Max Knight: Ultra Spy (2000, directed by Colin Budds)


Max Knight (Michael Landes) used to be the world’s greatest hacker but now he’s a spy who is more machine than man.  He can turn invisible at will but he also has a computerized heart that has to regularly be recharged to keep him alive and functioning.  I know it sound like he’s Iron Man but he’s not.  He’s Max Knight: Ultra  Spy.  He works out of a futuristic office and he has a virtual assistant who might be in love with him.

When teenage genius Lindsay (Brooke Harman) is kidnapped by a Mark McGrath look-alike named Zach (Christopher Morris), Max is hired by Lindsay’s sister, Ricki (Rachel Blakely).  Zach, who really does look like the lead singer of Sugar Ray, has a cult of followers who are all obsessed with living the rest of their lives online.  (If they had just waited a few years, they could have all gotten twitter accounts and the problem would have been solved.)  Zach knows that Lindsay has come up with the formula that will allow them all to become a part of the Internet and to destroy the rest of the world.  (Because everywhere Zach goes, all around the world, statues crumble for him.)  Eventually, Max and Zach enter the internet and battle it out, via some CGI that makes the entire movie look like an advanced level of Castle Wolfenstein.

Max Knight: Ultra Spy was originally a pilot for a television series and it very much wears its influences for all to see.  Max borrows his look and his general attitude from The Matrix while the special effects owe much to The Lawnmower Man and Doom.  The film’s obsession with the power of the net is, appropriately, taken from The Net.  The first scene is even a recreation of the scene in Entrapment where Catherine Zeta-Jones shows off her agility by avoiding the laser beams that would set off an alarm if she made one wrong move.  Entrapment is one of those films that has been forgotten today but back in 2000, everyone was obsessed with Catherine Zeta-Jones playing an FBI agent who pretends to be a thief to take down Sean Connery.  Sadly, it’s not as much fun to watch Max Knight avoid detection than it was to watch Catherine Zeta-Jones.

There’s a lot of technobabble but it doesn’t add up too much.  Don’t even try to figure out what exactly it is that Lindsay has discovered that will allow Zach to pull off his scheme.  Even without Lindsay being the key, Zach’s plan never makes any sense to begin with.  Michael Landes is a decent hero and Christopher Morris is an annoying villain.  Rachel Blakely and Brooke Harman were cute so the film has that going for it.  Max Knight is mostly interesting as a throw-back to the time when people were still fascinated with the possibilities of the Internet instead of just taking it for granted as one of life’s annoying necessities.  In 2000, Zach was portrayed as being a dangerous madman for wanting to live the rest of his life online.  Today, he would just be a normal Starbucks shift manager.

One response to “Max Knight: Ultra Spy (2000, directed by Colin Budds)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 6/27/22 — 7/3/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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