They are society's most dangerous criminals. They are our only hope.
Paul Michael Robinson is Mace Richter, a cop on the scene of a hijacking. The SWAT are taking too long to get there so Richter goes in himself to take out the bad guys. He is caught unawares when the primary hostage turns out to be in on the hijacking and tries to shoot him, but Richter shoots him first. Apparently nobody on the plane noticed that the guy had a gun and the chief of police needs to assign blame to somebody for killing an important Arab oil tycoon, so Richter goes down for six months in prison and the other hijackers escape. Side note: Richter's captain is called Hightower - best name for a Captain ever.
We flash to nearly six months later where for some reason instead of being freed, Richter is being transferred to a brilliant new prison that is impossible to escape from and has saunas for the prisoners, or something. The warden is giving a tour to reporter Tracy Quinn (Landon Hall) when the same terrorists from the hijacking break in and hold Quinn and the warden hostage. The warden manages to knock out his guard henchman and for some reason decides to open all the prison cells and let Richter and the rest of the prisoners out to deal with the terrorist threat. Oh, and there's a bomb that needs deactivating.
This is inept, but somewhat entertaining anyway. There are many things wrong with the movie but overall it's on par with something like Dudikoff's Executive Command, with two soft-core sex scenes to boot. Director Fred Olen Ray has been at this game for years now, churning out the lowest of the low budget genre movies. He has over 120 directing credits to his name and sixteen movies with the word Bikini in the title. That gives you an idea what to expect from Ray's films - cheap trash. He has worked with some of the 'best' in bad-action including Don "The Dragon" Wilson (we've reviewed Inferno aka Operation Cobra earlier), Michael Dudikoff and Matthias Hues. This won't be the last Fred Olen Ray movie to be reviewed on this blog.
There's a couple of punch-ups with added kick-fighting between Richter and various henchmen that are okay, but nothing amazing. Paul Michael Robinson looks like he can hold his own as a minor action star (he's in Don Wilson's Prophet, Antonio Sabbato Jr.'s The Chaos Factor, Active Stealth with Daniel Baldwin) but his career is littered with soft-core porn for the most part. That's a bit of a waste for bad-action fans as he has the physique and acceptable acting qualities required for the genre. There's a fair bit of gun-play going on as well, mostly the bad guys executing hostages.
John Lazar's Murdock is the main bad guy here. He is mainly known for his role as Z-Man in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls though was also the funny sorcerer Jarek in Deathstalker 2. He is as camp as a row of tents in this and his hilarious whitened flat-top hair do cracks me up in every scene he's in. His final rant about "camel-jocky Jihadists" (his words, not mine!) is worth the price of entry alone. The girl on the cover, Katya (Monique Parent, another henchman) is disappointingly underused, but that can be said for most of the cast. She spends the whole movie holding the gun in the cover photo and NEVER fires it. This is immensely disappointing as the gun is massive and would take out a wall.
The other prisoners are the typical kitchen-sink variety; a tough Spanish guy called Gonzales who provides the audience with all the "adios muchachos" cliches we need, a scared white collar criminal that has never fired a weapon before, a beefcake that could tie two trucks together and an explosives expert that insists we're gonna get through this. He'll come in handy when the bomb needs to be defused in the final second (and it is). There's a hilarious throw-away subplot with the beefcake and him when the beefcake admits he can't read, and he responds "When we get outta here, we'll make that happen." What the hell!
The two soft-core scenes were totally unnecessary and just cringeworthy. The first one came out of nowhere involving characters we never see again, and the latter one involves Robinson channelling his 'prowess' from the Emmanuelle movies with Landon Hall. A sex scene in most action movies goes for 45 seconds and is fairly discreet and may serve a purpose. These go for what seems like five full minutes (though probably not) and are there for the sake of being there and because the girls in question have large... assets. I guess we can't blame Fred Olen Ray for trying.
This is one oft those movies you'll pick at; like the absolute ease at which the terrorists "break" into the jail in the first place, and like the bomb ticking in the basement that is set for 60:00 on the clock and we are informed by Katya that they have sixty minutes until detonation, yet we clearly see the clock counting down in decimals - 16:89 is not a measure of time! Anyway, Maximum Security is utterly stupid and completely derivative, but there are worse ways to spend 80 minutes. If you see it cheap as I did or it's on late (late, late) night television and you have plenty of beer on standby, you may as well check it out - at least for John Lazar's hair.
Soft, full frame, cheap. What you expect. Runtime 84 minutes.
The Australian DVD by RAAM multimedia, available for $2 at all purveyors of crap cinema.
Sorry, couldn't find one!