Max Tanabe (Richard Lynch) is Los Angeles’s biggest crime lord, involved in everything from prostitution to illegal fight clubs. But, because he’s rich, no one can touch him. He plays golf with the mayor. He’s paid off the police commissioner (Mickey Rooney). The police commissioner spends the entire movie riding around in a limo. How do you think he was able to afford that?
Captain Fuller (John Saxon) needs some new jack cops to take down a new jack gangster so he goes out and recruits three. Cody Randal (Sherries Ross) works vice. Rick Carver (Jason Lively) is a “tech expert” who rigs toy cars with explosives. Mike Crews (Sam J. Jones) is looking to avenge the death of his partner. Fuller brings them together and put them through an extensive training course. At the end of it, he tests their skills and their teamwork by bringing in a secret team of ninjas to attack them.
Which begs the question: If you already have a secret team of ninjas, why do you have to recruit and train three detectives to take down Tanabe? Why not just have the ninjas do it?
So, logic is not exactly Maximum Force‘s strong point but it still has some good points. For instance, you have to respect any movie that can bring together Richard Lynch and John Saxon, not to mention Mickey Rooney! Of course, there’s not really much of a reason for Mickey Rooney to be there. All of his scenes feature him in the limo and they are edited together so awkwardly that it seems probable the he never actually acted opposite any of his co-stars. But it doesn’t matter because he’s Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, picking up a paycheck in his twilight years. As for Saxon and Lynch, they do what they do best and bring gravitas to their otherwise stock roles.
As for the three heroes, they’re adequate even if none of them really shine. I liked the tech expert the best but that was just because he rigged all of those remote control cars to explode. Sam J. Jones and Sherrie Ross are both better at throwing punches than showing emotion but that’s what a film like this demands. Some of the fight scenes are exciting. There’s a helicopter attack early in the film. Towards the end of the film, when Mike decides that the team needs some extra help, he calls in an amateur wrestler named Bear who just randomly shows up during the final battle. Maximum Force knows what its audience wants and that’s the important thing.