Maximum Risk (1996) [Blu-Ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Thriller|
|Columbia || R - 100 minutes - $28.95 || August 12, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-13|
Writer(s): Larry Ferguson (written by)
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge
Theatrical Release Date: September 13, 1996
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Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme. These are the kings of direct-to-DVDs. But there was a time when they had actual theatrically-released films. Van Damme had plenty of modest hits in the 1990s including Timecop and Universal Soldier. Maximum Risk, while not nearly as highly regarded as those two (by comparison to other Van Damme flicks), is still a decent enough action flick, if not a little underwhelming.
The American debut of Hong Kong director Ringo Lam, Maximum Risk is your typical Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick. The movie is about Alain Moreau, a policeman who discovers that he has a twin brother, Mikhail Suverov, he never knew... on the day his twin was killed. Wanting to find justice for his long lost bro, evidence leads him to New York City where Mikhail lived. But the more Alain digs through Mikhail’s past, the more he learns that his twin wasn’t a complete saint. Upon his arrival in New York, Alain discovers that not everyone is happy to see him there (thinking he is Mikhail). Apparently Mikhail worked for the Russian mob and had some dealings with a couple corrupt FBI agents. Back in France, Mikhail had placed a list of names and associates that would be opened if he were ever killed; now the chase is on to get that list.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Alain also finds Mikhail’s girlfriend, Alex (Henstridge)? Well, Alex, like everyone else, mistakes Alain for his twin and before you know it, the two are about to, um, “get it on”. I’m probably not alone in getting that creepy feeling, right? Alain being the good guy he is, stops before it gets serious, though you know that their sexual tension must get released later.
Maximum Risk, even for a mindless action flick, is fairly standard stuff. While I may not be overly familiar with Mr. Van Damme’s work, I do know that this is also his usual shtick as well. With that said, the film does retain a certain amount of entertainment value. No, this isn’t the high quality standard of a Bourne Identity or other mistaken identity flicks, but something about Van Damme and his chiseled reaction to just about every little thing -- including Natasha Henstridge disrobing – makes this movie so damn Damme likeable.
On the technical front, this movie doesn’t have much to offer. The action sequences, save for maybe the opening, weren’t all that impressive and the acting could be described as average... at best. Maximum Risk is fine entertainment if you want entertainment that won’t tax your mind, outside of that, you can skip this one.
The only feature on this Blu-ray is the theatrical trailer and a BD-Live option for those with the appropriate Blu-ray profiled player.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Maximum Risk is presented in its original 2.40 AR with a MPEG-4 AVC codec and on a 50GB disc. The picture actually looks really good in hi-def, beginning the title card where the red in “Risk” looking quite vibrant. Outside of what I assume is a stock shot of NYC, the rest of the movie looks like it should. The picture is clear and did not notice any sort of grain, dust or scratches. For a movie that is now 12 years old, I think Sony has done a good job with this transfer.
Sony offers up audio with the now standard Dolby TrueHD mixes in English and French (Thai 5.1, Spanish 2.0 and Portuguese 2.0 also available). While the mix sounds good at times, but it was also overwhelming with some action sequences bleeding from each speaker. However, I did notice ambient noise was parsed correctly and dialogue seemed clear enough coming mainly from the center channel.
Maximum Risk, despite the title, takes little risks and offers up only moderate entertainment value. This movie is probably the equivalent to some of the average flicks other action stars (or former stars) have produced and is nowhere near in both action and script to some of the more modern films (hell, even xXx had better action and dialogue).
In regards to the Blu-ray release, the picture looks very good and the audio is more than adequate, though not nearly perfect. However, I’m still unsure why someone would want this in their collection. Like I said, the picture is more than fine, but it’s not reference quality. There are plenty of other “cheaper” BDs out there better than this (I picked up Dark City for $18.99), so while I thought the movie was OK, just skip this option.