Maximum Impact

Hot summer day. Cold A/C. Big roast beef sandwich from Arby’s, some curly fries – a mound of ketchup. The knowledge that somewhere out there you could be doing something useful with your life. Maybe, at the least, not sitting inside eating Arby’s. But you’re here, and you might as well make the best of it. Load up Amazon Prime. What’s this? A Russian action movie starring Tom Arnold, Eric Roberts, Danny Trejo and … William Baldwin?!

Queue it up!

Maximum Impact is an incoherent crime story (involving criminals trying to mess with a U.S.-Russia summit) with action sequences straight out of a YouTube superhero fight movie. It has characters whose defining traits are stupid running jokes. Barnes (Arnold) pees all the time. Scanlon (Bai Ling) is a Deputy Secretary of Defense (?) who just constantly wants to have sex constantly with her assistant, Nathan (Alphonso McAuley), and his “ebony features.” Eric Roberts is Eric Fucking Roberts. Anyway.

It’s not enough to say Maximum Impact is dreck because you know it’s going to be from the second the poster slides across your menu. Is it watchable, occasionally absurd dreck that keeps you entertained and going for about 90 minutes? Yeah, in a minor diversionary way. Lead actor Alexander Nevsky — who plays a character named Maxim — is the Russian agent who basically leads the good guy team and their various missions.

One subplot features Roberts’ granddaughter, who is in love with a Russian pop star going on the lam in Russia to hang out with him. I don’t really know why it happens, but it does. She’s compared to Miley Cyrus sometimes. She stows away on their international flight by hiding in the lavatory, only to be discovered when Barnes needs to take another humorous piss.

“Close your eyes!” he says. It’s an emergency.

The villainous Tony Lin (Mark Dacascos, maybe the most recognizable face to contemporary audiences given his roles in a variety of films and network TV) and his crew are constantly acting stylish while hunting the granddaughter.

Movies like Maximum Impact know precisely what they’re offering and never come across as earnest or sincere. They know you’re not watching for that. It’s above-average schlock. Dumb as hell. Somewhat decent action choreography. A sense of humor. The absolute low-brow.


Administrator of Midwest Film Journal. Previously a staff writer for TheFilmYap.com, Evan has been writing film criticism in the Indianapolis area for over half a decade. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He also reviews Oreos.


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