Reel Action: Maximum Conviction (2012), starring Steven Seagal and Steve Austin.

Maximum Conviction (2012)
Rating: 2.5 out of 4

Tagline: Maximum Security. Maximum Firepower.

Directed by:Keoni Waxman

THE PLAN: A pair of ex-commandos get stuck in an decommissioned prison where they are babysitting a small batch of prisoners waiting for transfer. But when another group of ex-commandos break-in to kidnap one of the cons, gunfights and stabbings ensue, giving Steven Seagal plenty of time to chop suey folks while Steve Austin dishes some Texas-style punishment (no body slams though).

THE KILL: Maximum Conviction has three elements that automatically work without even trying. 1. It takes place in prison, a perfect setting that's tough to f- up. 2. Duel teams of ex-military badasses go head to head. How can’t that be entertaining? 3. The team-up picture. Sure, this isn’t exactly Tango and Cash, but anytime heavyweights join forces, it’s easy to enjoy. And honestly, the movie doesn’t bother with filler. It gives nothing other than what action fans want. The first action bit is your typical Seagal beatdown, where he takes on an unruly prisoner and slaps him around. But then nothing really unfolds until about 27 minute mark, where Austin slashes a couple suckers when they invade his prison. From there, it’s all bullets, blood, and brawn.

Steven still knows how to snap some arms.

As much as I still enjoy Seagal (even with his Eddie Munster widow’s peak. Jeez, buddy, lay off the jet-black dye), he isn't exactly the man he used to be. Granted, no old school star is the same because, well, they're old - but at least dudes like Van Damme and Stallone still look like ass kickers. Seagull looks…plump. No offense, but it’s tough to understand how or why he let himself go. It interferes with his job. It’s like a pianist who lets her fingers grow like those Guinness Record people or a hairstylist who looks like an unkempt homeless guy. Some things you just can’t do. Not that it really matters because Seagal’s still got that Kung Fu-Buddha thing working for him, even if his hand-to-hand combat scenes always seem blurry and sped up. But what the hell, he’s still fun as shit to watch.

On the flipside, I initially overlooked Austin because of the whole wrestling thing. Blame Suburban Commando for ruining all wrestling actor vehicles. However, after The Condemned, it was tough not to like the guy, but for whatever reason, I never revisited him beyond Expendables. He's not the best actor around, but he's got personality and the look of a dude who can truly whip ass. That goes a long way. And after this movie I’m ready to check out more of his stuff.

Don't go into Mr. Austin's kitchen.

While the action plays well, Maximum Conviction has zero character development, which is expected but usually some attempt is made (even something dumb like give him a cross to kiss or a picture of an ex-wife). There’s also zero attempt to develop a plot thicker than the basic summary, which isn’t a bad thing, but the movie missed opportunities, mainly from setting the thing in prison. Sure, prisoners pop up, but it would have been nice at least to give some sort of unique insight into the caged-animal lifestyle. Especially since there aren’t many cons there. After all, isn’t that why we all dig those kinda films? We want to see that life.

But perhaps the biggest disappointment of Maximum Conviction comes from not teaming up the stars more. Seagal and Austin only have a handful of scenes together (only talky sequences) as each lead a different team of good guy commandos against the bad commandos. If you’re gonna pay to see two action dudes in a movie together, it’s nice to at least have a few action scenes together too. At least, however, the flick delivers the action. Once it starts, it never let’s up.

TOP ACTION: Seagal’s mano a mano duel with the bad guy is probably his most effect scene (beyond a fantastic arm snap he gives). There’s some mean brutality dished out with a great head smashed against a tile wall.

TOP DEATH: Some good ones here, though a lot of them reminded me of Commando for some reason (a steam path, an pipe impaling). Anyway, I think Austin’s flaming a guy to death with a spray can was especially nasty.

TOP DIALOGUE: Lot’s of tough guy, military banter. Austin’s simple “Boo” was good, but Seagal’s “Does that hurt? You f*cking pussy” line after snapping a dude’s arm was perfect. Tough guy indeed.

HOMOEROTIC MOMENT: None really, though there might be a deleted shower scene somewhere. It is a prison film.

FEMALE EXPLOITATION: The two female convicts play to all the stereotypes, but keep their clothes on. But they do beat each other up, but not even a shoulder strap gets ripped.

DRINKING GAME: I challenge a shot for every time Seagal slaps away someone’s punch. That’s his move.

Eddie Munster: The Action Star.



Tags: reel action



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