By: John M Jerva
THE REVIEW: There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a year to forget and unfortunately the movie industry, which should offer a distraction from the everyday troubles, was hit hard just like everything else. The indie cinema crowd stepped up in big ways to deliver new entertainment to the masses and while a lot of the action on hand was of the brooding and bruising variety, there is one movie that has been released that throws it back to the glory days of cinema and channels some of the comedies that offered nice diversions.
Ironically, this film comes from an action star that is normally known for brooding and bruising and Scott Adkins would be the first to tell you that most of his on screen characters were never funny. That’s all changed now with Adkins’ latest endeavor titled Max Cloud which sees the action star once again trying something a little bit different and thus tackling his first ever full blown comedy. Max Cloud is a broad sci-fi action comedy that pays homage to the 80’s and Adkins is fully on board from start to finish in a movie that ends the year on a high note. A funny note to be exact.
Max Cloud sees our favorite on screen slugger starring as a video game character of all things as he portrays the titular Max Cloud who is very full of himself and never wastes an opportunity to let those around him know it. It’s part of his charm and it serves up a lot of the comedic moments in the film with Adkins going all in. After all, if you’re going to do comedy then you better commit and commit Adkins does. Big time. He dabbled a little with his comedic chops in the darkly laced Accident Man but here it’s every man and woman for themselves as no expense is spared.
In terms of plot, Max Cloud is a little reminiscent to the Jumanji reboot with Dwayne Johnson in that our protagonist Sarah (Isabelle Allen) whose real life is anything but stellar, is obsessed with her favorite video game and she plays it religiously with her best friend Cowboy (Franz Drameh). Sarah unexpectedly is pulled into her favorite game when she finds a little Easter egg within the game that allows her to enter and experience the adventure first hand as Cloud and his motley crew of space faring cohorts crash land on a planet that is deliciously named Heinous which just happens to be a prison planet housing some of the galaxies worst of the worst. Just like Jumanji, Sarah is transported into the avatar of Cloud’s onboard chef played by Elliot James Langridge.
I won’t go into a lot of plot details as you should watch the film and experience it for yourself but I feel that Max Cloud is arguably one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time inducing several laugh out loud moments. Adkins does a stellar job bringing the video game character to life and plays Cloud as sort of pretentious and arrogant. He spews awesome lines like “I’m Max Cloud, I don’t have time for death!” which should tell you what sort of time you’re in for here. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. His performance once again proves to his legions of fans and anyone else for that matter that he is much more than just a action star and on screen human highlight reel.
Once again Adkins is surrounded by a top notch cast that includes Tommy Flanagan of Wu Assassins and American Fighter, Sally Collett, Spartacus’ John Hannah and Lashsna Lynch from the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die. Hannah and Lynch are on bad guy duties here and while Hannah is good as always, it’s Lynch who really steals the show in several scenes.
Directed by Martin Owen, he keeps the humor with tongue firmly in cheek and keeps things moving briskly with its 88 minute running time. The visuals and colors add a great dose of flavor to the proceedings and even the nostalgic music score is on its game. Those of you who are old enough to appreciate singer Stan Bush will love the fact that he is featured heavily in the film and I almost went crazy when they started to play his awesome song Dare which was featured in Transformers The Movie. The score is also 80’s rockn’ with synthesizers galore to make you long for that epic decade.
Now, of course, this is a Scott Adkins movie so we have to talk about the action and while it’s different than fans are used to, it’s a great blend of what made old school scrolling fight games great. Adkins gets to showcase his stuff so no worries there and former Jackie Chan team member Andy Nguyen handles the fight action duties and keeps it retro just like you remember while playing games like Streetfighter. There is a great deal of violence to be had but it’s all in good fun and if you ever wanted to see Adkins stab an opponent repeatedly to humorous effect then this is the movie for you. I was certainly grinning and can I say that every time Adkins fist pumped just like the 16 bit characters of old, I smiled from ear to ear. This movie was made for my generation and it’s the 40 something crowd that will truly appreciate what’s on screen.
I will say that I was surprised that Adkins doesn’t get the final fight duties here but I understand why and how it played out in context to the plot. Adkins not being highlighted at the end was another nice switch and it shows that he’s a team player and will gladly take a back seat when it’s called for. Just don’t let it happen to often.
Overall: Max Cloud is the perfect fun time at the movies that we needed after the turbulent year we have had and while a lot of people won’t get what type of movie it is, that’s ok because it’s the ones that do that this movie was made for. Scott Adkins delivers a true comedic performance in Max Cloud and the rest of the cast deliver in spades. It’s just pure fun.
If you grew up in the 80’s like me then this movie will definitely take you down memory lane to a much simpler time when everything was awesome and large in scope. It’s an eclectic blend of comedy, music and Scott Adkins signature fight action. I definitely want to see Adkins do more comedy and I feel a buddy cop action/comedy is definitely in his future. Simply put the movie on and forget about your troubles for 88 minutes. You’ll be glad you did.