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George At 

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Maximum Overdrive


Stephen KIng is one of my favorite storytellers. I've been a "constant reader" for as long as I can remember. He's a superb writer, but film adaptions of his novels have been spotty at best.

Who would have thought one of the absolute worst would be from King himself? He wrote the screenplay AND directed the absolute disaster that is 1986's MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.

Clearly a short story stretched to feature length, it's like a rubber band pulled to its absolute breaking point with thin plotting, predictable characters and not enough mayhem.

Emilio Estevez is ex-con Bill, working at the Diner/Truck Stop of racist owner Hendershot (Pat Hingle of "Batman" and "Hang Em High"). When Earth passes through the tail of a comet, every machine on the planet comes alive with a vengeance to kill their human masters.

It's a silly idea with potential that's mostly wasted on an annoying cast. A bunch of semi trucks circle the diner/gas station menacingly, ready to run over any human in sight. It takes them an awful long time to realize they can just drive through the walls.

King has said over the years that he had NO IDEA what he was doing in the Director's chair and it shows. It's clumsy, poorly constructed and pretty much crap.

Several awards:

Most annoying cast member: Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson) as perhaps the most annoying bride in history on her honeymoon. I was begging for planes, trains or automobiles to run her over within two minutes of her arrival, and she's in almost the whole damn movie.

Most lame machine attack: a turkey carving knife. Really? Just throw it on the floor?

Worst acting: King himself in a cameo as a lame-brained citizen near the beginning of the film.

When asked recently why he's never directed another film since Maximum Overdrive, he said, 'Have you SEEN Maximum Overdrive?"

LOL. The man knows his strengths.

The absolute BEST part of the film is the music score from AC/DC, including many of their hits that mesh perfectly with vehicular destruction.

But their tunes aren't enough to save this off-key, off putting craptastic horror film.

With no scares and no brains, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE provides minimal entertainment and gets an F.

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