Quite often on a new release Tuesday when we’re scanning the racks and the shelves at our local retailers and video stores, there is usually at least one or two releases that stand out for one reason or another that people will have their eye on to either rent or buy. However, there are some weeks where you come across a DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack cover that just attracts your attention because it is a perfect storm of a variety of factors that most of us may have simply never thought of putting together before. Case in point; Maximum Conviction, which unites two current straight-to-video action stars starring in one action thriller. Get ready for Steven Seagal to meet Steve Austin.
In Maximum Conviction former Special Forces commandoes turned private contractors Steele (Seagal) and Manning (Austin) are on what is supposed to be an easy assignment; clearing a cellblock of detainees from a decommissioned top secret black ops military prison. When a coldblooded team of mercenaries infiltrate the prison to attempt a ‘targeted extraction’ of two mysterious female inmates, this concrete fortress designed to keep these dangerous men locked in, becomes an absolute kill zone. With trained killers waiting at every corner and a prison of dangerous convicts out of their cells, these two warriors who’ve survived dozens of battlefields are in for the deadliest fight of their lives.
With both director Keoni Waxman and screenwriter Richard Beattie being plucked from Seagal’s reality TV show to create this film that was produced by both Steve’s, no one would blame even the most jaded of fan to have low expectations coming in to this. However, they did something pretty smart on this film and kept it simple, with fairly minimal set up as we get ourselves to the chase inside the prison. The action was well shot, managing to stay in budget without creating any set pieces that looked hokey or low budget along with some well staged fight sequences that will keep you engaged and present in the situation that these men find themselves in. In many ways Maximum Conviction harkens back to some of the action films of the 1980s; boiling it down to the bare essentials with guys getting killed along with the occasional sarcastic quip as we track the carnage to its somewhat logical conclusion, and despite their occasionally stoic deliveries and lack of actual screen time together this film works in large part to the general likability and ease that both Steve’s (Seagal and Austin) have on screen.
It’s not as easy as you’d think to have an action star knock off bad guys and still be fairly likable in the process, but both Seagal and Austin have such easy timing, not just when they are with each other, but also when they are sharing the screen with other cast members. The film never lulls and with two stars on screen at all times we are fully engaged from minute one. Nobody has to do any heavy lifting in this outing from a character development standpoint, but the narrative unfolds well enough so that the only thing anybody in this cast really needs to do is stay out of Austin and Seagal’s way as the film moves forward in a highly entertaining fashion.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray were quite solid. Special features on this release include a feature length audio commentary track with executive producer/director Keoni Waxman and co-executive producer Binh Dang, a behind the scenes look at Maximum Conviction, a look at working with two legendary action stars, and interviews with actors Steve Austin and Bren Foster.
No one will expect Maximum Conviction to light the world on fire, but they ended up with a great throwback action film, that not only entertains but makes us eager to see the two Steve’s get together for another film sooner rather than later.
Maximum Conviction is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download Tuesday, November 6.
Cast: Steve Austin, Steven Seagal
Directed by: Keoni Waxman