Westlake Entertainment // 2005 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 2nd, 2007
"You've got a lot of heart, Christy. You'll make a great heart
-- Max Havoc
I wonder when the Havocs named their child "Max," if they knew he was going to grow up to be a bad-ass kickboxer who the ladies love? I'm guessing yes. No way a guy named "Max Havoc" ends up selling life insurance.
Let me tell you about Max Havoc (Mickey Hardt). He's one tough dude. He used to be a kickboxer, until he killed some poor sap in the ring and then quit to wallow in his guilt. He eventually got a job as a freelance photographer to leave his violent past behind, yet still finds himself engaging in random street fights here and there.
His latest assignment is in Guam for a photo-shoot. While there, he meets the Goody sisters, Jane (Joanna Krupa) and Christy (Tawny Sabian). Turns out, they're in a spot of trouble with the Guam branch of the Yakuza. While perusing a pawn shop, they had found a valuable jade dragon, which they think help pay for Christy's medical school education. Unfortunately, the Black Dragon Yakuza clan, led by the Grand Master (David Carradine, Kill Bill: Volume 2) want the dragon because it contains the ashes of one of their former leaders.
Sworn to defend the Goody sisters, despite their total lack of common sense, Max squares off with a never-ending supply of Black Dragon fighters, and must overcome his guilt trip and use his lethal skills to beat his enemies senseless.
There are some decently choreographed fight sequences here and Mickey Hardt, whoever he is, has some dope moves. But that's about it for this otherwise idiotic action movie. The rest of the runtime is consumed with feeble acting and a boring plot. While the fight scenes are well done, to get to them you'll have to endure some excruciating everything else.
Director Albert Pyun is not subtle with his themes. We get it, Max is struggling to overcome that kickboxing bout where he killed the guy. But Pyun makes sure we're front and center with Max's inner demons by replaying that flashback over and over again, often in slow motion. And when the time comes for Max to vanquish the final foe of the film, how do you think he tackles that? Does he smite the guy or learn from his dark past? I'll let you experience that for yourself.
The film is stockpiled with a lot of dumb moments. Take Max's introduction to the Goody sisters (dumb names those): while jet-skiing, he notices one of the girls swimming in like three feet of water and, bearing down on her, some jerks in a catamaran. The scene is set up like a high-tension, near-death thrill ride, but, seriously, it's pretty much a glorified canoe ride! Anyway, Max swoops in just in time to pluck the girl from the drink and whew that was close. Or there's the big battle at the end between Max and the heavyweight Black Dragon enforcer, which Max chooses to fight wearing sandals. Hard to swallow that this muscle-bound Yakuza would succumb to a Teva smackdown.
Of the cast, Joanna Krupa manages to not embarrass herself, though her character is supremely stupid and often endangers Max through her poor decision-making. On the other hand, she has giant breasts and Max can't stop staring at them, so it all evens out. Hardt is a physical presence, but when words come out of his mouth, nearby insects die. Then there's David Carradine, phoning in a paycheck-earning performance that is better left un-scrutinized.
Suitably, the DVD also fails to impress. The full frame video quality is shoddy and the 2.0 stereo surround is average. The menu system are poorly constructed, and the scene selection offers just still shots, much like you'd find in low-end release, which, I guess this is. Extras: a few cast interviews, a photo gallery and a DVD-ROM accessible "Girls of Max Havoc" calendar. Ugh.
A few sharp combat scenes do little to rescue this film from the Realm of Pointless Action Movies.
Guilty. Take the next canoe-ride out of here.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Westlake Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Cast Interviews
* Still Gallery
* "Girls of Max Havoc" Calendar