The action's good and pointless in this bland thriller.
At the outset of Maximum Risk, French police detective Alain Moreau (Jean-Claude Van Damme) discovers he
had a (now-deceased) long-lost twin brother. Alain begins a trek which leads
him to New York City in order to discover who his brother really was and how
he died. His search entangles him with the Russian mafia, the F.B.I., and
the beautiful Alex Minetti (Natasha Henstridge). Maximum Risk marks the
American film debut of Hong Kong action director Ringo Lam (much like
John Woo cut his Hollywood teeth with Van Damme in Hard Target). Some of
the Hong Kong style and flair for action shows in the action scenes in
Maximum Risk, many of which bristle with energy. However, the rest of the
film saps that energy, leaving Maximum Risk a lifeless corpse. Take for
instance, the very first scenes of the film. They open in media res, starting
with a chase through the streets in France. We don't know who the pursuers
are, or who the pursuee is, or why they are chasing him in the first place.
There's absolutely no connection between the audience and the action on the
screen. The whole chase in handled in such a routine manner, that we're not
really curious about why they're chasing at all...its just something to watch.
And that is seemingly the entire purpose behind the entire plot...just to
link together the chases and fight scenes, with little regard for who or why.
That's not to say that some of those scenes aren't worth watching, its just
that they could have at least tried to make it interesting between kicks and jabs.
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