The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud (2020)

Posted in Reviews by - February 01, 2021
The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud (2020)

Here’s something a little different for fans of Scott Adkins, sending up his hard-boiled action-man persona as a gung-ho, high-kicking, all-American space captain inside a 90s video game. It’s another experimental step in Adkins’ quest to find more challenging material, and even if the film never quite rounds off his characters’ two-dimensional aspects, it’s still a bravado performance. The film itself is a bold UK sci-fi action comedy which just about pulls off its high-concept on a low-budget. It excels way beyond its expectations thanks to a wonderful score, an excellent retro-futuristic aesthetic (from its lighting to its sets and costumes), and a decent supporting cast of great British actors having a gloriously hammy time (Tommy Flanagan as a slick space cowboy; Lashana Lynch as a gnarly alien; John Hannah as a manic, begotten cyborg). As a love letter to retro gaming, its a geek’s paradise, with an attention-to-detail which is at times overwhelming. With such focus placed in the virtual world, the film struggles to connect to the real world with as much conviction. The story follows young gamer Sarah (Allen) who is sucked into her favourite video game and controlled via her best friend, Cowboy (Drameh). A smug script acts as a through-line between the two realities, forever undermining the action on screen. The tongue-in-cheek tone works, but only at the expense of anything holding any weight or resonance. It is only during the film’s neatly choreographed action sequences (by Andy Long from the Jackie Chan Stunt Team) when it really springs to life. There aren’t too many, but Adkins fans will still feel satisfied, including a rundown with the gigantic Martyn Ford and some surprisingly violent brawls which are slightly at odds with the film’s Star Wars-esque family-friendly spirit. This does beg the question, then: if the silly space opera and frivolity doesn’t land for all adults, and the nostalgia, humour and edgier elements carry the potential to alienate any children watching, then who exactly is this film for?

AKA: Max Cloud.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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