• Maximum Conviction

    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: November 6, 2012.
    Director: Keoni Waxman
    Cast: Steven Segal, Steve Austin, Steph Song, Aliyah O'Brien, Bren Foster
    Year: 2012
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    The Movie:

    Two Steves are better than one! Director by Keoni Waxman worked with Steven Seagal in A Dangerous Man and with Steve Austin on Hunt To Kill so it sort of made sense that he’d pair the two up to co-star in an action movie at some point in time. With Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray release of 2012’s Maximum Conviction, that time is evidently upon us.

    The story revolves around a tough guy named Cross (Steven Seagal), a former black ops agent now working in the private sector. He and his former partner, the equally tough Manning (Steve Austin), are hired to oversea the closing of a military facility in Oregon. Before it’s all shut down, however, two very important female prisoners - Samantha (Steph Song) and Charlotte (Aliyah O'Brien) - are going to stashed there for a stint. When Tom comes across a note in code, he passes it off to his pal Bradley (Bren Foster) to decipher and as it turns out, the delivery route for the prisoners’ drop off isn’t nearly as secret as it is supposed to be. They put their heads together and figure one of the guards inside must be selling information to outside sources interested in springing the two foxy jailbirds en route to the facility.

    And wouldn’t you know it, shortly after this discovery a gang of machine gun totting paramilitary types descend upon the facility with every intention of getting Samantha out of there, regardless of who gets in their way. It seems she has some information that they want and they’re going to force it out of her… unless our heroes can stop them before it’s too late.

    This movie is made up of a lot of scenes of people running around inside a dark prison pointing guns at things. Sometimes they shoot these things, sometimes they don’t, but if you played a drinking game where you had to partake every time someone was on screen running around in the dark pointing a gun at something you’d be rushed to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning by the half way mark.

    That’s not to say that this movie isn’t enjoyable, however. Sure, it’s completely brainless and it features Seagal running around pretending to be in better shape than he is but it’s entertaining enough in a bad action movie sort of way. We get some solid violence, a good location, a couple of good looking actresses and the Chuck Norris style acting of Stone Cold himself. The plot isn’t deep nor is it tough to figure out but the action flows at a solid enough pace that this turns out to be a fun beer and popcorn movie. The film is riddled with one long series of clichés, packed to the brim with action movie stereotypes but these are stereotypes for a reason, that being that they’re generally effective enough to provide some cheap, simple thrills to the non-discerning B-action movie fan out there. On this level Maximum Conviction works well. Lots of people get punched and shot, a few people get kicked. Seagal mangles the fairly horrible dialogue and Austin stands around looking tough. The two men should have had a bit more screen time together than they wind up with in the finished version of the movie but when they’re working together the movie rises above. If this isn’t a new action classic it’s a fun way to kill an hour and a half.


    Maximum Conviction arrives on Blu-ray in a very nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1, just as you'd hope for with such a recent movie making the move to Blu-ray. Detail is always very strong as is texture and color reproduction, when not intentionally tweaked for artistic effect, generally looks nice and realistic. Skin tones are nice and natural looking here, no obvious waxiness by way of noise reduction to complain about, while black levels are strong if not quite reference quality. There aren't any issues with compression artifacts or noticeable edge enhancement and all in all, the movie fares very well in high definition.

    The only mix here is an English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, but optional subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish. Just as you'd expect from a Statham action movie, this is a very aggressive track with some impressively enveloping moments. Rear channels are used very effectively to help build suspense with the score and to put you in the middle of the action by way of some great directional effects. Most of the dialogue comes out of the front of the mix, which makes sense, but it's always crystal clear and never hard to understand in the slightest. Bass response is strong, deep and powerful but only to the point where it accents things, never to the point where it buries them, and of course there are no issues with any hiss or distortion of any kind. It's hard to find fault with this mix, it's very, very impressive.

    The first extra on the disc is an audio commentary that joins together director Keoni Waxman and executive producer Binh Dang for a talk about how and where the movie was shot, dealing with the different cast members, choreographing the action set pieces that highlight the movie, stunt work and a fair bit more. It’s a pretty thorough talk with both men rarely at a loss for words.

    From there we get a few featurettes, the first of which is the ten minute Maximum Conviction: Behind the Scenes segment that gathers up most of the cast and crew to talk about working with the film’s two leading men, the action set pieces, and more. The two minute Maximum Conviction: Steve Austin let’s Stone Cold talk about his work in the WWE and his work in the film industry. Maximum Conviction: Icons spends two minutes discussing how Austin and Segal came to work together on this project while the one and a half minute Maximum Conviction: Bren Foster discusses the actors contributions to the movie as well as his martial arts training. Menus and chapter stops are included. All of the extras are in high definition as and this is a combo pack release, a DVD copy of the movie is also included.

    The Final Word:

    A few decent extras and a very nice audio and video presentation from Anchor Bay helps this one out. As to the movie itself? It’s as brainless and basic as you’d expect but it does what it does reasonably well and fans of B-grade action movies that put violence over story and character development ought to eat this one right up. A fun popcorn movie where lots of people run around in the dark with guns and shoot things.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!