing the machines to start having a mind of their own.  Is it possession or is the world turning around? No one knows what is going on but they only wish that when the comet leaves, things will go back to normal.  Or else, they have no idea how long they can last stuck in the truck stop. 


maximum overdrive group

Maximum Overdrive is one of my guilty pleasures.  It was made the year I was born.  I actually didn’t know that until I was doing research for that review, or maybe I did but it slipped my mind.  Regardless, its a fun campy little movie. I’ve never read the short story that this movie is based on but with the author at the helm, there is a lot of heart.  It reflects what the story itself wanted its readers to see, at least I’m guessing that is a safe bet. Its no masterpiece and the effects are super dated with these laser-y textures and neon-ish lights for the weird comet covering the area.  On our modern day spoiled with great effects days, this movie certainly doesn’t age well but the heart in this is incredible and I think its for that I truly love it. Plus, the soundtrack is AC/DC.  I’m not huge on that usually but it was a perfect fit. 


maximum overdrive emilio estevez

The characters are also very balanced.  We have a good group of people here with different personalities that help cause a little friction.  There’s always the hero and the girl, a mean and selfish boss character, a not so righteous religious guy, a father and son story and most of all, a very memorably annoying newly wed couple.  Emilio Estevez is something like the hero here and while maybe the layout of the story gets a little messy with a ton of subplots going on, his performance is quite commendable.  In fact, some sub-characters are quite over the top.  But at times, it just gave it some laugh out loud moments. 


maximum overdrive trucks

The key to enjoying Maximum Overdrive is to not take it seriously because it doesn’t take itself seriously at all.  Its about trucks and machines going crazy and coming to life.  While it does show that we have a huge reliance on machines, and its probably even more relevant now, the story is decent and a ton of fun.  Stephen King may not be making masterpiece in the director’s chair but he does have a lot of heart and we know exactly what he wants us to get from this story.  Its entertaining and an adventure even if its a little dated. Every once in a while, that’s what we need: suspend our disbeliefs a little, shut our brains off for an hour or two and just get a good laugh out of some random stuff that can happen. And that is exactly how I enjoy Maximum Overdrive

Halloween Kingathon – Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Banner-2ogoDirector: Stephen King

Writer: Stephen King (Screenplay)

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, John Short, Ellen McElduff, J.C. Quinn, Christopher Murney, Holter Graham, Frankie Faison

Plot: A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: This is Why he Writes

Story: Maximum Overdrive starts with some science explaining ow Earth will be inside radiation from a passing comet for eight days. We follow as a small town starts to get over run by the machines and Bill Robinson (Estevez) an employee at a small diner has to lead the survivors in their quest to survive as the machines try to find the most graphic ways to kill people. Diner manager Bubba (Hingle) brings the weapons and newly-weds Connie (Smith) and Curtis (Short) end up trapped in the diner on the way to their honeymoon.

Maximum Overdrive is one of those invasion like ideas that tries to do something original, but this ends up being something I don’t want to see again. It really gets a lot stuck in the middle of the ideas and never decides if it wants to be a comedy or something serious. The characters get zero development and as for the science angle that just ends up feeling out of place. This is easily one of those films that will get put in the bracket of that bad you have to see though. (3/10)

Actor Review

Emilio Estevez: Bill Robinson is the diner employee who has to step up to protect his friends and customers when they become trapped inside the diner surrounded by trucks with minds of their own. Emilio doesn’t get the most time to show his talents in this role. (4/10)

Support Cast: Maximum Overdrive has a group of survivors who all have different traits which can either help or hinder their chance of making it.

Director Review: Stephen King Stephen has admitted this was a bad film and he knows what he is talking about. (3/10)

Action: Maximum Overdrive has action packed kills but doesn’t really make the most of the chances it has. (5/10)

Comedy: Maximum Overdrive has a few funny moments but never reaches full levels it could. (4/10)

Horror: Maximum Overdrive doesn’t reach any of the horror level required for this style of film. (3/10)

Sci-Fi: Maximum Overdrive tries to add a sci-fi angle but never looks into the idea enough. (4/10)

Settings: Maximum Overdrive put of group trapped works for the film and could be the only highlight out there. (7/10)

Suggestion: Maximum Overdrive is a be drunk to enjoy film. (Watch Drunk)

Best Part: Can machine.

Worst Part: Most of it.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $7.5 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Imagine your worst nightmare: machines take over the world!

Trivia: Stephen King, being a former cocaine addict, later admitted that he was “coked out of my mind” the entire time he was making this picture and often didn’t know what he was doing. He remarked that he’d like to try directing again someday, this time sober.

Overall: This was so bad I might give away my DVD of it.

Rating 20