One of the big blockbusters from this past summer was “The Expendables 2.” The all-star gathering of action heroes had larger roles for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger along with the additions of Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The glaring omission from completing the line-up was Steven Seagal. Aside from “Machete,” he’s been toiling away in the direct-to-video market with a steady stream of low-budget action flicks. Seagal’s latest effort is “Maximum Conviction,” which features his own epic team-up with WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin.
The two Steves play Cross (Seagal) and Manning (Austin), a pair of former Special Forces operatives now working as private security contractors. Their latest assignment is assisting in the decommissioning of a top secret military prison in the Pacific Northwest. Most of the facility has already been shut down save for a skeleton crew of guards and a block holding a handful of high security convicts. The number grows when Cross checks in two female prisoners, Samantha Mendez (Steph Song) and Charlotte Walker (Aliyah O'Brien). The ladies are of keen interest to a team of well-armed mercenaries who infiltrate the prison while posing as U.S. Marshals. Cross and Manning are left scattered and outgunned when the bad guys take control and release all the prisoners.
"Maximum Conviction" is exactly what you'd expect from a run-of-the-mill action flick. This is the kind of movie someone might find in the discount bin at Walmart or playing late night on cable television. The direction and script are handled by Keoni Waxman and Richard Beattie, who have both contributed to Seagal's television drama "True Justice." Waxman also directed the Austin vehicle "Hunt to Kill." Behind the camera, Waxman handles the action flat though competently handled. The dialogue is wooden and there are a few glaring plot holes. At one point, a female guard provided cover fire for Cross to move his prisoners, but she's never seen again and her fate isn't revealed.
The selling point here is Steven Seagal and Steve Austin. Sadly, Seagal's best days are far behind him. He's looking less like Steven Seagal and more like the monster that ate Steven Seagal. He looks embarrassingly bloated and barely mobile so don't expect him to throw any roundhouse kicks. Seagal's M.O. is to stand still and wait for his opponents to come to him. Luckily, his punches still pack a wallop. Austin doesn't get the chance to show the charisma he once did as the Texas Rattlesnake, except for a couple of funny one-liners. Both deliver their lines in the most gruff and monotone manner possible. Completing this line-up of C-list Expendables is Michael Paré as the villainous ringleader. Paré starred in "Eddie and the Cruisers" and "Streets of Fire" back in the 80's, but never hit it big like some of his macho brethren.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture quality isn't sparkling, but the film gets a solid presentation with a strong transfer.
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The sound isn't as robust as you'd hope for a film with lots of fist fights and shootouts. Still, it's well done with dialogue coming in crisp and clear.
Maximum Conviction: Behind the Scenes (10:00) is the standard making-of featurette with the cast, producer, and director discussing the movie.
Maximum Conviction: Steve Austin (1:47) focuses on the Stone Cold one and his involvement on the production.
Maximum Conviction: Icons (1:41) is all about what it's like working with Seagal and Austin.
Maximum Conviction: Bren Foster (1:21) centers on the relatively unknown Foster and the differences between shooting an action film and his work on "Days of Our Lives."
Also included is an audio commentary with director Keoni Waxman and producer Binh Dang, plus a DVD version of the film.
"Maximum Conviction" is a brainless and generic effort. On the other hand, it moves at a brisk pace and keeps you occupied with a steady stream of action. This is a movie only recommended for die-hard fans of Seagal and Austin.