The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 12.31.12 Issue #239: Maximum Conviction (2012)
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #239: Maximum Conviction (2012)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has often wondered why no one has ever been attacked by a mutant hamburger, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and thirty-nine, I close out 2012 with a look at the 2012 action flick Maximum Conviction, starring bonafide B-movie legend Steven Seagal and soon-to-be B-movie legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Maximum Conviction (2012)
Maximum Conviction, directed by Keoni Waxman, stars Seagal and Austin as Cross and Manning, two bad ass security contractors/ex-military guys hired by the federal government to close down a super secret “black site” prison smack dab in the middle of nowhere, Oregon. Closing down the prison is a pain in the ass as there’s a bunch of stuff that has to be done before the prison can be considered “closed.” Plus, the prison’s warden, a prick named Samuels (Ian Robison), isn’t exactly cooperative. But Cross and Manning are old professionals at this, and they don’t let the little crap bother them. A job is a job and they’ll get it done no matter what.
The prison shut down progresses mostly as planned until a garbage truck shows up and malfunctions. This “malfunction” annoys Manning big time as the truck can’t leave until it picks up its load, and it can’t do that until the driver, Max (Teach Grant), figures out what’s wrong. Of course, this being a low budget action movie starring Steven Seagal and Steve Austin, you just know that the malfunctioning garbage truck is really just a ruse for some other big scheme (you could also look at the back of the truck and notice that the sign on the back features an image of a Trojan horse. You know that’s always a bad sign). As Manning tries to help Max fix the truck, Cross travels to a local bar to hang out with Bradley (Bren Foster), a fellow badass military guy that always shows up for these things. And while all of that is going on, U.S, Marshal Chris Blake (the Michael Pare) shows up for a prisoner transfer. He’s there to pick up two women, a Charlotte (Aliyah O’Brien) and Samantha (Steph Song). The lead military cop, Terrence (Richard Stroh), is only aware of a six inmate transfer. Must be a paperwork glitch, Terrence figures. He then leads Blake and his men inside to meet with Samuels and straighten the situation out.
So then some more stuff happens, the side of the garbage truck explodes, revealing a gaggle of heavily armed commandoes, and Blake reveals his true self to Samuels (he shoots one of Samuels’ people and then demands to know where the two women are). The commandoes fan out and start looking for the two women, placing laser mines on the walls and killing anyone that gets in their way. Manning, after surviving the small garbage truck explosion, kills a few of the commandoes and starts looking for weapons to kill more commandoes. Manning doesn’t know what the hell is going on, but he isn’t going to allow anyone to screw up his prison shut down.
Back at the bar, Cross, after conferring with Bradley about a possible secret code passed among the prisoners, basically figures out what’s likely happening back at the prison and decides to go back and check things out. He tells Bradley and his team to get weaponized because he’s going to need some help taking out the bad guys at the prison, whoever they may be. So Cross goes back to the prison, kills two bad guys in quick and brutal fashion, and enters the prison. Just like Manning, Cross is pissed. You don’t fuck with his prison shutdowns.
The movie plays out pretty much as you expect it to. There are a few nifty surprises throughout the movie, plus a few “long” speeches about what this movie is really all about that you don’t expect to see. The movie does miss an opportunity for what I’ll call “total mayhem” as the prison, besides the high value government prisoners, has several insane “regular” prisoners inside that, although they are let out by Blake to cause problems for Cross and Manning, really don’t do anything. Why aren’t the prisoners attacking both Cross and Manning and Blake’s commandoes? And, heck, why didn’t Blake offer those prisoners a deal, sort of a “I’ll make you a part of my gang if you take Cross and Manning out” kind of thing? It would have been a ridiculous offer, sure, but at least it would have forced Waxman to include more escaped prisoner mayhem. Why have them in the movie if you’re not going to lose them?
The action scenes, both the gun battles and the hand-to-hand fights, are well handled and exciting. There’s an especially good little fight involving turncoat military cop Fields and a fellow MP in the prison control room, and Seagal gets to break a bad guy’s arm so bad that the dude’s bone is exposed. That’s always cool to see. There’s also a nasty scene where Blake cuts off Samuels’ index finger in order to make him more pliable. It made me wince, and I don’t wince that often. Great stuff.
Seagal does his usual outstanding job as Cross. He’s a total badass, a grizzled professional who has done just about everything there is to do in the world of low budget action movie security contracting. He looks good in his fight scenes, and, most importantly, his voice doesn’t change once during the movie, meaning he sort of really believed in this movie. Austin is hysterical as Manning. He’s profane, surly, and he’s always pissed off about something. He has great chemistry with Seagal, and his fight scenes are brutal affairs. Every second Austin is on screen is a blast.
Pare does a great job as the bad guy Blake. He’s a complete piece of crap and you can’t wait to see him die (and that’s not a spoiler. You just know he’s going to die). Michael Adamthwaite is awesome as Collins, Blake’s main henchmen. Collins, too, is a piece of garbage, and you can’t wait to see him get smacked down. Teach Grant, as Max the garbage truck driver, is the weak link on the bad guy side as he seems like he’s high most of the time. Why would Blake hire him to do, well, anything? He couldn’t find anyone else to drive the garbage truck?
Bren Foster is the movie’s big surprise. He gets to engage in a very cool and brutal fight scene towards the end of the movie, begging the question “Why hasn’t he done more low budget action movie stuff?” Why isn’t he competing with Scott Adkins or someone like that for action movie starring roles? Foster is great and deserves to do more. Much, much more.
And Aliyah O’Brien… she’s a fine actress and does a superb job as the shady Charlotte but, more importantly, she clearly knows how to kick ass and has a great ass. She was apparently in Seagal’s Kill Switch but I don’t remember her. She, much like Foster, though, needs to be a bigger star. She definitely has the goods.
The flick’s ending leaves room for a potential sequel, something I know I’d love to see. I am curious, though, as to what the heck Cross is talking about at the end with Manning. Why does Manning appear deeply concerned about what Cross tells him, and why does the camera pan down and focus on Manning’s arm patch? What the heck is it supposed to mean?
Despite a few minor quibbles, Maximum Conviction is a low budget action movie blast. Seagal and Austin give great performances and there’s plenty of worthwhile action stuff. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out as soon as you can. It’s definitely worth your time.
See Maximum Conviction. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 20+
Explosions: At least two. I’m not sure if the propane tank scene counts.
Doobage: A secret military prison, hidden camera hooey, burrito eating, a potentially sinister garbage truck, people talk about “cluster fucks,” 2% milk, prisoner beating, blood spit, wood board over the back, an almost sleeper hold, diesel fuel, attempted garbage truck repair, a hot chick lights up a cigar, talk of a “shit sandwich,” office Nerf basketball, light sticks, hot coffee to the face, a nasty martial arts fight inside the prison control room, exploding garbage truck, bloody index finger removal, knife to the neck, knife to the throat, knife up through the chin, neck breaking via big ass chain, a hidden dead body, a massive punch to the face, laser wall mines, bad guy wasting, radio stealing, warden beating, machine gun hooey, deliberate prisoner escape, prisoner smashing, serious arm breaking with exposed bone, two cruel deaths, walk in freezer killing, a homemade flamethrower, a wonderful “man-on-fire” gag, a very cool propane tank missile, boiling water to the face, wood board to the head, a funny ass kicking, attempted rape, hot steam to the face, off screen head smashing, a grey pool of blood, a lesbian rape threat, an automatic shotgun, a cell phone scanner, exercise equipment through the gut, a big ass shootout, some serious neck breaking, slow motion roundhouse kick to the face, a messed up holster, attempted deal making, attempted kung fu, wrist breaking, face smashed into a sink, face smashed into a tile wall, laser mine explosion, , and a weird ending that implies a sequel.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Steven Seagal, Steve Austin, Steven Seagal and Steve Austin as old pals, Steven Seagal and Steve Austin shutting down a secret government prison, a prick warden, 2% milk, Steven Seagal fucking up a prisoner, a sinister garbage truck, Steve Austin attempting to fix a garbage truck, Michael Pare, office Nerf basketball, bloody index finger removal, neck breaking via big ass chain, Steven Seagal going “full tactical,” laser mines, a bunch of stuff about the CIA, serious arm breaking with exposed bone, a homemade flamethrower with nifty “man-on-fire” gag, a very cool propane tank missile, boiling water to the face, attempted lesbian rape, off screen head smashing, an automatic shotgun, a messed up holster, a long speech about “hidden CIA money,” and a weird ending that implies a sequel.
Best lines: “Where the fuck’s Bradley?,” “An exciting life is a good way to get yourself killed. Remember that,” “I usually make the mess, brother. Now you’ve got me cleaning this one up,” “I thought your job was bullshit paperwork,” “I would enjoy the process,” “Fuck you! I’m not eating that shit!,” “Be cool,” “Something snapped? Is that your professional opinion or just a wild fucking guess?,” “Sure got some ugly janitors in this dump,” “Please tell me you know what the hell you’re doing in there,” “Want a coffee, loser?,” “The CIA can shove their gratitude up their ass,” “Where the fuck is the password?,” “Motherfuck!,” “They are not here,” “Does that hurt? You fucking pussy!,” “Having fun yet? Fuck, I’m having a blast,” “We have the asset,” “Mess with me I’ll gouge your eyes out with my fingers,” “What the fuck, baby?,” “Well, shit. My kind of woman,” “Hey fuck head! Over here! Fresh meat,” “Back to business,” “What happened to you? I got my ass kicked by my new girlfriend,” “Warden, get your goddamn keys,” “You gonna work out or are you gonna fight?,” “It ain’t the amount, it’s the skill,” “You’re dead, bitch!,” “Goddamn! Which one you motherfuckers killed my future ex-wife?,” “What, you don’t trust me?,” “Money can’t buy life, money can’t buy honor,” “How does a warrior break his word of honor?,” and “Remember, man, it ain’t over until we’re dead.”
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
– Looper: I reviewed this movie here. Basically, I thought it was okay at best. My opinion may change after repeated viewings but I’m not counting on that. It’s okay.
– Justified Season 3: I like this show quite a bit, but I didn’t watch any of season three when it was originally on. I don’t remember why I deliberately missed it (probably had too much to watch at that point in time and something had to go. That’s what usually happens). Was season three as badass as the first two?
– Cosmopolis: The latest attempt by director David Cronenberg to win an Oscar didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, and, as I remember it, the critics weren’t all that kind to it, either. But since it’s a Cronenberg movie it’s worth at least a rental. I do wish, though, that Cronenberg would get back into the horror movie business. If he isn’t going to be able to do a sequel to Eastern Promises he should go back to doing something weird and nasty. I bet the world would appreciate it.
– The Thompsons:This is a sequel to The Hamiltons, the nifty vampire flick directed by the Butcher Brothers that was part of the first After Dark Horrorfest back in 2006. I like the preview quite a bit, and with the Brothers back behind the camera it should be a good time in front of the TV.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
And now, the weekly Fearnet update
Fearnet, the only free all horror/thriller On Demand TV network features uncut, uncensored horror flicks from the past and present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, pretty much any time you freaking want them (as long as you still have power, that is). The channel also has behind-the-scenes stuff, trailers, and other cool hooey for you to check out. Check your local cable listings for availability (According to the Fearnetwebsite more and more Time Warner and Cox Cable areas are getting the channel. Be sure to go here to see if Fearnet is coming to your area).
Fearnet also exists as a regular old TV channel. This Fearnet airs horror movies roughly twenty one hours a day (there is a block of infomercials in the morning, usually from 6-9am est). The movies shown do have “commercial breaks” in them, similar to the breaks that currently appear on IFC, but the movies are uncut (blood and boobs and cursing are all intact).
Fearnet’s website, fearnet.com, offers free movies, interviews, news, and other behind-the-scenes horror movie nerd stuff, too. The horrendous Santa’s Slay was on the site last week. Is it still there? Check and see).
The website also features Post Mortem with Mick Garris, a nifty interview show where big, fat Stephen King’s favorite director talks with genre legends like John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Roger Corman, and others. It’s definitely worth your time.
If you’re a Facebook nerd (and, really, today, who isn’t?) you can check out the Fearnet fans Facebook page, which can be seen here. There are plenty of people out there interested in Fearnet. Join them. And, as always, thanks to both Mark Lindsey and Mathew Hirsch for info regarding the Fearnet fan movement.
Jack Klugman and Charles Durning RIP
The Big Question: What would you like to see in 2013?
2013 is probably going to be like any other previous year. There will likely be some good stuff, a whole bunch of bad stuff, and a staggering amount of smelly, awful bullshit. But, hey, there’s a chance that we’ll get more good stuff than bad stuff and the bullshit will be kept to a minimum, right? I mean, it has to happen at some point, doesn’t it? The law of averages and all that?
Well, even if we really are looking at more of the same crapola, I’m going to hope for the following anyway:
– The news media will stop trying to make me care about Lindsay Lohan’s issues with the law.
– Sean Hannity will stop being a smarmy, sniveling douchebag for a full minute on television.
– People will stop giving Jay Leno shit for “stealing” The Tonight Show from both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. Leno didn’t “steal” anything. NBC fucked Letterman and O’Brien over. That’s what happened. Go read the books by Bill Carter.
– Ann Coulter will admit that she’s completely full of shit.
– Joe Bob Briggs will be back on TV hosting movies. Why hasn’t Fearnet contacted him? Or AMC?
– It will be okay to be a man who doesn’t worship power tools or foam his pants while looking at wrenches in Home Depot.
– Mike Joy will flip out on Darrell Waltrip and tell him to stop the “boogity-boogity-boogity” shit. And Larry McReynolds will stop saying “hisself.”
– Someone important will loudly fart on live television and then keep talking like nothing happened.
– Marvel Comics will come to its fucking senses and bring back the Punisher in his own book.
– Keith Olbermann will be back on TV.
– Someone will finally get around to making a Mack Bolan movie. Or, at least, talk about making a Mack Bolan movie.
– Brett A. Hart, the writer-director of the awesome Bone Dry, will get to make another movie.
– ABC will move Nightline back to 11:35 pm EST where it fucking belongs.
– Lance Henriksen will fly via jet pack from New York City to Toronto because, well, he’s Lance Henriksen and he should be allowed to do that kind of thing if he wants to.
– Tim Thomerson will get to play Jack Deth one more time.
– “Ghost hunting” will finally be exposed for the massive fraud that it is.
– NCIS will get nominated for an Emmy.
– Justin Bieber will quit the music business and go into the shed building business.
– Lady Gaga will be photographed wearing sweatpants that are just sweatpants.
– Everyone will buy a newspaper at least once a week and at least one movie magazine a month.
– George A. Romero and John Carpenter will be honored by the Kennedy Center.
– Video stores will come back.
So, what do you guys want to see happen in 2013?
And now, Dr. Phil’s New Year’s Message
“Never bang your wife on New Year’s Eve. You can bang her on New Year’s Day all you want, but you should never bang your wife on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is for banging hot bitches you pick up at bars, at parties, or on the street. But your fucking wife? Fuck that shit.”
Okay. Good advice, I guess. Do you plan on “banging” Robin tomorrow?
“The only way I’m fucking that bitch is if I’m still fucking drunk from the night before. If I’m not still drunk she can go fuck herself with that big dildo I bought her for Christmas. I am not putting myself through New Year’s Day sex sober with that gash. No fucking way.”
But why, Phil? Don’t you love your wife?
“Have you seen my wife in yellow lingerie? I have, and it’s a fucking nightmare. She won’t wear black or red or blue or something worthwhile. All she’ll wear is yellow. And it makes me want to barf. The bitch is old now, with sagging skin and various wrinkles all over. Yellow just exacerbates the problem.”
Okay. Yellow lingerie is bad. What if she just wears a robe and is naked underneath? Will that be okay?
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Didn’t you just hear me describe how nasty my bitch wife looks? I need to be drunk to fuck that shit.”
Man, Phil, you have serious problems.
“You’re fucking A right I do. I need to get rid of that bitch so I don’t have to think about having gross New Year’s Day sex with her. Jesus Christ! Oh, Happy fucking New Year, everyone.”
Yeah, Phil. Happy New Year.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Aliyah O’Brien
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
– War of the Dead: Yet another low budget Nazi zombie movie. I hope they never stop making these kinds of movies. This one looks like a freaking hoot.
– Kingdom of Gladiators: A low budget fantasy movie about gladiators and demons and other weird hooey? Why wouldn’t I want to watch something like that? Just watch that trailer. Hysterical.
– Overtime: Apparently this is some sort of low budget action comedy sci-fi thing starring pro wrestler Al Snow. Why is this the first I’m hearing of it? Outrageous. Can’t wait to see it.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the ultra right wing media, for claiming that the “NBC’S David Gregory 30 round ammo clip” incident somehow proves there’s an ongoing conspiracy by the “urban elite” to take guns away from rural America. The reality, of course, is that all this incident really proves is that the “gun laws already on the books” (you know, the ones the right wing media and the gun lunatics say we need to enforce) are too confusing to follow and understand. NBC claims that it asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) if it could show an empty 30 round clip, in studio, during an interview with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. The ATF apparently told NBC it was okay. However, Washington D.C. police have claimed that the ATF is wrong and that Gregory and NBC are in violation of local D.C. law. The situation is currently under investigation.
So where’s the conspiracy? Damned if I know. I guess the right wing media wants you to believe that because Gregory isn’t in jail at the moment that that’s proof of the conspiracy. But it really isn’t. It just shows that no one knows what the hell the law is in the first place, and, as part of our “national conversation on gun violence,” maybe we need to take a second look at those laws that are “being neglected.” Because, really, what the hell is the law anyway?
We’re not going to do that, though. We’re just going to ask Harvey Weinstein to stop making horror movies. Because that’s sensible.
And then there’s everyone that wants CNN talk show host Piers Morgan deported because he has announced his support for more gun control. I can’t stand Morgan as a TV personality. His CNN interview show is often a chore to sit through. I can’t fathom why anyone would want to watch him interview anyone. But he shouldn’t be deported because he openly supports more gun control. Gun control is not a violation of the Second Amendment (I believe the Supreme Court said that the Amendment is not absolute), and if we’re going to deport Morgan over bullshit like that then everyone who openly supports gun control needs to be deported. Is that really the America you want to live in?
Why are people so damn crazy? Why?
And finally there’s the Kennedy Center, for asking Kid Rock to perform during the recent Kennedy Center Honors show in recognition of Led Zeppelin. The Kennedy Center couldn’t find anyone else to perform during this show? Really? I find that hard to believe.
When will this fascination with Kid Rock end? He’s just awful.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Year 2012: Donald Trump
I was originally going to award this designation to former Massachusetts Governor and failed 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Willard “Mitt” Romney for his “47%” remark, but, when I started thinking back at all of the bullshit that happened in 2012, Trump’s “Five million dollar challenge” thing actually stood out more. Five million dollars to a charity of the President’s choosing if he agreed to release his college transcripts? It was billed as an Earth shattering announcement, something that was going to “change things.” It was nothing of the sort. It was yet another bullshit publicity stunt by a guy who both can’t accept that a black guy is the President of the United States and that people aren’t constantly talking about him.
Donald Trump is a joke. An idiot. And a major douchebag. Hopefully no one takes him seriously ever again. I know I won’t. I mean, how could you? How?
Congrats, Donald. You’re the Douchebag of the Year.
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
Still very little going on in the world of racing. 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart announced that he will be entering the 27th annual Chili Bowl indoor midget race. Stewart has won the Chili Bowl a few times, and his presence there, along with, I assume, Kasey Kahne and a few more NASCAR stars, will add a little more exposure to the event. It’s too bad that the entire event isn’t on television. People would watch.
Stewart’s Eldora Speedway also apparently announced that tickets for the Camping World Truck Series race will start at $40. That almost sounds reasonable. I’m shocked that tickets aren’t starting at $100. Here’s some video of the test that NASCAR did before agreeing to stage a race.
Man, if the trucks are going to be dirt tracking like that in July, holy hooey is that race going to be a blast.
Not much going on in Indycar at the moment. Hopefully the new year will yield some actual news. I know stuff is happening, but no one is reporting it. Come on, guys, let us know what the heck is going on! Throw us a bone!
Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
Happy New Year!
Steven Seagal– Cross
Steve Austin– Manning
Michael Pare– Chris Blake
Aliyah O’Brien– Charlotte
Bren Foster– Bradley
Steph Song– Samantha
Zak Santiago– Fields
Michael Adamthwaite– Collins
Teach Grant– Max
Ian Robison– Warden Samuels
Richard Stroh– Terrence
Directed by Keoni Waxman
Screenplay by Richard Beattie
Distributed by Anchor Bay Films and Voltage Pictures
Rated R for violence and language throughout
Runtime– 98 minutes
Buy it here