16th Mar2013

‘Maximum Conviction’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Steven Seagal, Steve Austin, Bren Foster, Steph Song, Aliyah O’Brien, Michael Pare | Written by Richard Beattie | Directed by Keoni Waxman

max-convict

Yes, you read that cast list right, two of the biggest straight to DVD action stars, ex-cinematic hard man Steven Seagal and former WWE wrestler ”Stone Cold”  Steve Austin have teamed up under the auspices of director Keoni Waxman, who previously directed Austin in the better than average Hunt to Kill and eight episodes of Seagal’s TV series True Justice, for a film that sees the duo star as former black ops turned partners Steele (Seagal) and Manning (Austin) who are assigned to decommission an old prison and oversee the arrival of two mysterious female prisoners… However before long, an elite force of mercenaries assault the prison in search of the new arrivals. As the true identities of the women are revealed, Steele realizes he’s caught in the middle of something far bigger than he had imagined.

It’s safe to say that a few years ago Maximum Conviction would have been an action movie fans wet dream – two badass as movie hard men together in one film – but times have changed and both “stars” are not the men they once were. Seagal has been lumbering through straight to DVD movie after straight to DVD movie, with only 2007′s Renegade Justice (aka Urban Justice for you international folks racing this review) and his foray into television offering any glimmer of hope, whilst Austin seems to be treading a similar DTV path – for every decent Hunt to Kill and Knockout, there’s a risible The Stranger and Tactical Force.

However being the sucker for straight to DVD action movies that I am, I was actually excited to see Maximum Conviction. After all, despite my protestations to the vary degrees of quality the duo’s film output has been, nothing beats watching two brawlers come together in one film – just look at films like Universal Soldier and it’s sequels, Tango & Cash and even low budget movies like  the Billy Blanks/”Rowdy” Roddy Piper flick Back in Action and Sci-Fighter, starring Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock and Lorenzo Lamas no less! It’s safe to say that if you stick two or more action heroes in one film it’s going to at least intrigue me if not get me a little moist…

Thankfully director Keoni Waxman knows exactly what he’s doing, getting the most out of both Seagal and Austin – well I say most out of Austin, but he does get his ass handed to him by a woman without even putting up a fight, although Aliyah O’Brien, who does the ass-kicking, looks so good doing it (she later beats up a massive, and sleazy, prison inmate with ease as well) that I actually would love to see her in a starring role as a badass butt-kicker in a film of her own. Maximum Conviction does however feature Steven Seagal in some of his best fight scenes of recent years – bringing out his well-known (and much loved) “indestructible” ass-kicking side first seen in his early films such as Nico. The film also features Streets of Fire‘s Michael Pare in a rare villainous role as the leader of the mercenaries who assault the prison – a role which he looks to relish and rightly so, he out performs both Seagal and Austin in the brief on-screen time has has (sadly Pare spends most of the time on the end of a walkie-talkie and not in front of the camera), even managing to convincingly go toe-to-toe with Seagal for two minutes before getting his ass handed to him in [literally] explosive style!

Reminiscent of Seagal’s Half Past Dead (which I loved), Maximum Conviction will not disappoint action movie aficionados – there’s plenty of gun fights, ass kicking, bone-crunching and cocky one-liners, in fact everything you need in a straight to DVD fight flick. Here’s hoping someone gives director Waxman a bigger budget for his next film, with that an a decent script I think he could be up there with the likes of Michael Bay, Tony Scott and Renny Harlin.

Maximum Conviction is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on March 18th.

***** 5/5

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