Maximum Impact (2017)

Posted in Reviews by - January 01, 2020
Maximum Impact (2017)

For a film featuring so many action stars – and a title which sounds like a combination of two Van Damme films (Maximum Risk, Double Impact) – this meandering surveillance comedy is actually very light on the physical stuff. That’s disappointing enough, but it’s the least of the film’s worries. A Russian-American co-production butchered in an overzealous ADR process, the script has been rendered completely void of any vigour or zing (quite important for a comedy), and the best efforts of a top-notch Hollywood cast are wasted in routines which mostly fall completely flat. Mark Dacascos and his hired muscle, Matthias Hues, come out of it relatively well; particularly Dacascos, who injects genuine fun as a former TV kung fu star who has gone rogue and kidnapped the granddaughter of the US Chief of Staff during a state visit to Moscow. The story should have focused entirely on his character, with Dacascos planting tongue firmly in cheek in a comedic, self-referential nod to his younger self.┬áThe ever-reliable Kelly Hu is also excellent at keeping the whole flimsy premise on track, and she is so much better than the film deserves. She plays the leader of a group of incompetent US secret service agents working with a team in Russia who prove themselves to be just as incapable at protecting the kidnapped girl. Hu is forced to buddy-up with the expressionless bodybuilder Alexander Nevsky, who is actually the film’s real star as well as its producer. This is problematic, as Nevsky essentially lumbers his way through the film like a giant malfunctioning robot. In a bid to shore-up US-Russian relations, the film’s overall message seems to be that American and Russian secret agents can be just as obnoxious, useless and annoying as each other. You could read this as a positive attempt to smooth over political tensions between the two nations, but good grief its at some expense.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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