Maximum Risk Reviews
The plot and story start off really good, but it quickly loses steam. There are a few cool fight scenes with a hulking Russian foe, but other than that its mostly gunplay and car chases in this thriller.
The climax isn't very exciting or memorable, and neither is this film.
But like the title of Jean-Claude Van Damme's earlier action piece, that was a Wrong Bet.
Maximum Risk is a generic effort on behalf of director Ringo Lam. Considering he is a critically acclaimed filmmaker for such pieces as the Reservoir Dogs-inspiring City of Fire, he really doesn't consider what he can offer Maximum Risk apart from some great action, and so what's left of it is a generic action thriller with a basic story and series of dynamics that really could have been directed by anyone.
Maximum Risk barely does anything to set itself apart from the standard Jean-Claude Van Damme action piece, since it has a basic plot and several simple errors.
The story doesn't supply anything new to the table, except that it uses a notable female lead this time instead of just another attractive woman taking her one shot at a slight chance of fame without having much of a chance to succeed.
Natasha Henstridge's role in Maximum Risk makes it slightly better because she's a decent actress and is notable for her work in Species. And like in Species, she takes her top off to the satisfaction of many male viewers to reveal her exquisite breasts. So she is a genial presence and has a convincing performance to her.
But like I said, all Maximum Risk can supply is minor visual appeal. Jean-Claude Van Damme does a decent job, but his talent moreso comes from what he can do to show off his body, the same way it comes from Natasha Henstridge does. Except that Jean-Claude Van Damme uses his martial arts skills to fight for some great action. Although the action scenes are largely overcome by the rest of the dull plotting in Maximum Risk, he manages to kick some major ass in some awesomely choreographed action sequences. They're filmed and edited well, using camera techniques like the Dutch angle to perfect the visual please. And surprisingly it works. The action in Maximum Risk isn't conventional, it's quite entertaining, and that's the key thing that separates the film from other Jean-Claude Van Damme efforts of less success, such as Death Warrant or the aforementioned Wrong Bet. Some of the action moments are memorable, such as the film's climax in a meat locker, so Maximum Risk does maintain its own sense of strength in one way.
Much of the supporting cast don't supply anything though, in particular Jean-Hugues Anglade who really is an inexperienced actor because his basic line delivery is overthrown by his slightly over-the-top physical movements which are out of tune with his dialogue. All he supplies is that he looks vaguely like Dustin Hoffman.
So despite the presence of talented leads and some fight scene, Maximum Risk falters under a boring story with a monotonous pace and a lack of directional effort from Ringo Lam.
Natasha Henstridge is damn fine in this movie.
It's disappointing that Van Damme does use a lot of martial arts and there aren't any memorable scenes other than Henstridge nudity.
For its time this was a great Van Damme flick
If your a fan go back and re-live the excitement.
Take the Risk you won't be disappointed.