Your enjoyment of Max Cloud will largely depend on your love of early 90s video games. And even then that might not be enough.
Sarah (Isabelle Allen) is a big gamer and her favorite is Max Cloud. Director/co-writer Martin Owen sets the film in the 90s with a fun twist of venturing into the video game world.
Scott Adkins (Triple Threat) plays Max Cloud like a typical 90s video game lead. Adkins’ actual kickboxing background lends itself well to the 90s side scrolling fighting experience.
In a freak twist, Sarah gets sucked into the game as Max’s sidekick, Jake. With Sarah stuck in the game it’s up to her best friend, Cowboy (Frank Drameh, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) to control her every step.
They’ve got to get out of the terrible situation on Planet Heinous while avoiding a series of obstacles and boss battles.
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Owen and co-screenwriter Sally Collett seem to operate under the assumption that audiences will be caught up in the nostalgia and ignore the fact that Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart recently headlined two Jumanji films.
It feels like a misstep to move away from a more unique setup with a hardcore female gamer to having Sarah be a dude for most of the film. There’s a novelty in a teenage girl being an avid gamer and the filmmakers opt for a less interesting approach.
Maybe there’s some uneasiness about having a man control a woman even in a video game setting, but the aesthetics of a guy controlling a woman as a dude seems needlessly convoluted. And Jumanji did it better on all fronts anyway.
Owen does set up a fun 90s feel to the film and setting, but the novelty wears off quickly even with the introduction of different archetype characters like Tommy Flanagan’s bounty hunter, Brock Donovan, and the sarcastic Roxy (Collett).
Even at a short 88-minute run time the film lacks enough energy and spark to sustain itself as it loses steam midway through. There’s some quality video game moments yet they work more as nostalgia bits instead of entertaining
Rating: 4 out of 10
Photo Credit: Well Go Entertainment