Maximum Overdrive - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Maximum Overdrive Reviews

Page 1 of 83
September 7, 2016
The only thing sadder than Stephen King squandering any creative talent he had in this cocaine-fueled semi pileup taken movie form is that the director of photography lost an eye while filming it -and lost his career as a result. Having never read the source material (and blissfully unaware of the lives ruined by this flick), I had an absolute blast watching it. There's no explanation for any of the plot, no character development whatsoever, and generally no plot whatsoever. Just a lot of stupid characters dying in stupid, though quizzically not genre-blind ways. There's some unintentional laugh out loud dialogue, editing, and camera work. It's up there with the Shining and Shawshank as one of my favourite screen adaptations of Stephen King's work.
September 5, 2016
One of my favorie movies growing up.its cheesy,violent and over-the-top.Its like a Zombie movie except A)Its vehicles and electrical devices and B)Humans do NOT come back from the dead after being attacked.
Plus AC/DC did the soundtrack so...BONUS
½ August 21, 2016
Being the one film ever directed by horror writer Stephen King, Maximum Overdrive sounded like an interesting change of path for the man.

Based upon his short story entitled Trucks which was first published in 1973, Maximum Overdrive is a film with a rather ridiculous concept. But having read the short story, I'm capable of understanding how Stephen King was able to make the story work and just what themes he was able to fit into the short narrative. The film is clearly not one that would be able to capture the same insight due to the medium being visual rather than written, but given that the central antagonists of the stories are trucks it makes sense that a spectacle would do a lot to bolster the material.
Even though Maximum Overdrive is based on a simple short story, it still alters the premise of its source material in poor ways.
The intro text informs us that planet Earth has passed through the tail of a comet which is signified to be the source of the technology running independently haywire. We are also informed that Earth will only remain within the path of the comet for little more than eight days, suggesting that the timespan of the technological turmoil is ephemeral. This betrays the source material by removing the mystery of how the machinery has come to life, but worse it informs us that the characters only have to survive for little more than a week. In Trucks, there was no way of telling how long the titular Trucks would dominate society for and the narrator envisioned them taking over the world and even multiplying. This left the narrative to be very open-ended, suggesting apocalyptic possibilities. In the case of Maximum Overdrive, this feeling is rendered absent by our awareness of the situation. The ambiguity and nihilism of the original short story stood out as a source of its distinctive greatness, but this becomes forsaken for a more comedically oriented tone in the adaptation process.
Maximum Overdrive is not a typical Stephen King narrative. Rather than having the sombre and nihilistic tone of his more gothic works, Maximum Overdrive functions as a distinctively 80's guilty pleasure with a campy tone and a lot of black comedy. Rather than taking the time to develop an intense atmosphere, Stephen King simply begins killing off random people fast. It's clear that he has gleeful fun with this, and the result is actually rather entertaining. Through creative use of his concept, Stephen King finds a versatile series of ways to kill his characters in a variety of original and even funny ways. There is a fair share of blood and gore to support this all as well as plenty of explosions and gunfire, so the exhilaration is kept alive throughout Maximum Overdrive. The shortage of character development and simplistic dialogue means that many of the scenes in between the action and slashing comes up short, but Maximum Overdrive is a film proud of its ridiculous premise and bent on having as much fun as it can in the process. Even though this neglects the thought provoking elements of the source material, it still manages to stand on its own two feet as an entertaining action horror film. Maximum Overdrive carries the concept and some of the story elements from Stephen King's original short story but exists heavily more in the style of a music video than a legitimate horror narrative, and it manages to stand as a fun experience of its own right in the process.
Maximum Overdrive is a low budget film, but for a first timer it is clear that Stephen King is aware of proper funds management. Skating by with a story that happens essentially within a singular location, Maximum Overdrive diverts the majority of funds into hiring cool-looking trucks and blowing them up. The result leaves a lot of memorable imagery in the film and plenty of entertaining action, and it is captured with strong cinematography. And the fact that AC/DC was responsible for the soundtrack is just amazing since they perfectly capture the manic energy of the film and its hardcore 80's tone. They effectively keep the mood of the film set in that of a music video with intensity and glorious rock n' roll. Maximum Overdrive is a well-constructed mix of imagery and music, so for all its efforts to be a relentless guilty pleasure it definitely succeeds. It lacks the gothic nihilism distinctive in so many Stephen King films, but it's too damned fun to disregard.
Since the dialogue in Maximum Overdrive detracts from its roots, characterization is clearly not a strong point for the film. As a result, there is not a high demand for performances and so the cast leave no distinctive impression. Nevertheless, there is a certain nostalgic value that comes from the presence of Emilio Estevez in the lead role. Given that the man was big in the 1980's, it is great to see him leading such a ridiculously oddball film like Maximum Overdrive where he gets to use his handsome charm in an action hero role. He never stretches beyond believability in doing this as he maintains a gritty nature, giving him an effective bad boy charm in the process. Emilio Estevez makes a convincing hero for the story and helps to epitomize the 80's nature of the film.
Yeardley Smith is a frustrating presence though. Notorious for voicing Lisa Simpson on the longrunning animated sitcom The Simpsons (1989-present), Yeardley Smith's voice pushes the limits of toleration with Maximum Overdrive. As her character does little more than scream and complain the entire film, her high pitched voice gets really annoying in doing it and so viewers are left to just hope that one of the trucks kills her. When this prophecy goes unfulfilled, it's a true disappointment. Yeardley Smith doesn't moderate anything in Maximum Overdrive, and the result is a really dissenting performance.

Maximum Overdrive has a ridiculous premise and detracts from its source material's tone and themes, but fueled on a rush of violent 80's energy it delivers as a proud guilty pleasure of action horror.
July 20, 2016
One of the greatest movies ever made!
½ July 11, 2016
It's good, but I liked it better back in 1986. Stephen King was bustin movies out like crazy, back then...but he has done better films. Instead of watching this...you could be watching Christine.
July 4, 2016
A no-holds-barred documentary admonishing the widespread use of driverless cars.
½ May 28, 2016
Turn off your brain and smile gleefully while watching this cult classic.
½ May 26, 2016
This movie is a typical product of the 80ties and a lot of coke. King officially said that he doesn't remember directing this movie because he was high all the time. It is pretty fun to watch but don't expect any plot or that the characters behave in any realistic way. They don't, even remotely. The gore effects are few but fun. That's all I can say.
May 21, 2016
It's a movie about machines killing and dicking around with humans for fuel with AC/DC in the background. What's not to like?
May 2, 2016
A bunch of diesel trucks go crazy and terrorize a truck stop while Emilio Estevez uses his prison skills to save the day.
May 1, 2016
Fictional as King stories but, highly enjoyable that it will blow your mind.King always does it.
½ April 12, 2016
Stephen King really has no business saying that Stanley Kubrick did not know how to make a horror film. This film is garbage. The short story that it's based on is okay. Not the best material in "Night Shift", but fun stuff. For a story so clearly modeled on "The Birds", King has clearly not learned the lesson that the less explanation you provide for a ridiculous scenario, the better off you are. All his attempts to explain why killer trucks are attacking folks are awful (and the arbitrary last minute resolution to this explanation is insulting). Setting plot problems aside for a minute, the real problem is that King clearly has no idea how to direct a movie. The movie is terribly paced and really choppy, as if a lot of necessary connecting bits were never shot. He has a semi-decent cast here, but everyone overacts their paper thin roles. It's an ugly, unpleasant film.
December 29, 2015
If you think about the movie's massive narrative flaws, bad acting, and just overall bad writing it might be one the worst pictures out there. If you turn your brain off, however, it manages to be n idiotic good time.
November 14, 2015
Glorious, over the top trash with a good dose of brutality thrown in for good measure. You can't help but like it! It's hysterical.
October 6, 2015
The biggest trollfest that went too far long before the concept of trolling or 4Chan. Annoynmous is here and it is controlling the world's machines. What a mess, Maximum Overdrive is. The storyline is terrible and beyond stupid. The movie is a good watch. Good pacing, even if 90% of the film takes place in the same spot. You get a good deal of character development with the main characters. It's not really a horror film, but it can get graphic at times. Not quite like the film cover shows. The whole film's score is by AC/DC, I have no clue why but it's all good, it's fitting.

The film was seemingly intended to be part violent and graphic and part fun and just an overall good watch. It's not meant to be super crazy like his other films which are generally all horror.
September 21, 2015
Lots of blood, gross deaths, but the best thing is the AC/DC music in the movie.
½ May 23, 2015
Popcorn and a Movie with the hubby! ?????
½ May 21, 2015
Terrible beyond words. Stephen King should NEVER be allowed to direct again. The acting was beyond bad, it made me want to bang my head againt the wall repeatedly. As for Yeardley Smith...she should never be allowed to do anything other than Lisa Simpson's voice for the rest of her life. Her screaming made me wish I was deaf!
May 18, 2015
Just god awful. Plus, Emilio Estevez blows.
Page 1 of 83