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Review Maximum Risk (1996): Ringo Lam's American debut!

genre: action, thriller, crime

Maximum Risk was Ringo Lam's American directorial debut similarly how Hard Target was John Woo's American debut. Back then I joked that it was quite funny how three of the greatest director's (John Woo, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark) of Hong Kong cinema kept ending up with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Like it was an initiation of some sort. If they could achieve succes with him then they could achieve succes with anyone.

In that respect Maximum Risk is quite decent. It's filled with action, intrigue and drama. Maybe even one or two memorable sequences. However it's also one that is a little too bogged down by the plot. The mystery that is predictable to a tee and never gets deep enough. Van Damme has a twin he never knew existed. And apparently his brother was involved with the Russian mafia. It is bit of a shame since it does promise a whole lot. Unfortunately on that front it never delivers. Although you will hardly get the chance to since the entertaining action will distract you constantly. It's not the kind you would expect from Jean-Claude Van Damme. Apart from one big fight it's mostly stunt and chase work. I can't quite put my finger on it. But it's very effective and yet at the same time perhaps also could be considered a little average. 

The plot could have worked tough had Van Damme been a better actor. The whole twin thing would have been more interesting if he had managed to make the two brothers completely different. Instead it's just Jean-Claude with a different hair cut. The love interest Natasha Henstridge does what she can. But she is not given that much to do. The villains of the story are as generic as they come. Another area where they could have improved things on. 

Overall it's a very entertaining action thriller while it lasts. But nothing more and nothing less.

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