Cinemax Friday: Maximum Revenge (1997, directed by Fred Olen Ray)


When a new maximum security prison is finally ready to be opened and filled with dangerous criminals, Warden Glover (Arthur Roberts) gives a tour to reporter Tracy Quinn (Landon Hall).  Unfortunately, the tour is interrupted when a group of terrorists led by Murdock (John Lazar, who is best-known for playing the homicidal record producers in Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls) infiltrate the prison and take over.  Their plan is to set off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles and trick the United States into a retaliatory strike against the Middle East.

Fortunately, the Warden is able to free the five prisoners who had already been transferred to the prison before it was taken over by terrorists.  It’s now up to the prisoners to defeat the terrorists and defuse the bomb.  They’ve only got an hour to prevent a war!  Fortunately, the prisoners are being led by former CIA agent, Mace Richter (Paul Michael Robinson).  Mace is only in prison because he was framed after a hostage rescue went wrong.  (It turned out that the hostage was in on the plot so Mace killed him.)  Amazingly, the terrorists from that operation are the same terrorists who have now taken over the prison.  What a coincidence!

Maximum Revenge is a Fred Olen Ray movie so you know what you’re getting.  The film rips off Die Hard by having Mace and the crew take out the terrorists one-by-one.  Despite the fact that they’ve only got an hour to stop a nuclear bomb from going off, Mace and Tracy still drop everything so that they can have sex in one of the prison offices.  It seems like that could have waited until after World War III had been prevented but then again, it’s a Fred Olen Ray film.  No matter what else can be said about Fred Olen Ray, he knows what his target audience is watching for.

Paul Michael Robinson is not an extremely compelling action star and the fight scenes are pretty rudimentary.  The prison is obviously an office building and the frequent inserts of the bomb very slowly counting down from 60:00 are good for a laugh or two.  (Most bomb timers count down in seconds but I guess this one was meant to count down in minutes.  At one point, though, the timer reads 16:86.)  Even though the prison doesn’t appear to be that big and the terrorists aren’t that impressive, the timer is still somehow allowed to get all the way down to 00:01 before anyone does anything about it.  That tells you all you need to know.  The best thing about the movie are the end credits, which are filled with joke names.  My favorite was the electrician named Sparks McGee.

One response to “Cinemax Friday: Maximum Revenge (1997, directed by Fred Olen Ray)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/31/20 — 9/6/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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