Okay, this month we have a movie
that has split the opinions of many people. I am talking about Maximum
Overdrive, a strange piece of work churned out by Stephen
King. When I say split people, I mean that many hate it for what it really
is, a piece of crap film that is completely implausible.
Others see it as an intentional B-movie-esque flick that is built on the
fact that it in unbelievable and cheesy. Aarron and Vince are followers
on the latter. I believe that it is a piece of crap and that the Director,
who is used to everything he touches turning into gold, is trying to cover
his incompetence by making up the B-Movie statements. This film came out
in 1986 and grossed $7,434,000 in the box office, but I'm sure it has made
more in video sales and television licensing fees because I have seen it
aired on the Superstation. Cinemania and the Corel All Movie guide
both gave it 1 star and I absolutely agree.
As I said earlier, Stephen
King makes his directorial debut and I have also voiced my sentiment on
that as well. What I will get into is the fact that my opinion is that
King is a hack writer. His novels are always
the same and the movie adaptations almost always blow. People say that
the adaptations of his books are bad, but the fact is that the true quality
of the books is shown on the screen. The only good films based on
his work are Carrie
and The Shining,
as well as the Running Man
and his work on the Creepshow
films. Oh and he makes a cameo in this flick as well.
It's set in sub industrial
North Carolina and stars Emilio Estevez. He is one of the Martin Sheen
boys who has been in some memorable films, but I respect him best for doing
with Mick Jaeger and the Rene Russo. He plays the lead hero. A lead hero,
even in a flick as weak as this needs a chick. That chick is played
by Laura Harrington. She was in one of my favorite movies, The
Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.
Lots of big names in that film. Topping off the big names is Pat Hingle,
who plays a real asshole redneck. It's a damn shame that a actor who has
starred in three Clint Eastwood films (The
Em' High, and Sudden
Impact) has to sink to this.
Two things I must note
that one, there are other people in this film who acted. I will mention
that Yeardley Smith, who does a lot of voices on the Simpsons is in this
film somewhere. Corel All Movie Guide says that Marla Maples is somewhere
in this film credited as "2nd woman" but I have yet to see her. The other
fact is that the soundtrack to the movie was done by AC/DC and is one of
the things that even makes this film watchable. This band does know how
to make a rocking groove.
flick starts by letting us know that the earth will be surrounded by the
tail of this comet for like almost nine days. Then we cut to a drawbridge
that somehow opens by itself and in my opinion is one of the better scenes
in the film. You've got AC/DC's Who Made Who playing and you've got cars
flying and smashing into each other, Several people crash through windshields.
A good start, good enough to keep you interested for the next 30 minutes.
Then they cut to the
Dixie Boy Truck stop and you just know this is where we are going to spend
most of our time. There we meet some of the corn shucking crackers that
work there including Emilio Estevez and Pat Hingle as Bubba Hendershodt.
While we discover that Bubba has some kind of former criminal work program
going on, the machines are starting to go ape shit. It starts simple with
video games and cigarette machines spitting out quarters, then the gas
pump goes wild and blinds a guy with diesel fuel. This begins my fundamental
problem with this movie, but I will wait until the real machines go nuts
to go there.
an electric knife attacks this waitress chick, and this dude trying to
steal all of the smokes and change gets electrocuted by a Star Castle game.
Please! We then cut to a softball game and we are coming to another one
of the cool "machines attacking men" scenes. The soda machine goes nuts
an starts shooting cans of pop at everyone, wasting the coach and several
kids. It's a pretty cool scene, but it gets better, a road flattener enters
the scene and squishes this kid. But a kid escapes and you can bet we'll
see more of him.
We are introduced to
the only good looking girl in the film. She's tough so she must be the
chick lined up for Emilio. She's hitchhiking with this sleazy salesman
dude and they both almost get killed by the semi truck with the Green Goblin
on the front. Nobody was in the truck . . . ooohhh spooky.
Now we cut to this recently
married (Curt and Connie) couple who also get attacked by a big rig.
I will say up front that the chick is extremely annoying and was obviously
put there for two reasons. First is for comic relief. The hysterical
chick is always supposed to be funny. The second reason she is there
is to give us a person we want to see killed. Horror movies always
follow this little pattern. They usually give us two or three annoying
assholes we want to see whacked. They usually do, but one is often left
alive for irony.
to the kid, we see him going through a residential district where there
are dead people everywhere. People killed by their walkmans, people killed
by their hair dryers, even a dog killed by a toy car. The kid is chased
by an insane ice cream truck, something that happens even when the machines
aren't in control. Then he gets attacked by a crazed lawn mower.
This kid is pretty damn smart for some North Carolina cousin lover. We
also learn that the dude that was blinded is the father of this intrepid
kid. You know for a fact that this guy is going to get wasted so
we can amplify the "kids wants to see the machines destroyed" action. Sure
as shit, not 1 minute later he and the bible selling sleazeball both get
whacked by semi's. See what I was saying, one down, two hated people to
go (Bubba and Connie).
some pathetic attempts at character development at the Dixie Boy, we cut
back to the married couple who are being attacked by a Mack truck.
We get a lame chase scene that ends in the truck going off of the road
and exploding (another law of science violated). And here's a question
for you, if the trucks are possessed, why isn't the married couples car?
Anyway they head for the Dixie Boy and find out it is surrounded by trucks,
they try to get through and are hit but escape. And Bubba somehow
has a missile launcher (LAW Rocket)! So they blow up some trucks and there
is more attempts at character development between Emilio and the chick.
We discover that she was hitchhiking
her way to Florida. She's a bright girl. They find out Bubba has an
entire armory in the basement. Now we should be seeing some truck explode
Instead we get Emilio
and the chick doing the mattress mambo. The kid has made it to the truck
stop sewer drain after dodging a plane flying on its own playing that "Flight
of the Valkyries" song by Wagner from Apocalypse
Now. At least the chick figures out that the machines
have gone nuts because of the planet being in the comets tail and if they
stay alive for another seven days, they'll be okay.
Hey, truck stop trash aren't so stupid after all. Emilio has a plan to
take a sailboat to an island. While he and the chick are talking/rooting,
the waitress goes on this drunken rant at the trucks and nearly gets killed
for her trouble. That chick cannot act. So instead of taking the vehicles
out before the machines can bring in reinforcements, they sit around drinking
beer, pissing and moaning. This is a sure sign that
civilization is doomed.
Turns out the bible
salesman isn't dead so Emilio and Curt go to save him by crawling through
the sewer system. I have never been to a truck stop that appeared to have
a working septic tank no less a sewer system!
At the same time the kid is crawling through a drainage pipe to get to
the Dixie Boy. Typical "hero goes to save the asshole even though he isn't
worth it" bit. Of course by the time they get there the guy is dead, but
the meet the kid. Huzzah! Great job outsmarting those machines to get here
and rejoin your dad . . . who is
Dawn breaks on day two
and the machines have brought in a bulldozer to clean up the trashed trucks
and some kind of motorized thing with an M-60 machine-gun mounted on it.
Bubba blows up the bulldozer and then he and three other nobody characters
It is at this point
I have to throw the bullshit flag and go off on this film. I was
willing to accept certain aspects of the films story line for entertainment
purposes, but this scene crystallizes
all of the little things that are wrong even in a fictional sense. First
lets talk about the machines. Now I was willing to accept a certain level
of machines being able to function on their own, like if they had some
kind of computer system in them (a planes autopilot, and ATM going nuts,
a video game shorting out). I overlooked the fact that any vehicle not
running at the time wouldn't be able to shift into gear without human help.
I ignored the fact that lawnmowers have no steering mechanism and therefore
without a human to steer it, would simply go in a straight line. I bought
electrical appliances electrocuting their owners, even though a Walkman's
2 AA batteries will barely give your tongue a shock. But the machine-gun
went too far out of hand. First off, it is a movie created vehicle, you
can't find that kind of thing anywhere. Second is the machine-gun. It would
not be mounted on this thing. It would not be able to move because there
is no mechanism to do so, it is just a pole stuck in a hole. It would not
be able to cock itself, it can't reload (M-60 rounds come in belts of 100).
It's bullshit. Now if they would have brought in a tank, which has auto
loading cannons and machine-guns that can track targets with a computer
I would have bought it. Aaarrrghhh!
Anyway, the waitress
tries to take a truck out and gets killed for her efforts. The vehicles
use honking horns and morse code to tell them to turn on the pumps and
fuel them up. So we get like a ten minute series of scenes where they are
gassing up the trucks all sweaty and tired with Hells Bells playing in
the background. Dumb assed humans. While in a delirious haze, Emilio lays
out this theory that
this is actually aliens softening up our planet for a takeover. Man, those
diesel fumes sure pack a punch.
So they start their
escape plan by blowing up the gun platform and crawling through the sewers.
At the same time the trucks start destroying the truck stop. They are on
their way to the marina, but it appears that that Green Goblin semi is
after them. There is a cool scene of that plane from earlier in the flick
has dive-bombed a school bus. So they get to the marina and the kid blows
away this drive through thing because it is annoying, then Curt wastes
that Ice Cream truck.
they are getting ready to leave a greedy guy tries to take this diamond
ring off of a dead chick and is squashed by the Green Goblin truck. Naturally,
Emilio Estevez blows the crap out of the truck and they all sail off into
the sunset . . .well actually it was the sunrise. So just as you'd be getting
up to leave the theater, a little caption lets you know that two days later
a Russian satellite equipped with lasers and nukes destroyed a UFO and
everything went back to normal after the earth finished passing through
the comets tail. I'm sorry, but I have a problem with this. If there
were aliens controlling the deal, the satellite would not have been able
to be used against them. Duh.
Anyway, now it is over.
Okay, on a six-pack of beer and a lobotomy, this is an enjoyable film,
if only for the soundtrack. There are lots of trucks and stuff so if your
name is Cooter or you live in a trailer "home" you'll enjoy this film.
Of course those kind of people don't own VCR's so what's the point.
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