Here it is – another Steven Seagal action film, directed by Keoni Waxman. This time however, big Steve has a solid back-up in the face of Steve Austin and Michael Pare. Does a good back-up mean a better Steven Seagal movie? Let’s find out.
Seagal, as usual, plays a former black ups operative Tom Steele (yet throughout the film he’s called “Cross” for some reason). He’s overweight, but calm, tough and in control.
Steele and his partner Manning (Steve Austin) are assigned to decommission an old prison, and they must oversee the arrival of two mysterious female prisoners. When the two (cute) prisoners arrive, Steele quickly realizes that they were brought in together for a reason.
Soon, both Steele and Manning find themselves in a lot of trouble, when an elite force of mercenaries led by Marshall Blake (Michael Pare) assault the prison in search of the new arrivals.
As women’s true identities are revealed, and all hell breaks up in prison, Steele and Manning find themselves not just exchanging fire with the mercenaries, but fighting off angry inmates as well.
It seems like Steven Seagal has found himself a director that he trusts, and who knows how to direct action movies the way Seagal wants. Keoni Waxman seems to be that man.
In 2009 he directed “The Keeper” with Seagal, following with “A Dangerous Man” the same year, and the “True Justice” TV-series in 2010-2012. “Maximum Conviction” is their latest collaboration.
Judging by Seagal’s performance here, his character has become somewhat more alive, compared to a couple of his previous films. He talks with his own voice, he’s not being dubbed, and he even smiles a couple of times (!).
The reason for the above might be that both Austin and Pare in the film, Seagal seems to be realizing that he doesn’t have all the space he usually gets when surrounded by a bunch of unknown actors, and thus an aging aikido master needs to present himself accordingly. Seagal also has a lot less of screen time, than in his previous movies.
Speaking of the action scenes, namely the fights, there are a few, but nothing really spectacular, except for the “poor victims” being thrown all over the place, making Seagal look almost like himself circa 1989.
Speaking of Austin, he seems rather comfortable, handling a sidekick role here, yet he gets just enough of action for his fans to be interested in seeing the film in the first place. Austin has a couple of interesting fights, and participates in shootouts as well.
Michael Pare does a very good job with his limited-screen time part, yet of course his final confrontation with Seagal turned out to be quite cheesy and boring.
The story is of course just an excuse for some action and fights to be showcased. Yet, thanks to the story, we also have a team of spec ops that help Seagal and Austin to fight off the mercenaries inside the prison.
Among these spec ops is Bren Foster – a former World Taek Won Do champion, who has one great fight scene in the film, and hopefully he will get noticed by producers and reach the level of Michael Jai White or Scott Adkins in the near future.
“Maximum Conviction” is not that great by any stretch. For Austin it is somewhat a letdown, considering that he’s been very active as a leading action man recently. For Pare, this is an improvement over his Uwe Boll films.
For Seagal – it has become usual, nothing spectacular, however with Austin and Pare in the film, “Maximum Conviction” is viewable at least once.
BZFILM SCALE: 4/10
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