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When former black ops operative Cross (Seagal) and his partner Manning (Austin) are assigned to decommission an old prison, they must oversee the arrival of two mysterious female prisoners. 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, Cross realizes he's caught in the middle of something far bigger than he had imagined.
For more about Maximum Conviction and the Maximum Conviction Blu-ray release, see Maximum Conviction Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 5, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Steve Austin, Steven Seagal, Michael Paré, Aliyah O'Brien, Ian Robison, Steph Song
Director: Keoni Waxman
» See full cast & crew
Maximum Conviction Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 5, 2012
I'll kill them before they kill you.
"Kill or be killed" is basically what's at the center -- and every outer layer -- of Maximum Conviction, a shoot-em-up Action flick with no ambitions of novelty and no course of action other than the predetermined run-and-gun run-through that leaves characters flat, the plot inconsequential, and the sounds loud. But if gunplay is what excites the senses, then Maximum Conviction gets the job done. Steve Austin and Steven Seagal pair up for a clichéd and recycled shooter that packs in a lot of fatal firefights and fervent fisticuffs into a movie that's completely built around pounding the screen with nearly incessant violence. Any sort of character moments or drama are merely vehicles for transporting audiences to the next action scene. Credit the movie for holding firm to its strengths and rushing headfirst into the hail of gunfire it gleefully produces, but audiences craving a little something deeper will be left disappointed with what is a brainless Action flick that's best enjoyed as a classic time waster and nothing more.
Manning (Steve Austin) and Cross (Steven Seagal) work as ex-military security contractors in a Northern Oregon military installation that's on the verge of closure but that just received two high priority female prisoners, Samantha (Steph Song) and Charlotte (Aliyah O'Brien). Cross is made aware of a cryptic note that he passes on to Bradley (Bren Foster), and expert in code breaking. He believes it contains vital information on prisoner transport routes, leading the team to the conclusion that a dirty guard is passing secrets on through to the outside. The intuition proves correct. A group of heavily armed troopers infiltrate the prison with the goal of finding Samantha, whom they believe carries the valuable data they seek. The prison transforms into a shooting gallery as Manning, Cross, and a group of survivors band together to save the girls and kill the infiltrators.
In Maximum Conviction, Director Keoni Waxman and Writer Richard Beattie forego strong character development, plot originality, and style in favor of big action scenes and loud sound effects. The movie offers viewers a deluge of both, accompanied by nearly incessant music that aims to create dramatic tension where little or none otherwise exists in an effort to mask the movie's minimalist approach to storytelling and at the same time amping up its core action elements. The movie certainly knows what it is and never drifts from its action center, but in a movie this devoid of meaningful drama or noteworthy characters, the action ultimately overwhelms the audience, loses intensity, and becomes more of a chore than a highlight. By the time the film reaches the climactic shootout and hand-to-hand fight, both feel like old hat, just another rehash of the same thing over and over and, worse, the same thing that's been done in hundreds of other movies, both big blockbusters and smaller direct-to-video outings alike. Maximum Conviction is one of those movies one could watch in spurts and never miss a thing or catch only the final thirty minutes and not miss out on any character nuance or story element because such things really don't exist. This is as straight run-and-gun as they come; audiences who love plotless Action flicks will love Maximum Conviction, and audiences wanting more depth will likely walk away disappointed and bored.
Considering the minimalist script, nonexistent drama, and zero character development, one can only imagine that stars Steven Seagal and Steve Austin are often left standing around, spitting out bad dialogue, and relying on their screen presence and weapons to carry the movie. Those thoughts would be correct. Maximum Conviction's two stars play well enough in the action scenes; Austin looks as good as ever and Seagal is covered up under tactical gear and glasses, but they play the shooting and fist fighting scenes to satisfaction, carrying the action with a bit more zeal and intensity than do their background co-stars who largely stand around and shoot. However, the actors find almost no rhythm in the film's early and closing dialogue scenes. They deliver their lines robotically and without even a hint of passion; it's not disappointing but certainly a bit jarring to hear dialogue this stilted, but it's hard to fault the actors -- both of whom are better than this -- when they have nothing of substance with which to work. Still, it's a treat to see them paired up together on screen, even in a movie as generic as this.
Maximum Conviction Blu-ray, Video Quality
Maximum Conviction might not be the prettiest film out there -- it's dark; lack's vibrant colors; and takes place in a bland, largely nondescript locale -- but Anchor Bay's 1080p transfer is nevertheless highly proficient and very rarely with technical fault. The digital photography yields very crisp lines and natural details. Whether Steven Seagal's complex skin textures or mesh webbing and nylon on tactical vests and gear, the photography reveals some outstanding details that largely impress even in the darker frames. As noted, the palette is rather bland, heavy with blacks and grays and other nondescript shades, but bright red blood and other splashes of color are handled expertly throughout. Skin tones are accurate, but black levels tend to occasionally drift towards appearing slightly washed out, particularly evident in the film's opening minutes. Banding is barely noticeable, noise isn't an issue, and other eyesores are nonexistent. Overall, this is a tip-top transfer from Anchor Bay.
Maximum Conviction Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Maximum Conviction wallops sound systems with a potent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Anchor Bay's presentation is aggressive and exciting, even if the front channels largely dominate the action. Gunfire errupts with a surprisingly heavy force and rips through the stage with ease. Explosions also hit very hard, solidified by strong bass, and send debris flying across the front half of the stage. The incessant dramatic action music plays with strong clarity and pinpoint accuracy with a wide front-side sound field and robust notes. Ambient effects are satisfying as well, whether the hum of machinery or the din of a crowded bar. That bar scene does drown out a few lines of dialogue, but otherwise the spoken word enjoys the sort of natural, precise clarity listeners expect from a top-tier lossless soundtrack. While it could stand some more prominent and discrete sound effects, this presentation's raw energy and enthusiasm make it a winner.
Maximum Conviction Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Maximum Conviction contains an audio commentary track and four featurettes.
Maximum Conviction Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It doesn't require a doctorate in film to realize that Maximum Conviction may be the epitome of the brainless shooter. One look at the box says all one really needs to ascertain what's inside (nothing like truth in advertising). The film substitutes music for drama and muscle for brains. It works on a basic level and achieves what it sets out to accomplish, which is admirable. The movie is built for viewers in search of raw action and will rightly turn away those looking for more dramatic depth. At least it's focused. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Maximum Conviction features strong video and audio presentations. A few extras are included. Die-hard Action fans will enjoy a rental and maybe even a purchase when and if the price drops down below $10.
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Maximum Conviction Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Maximum Conviction Blu-ray - September 1, 2012
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will release a combo pack edition of director Keoni Waxman's action thriller Maximum Conviction (2012), starring Steven Seagal, Steve Austin and Michael Paré. The preliminary release date set by the studio is November 6th.
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