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Maximum Overdrive
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B-movie laugh riot

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
27 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stephen King's infamously bad film of one of his own short stories certainly lives up to expectations: it's pretty dire. Still, there are plenty of things to laugh at and if you keep your expectations low then you can't be disappointed. The main problem with the film is that the premise of machinery coming to life isn't scary, but in fact, it's funny. The film doesn't know whether to make us scared or make us laugh, so it tries to do both, which is something very difficult. The result is that it's neither funny (in an intentional way) or scary. It's just weird.

The best bits have to be at the beginning where we get a varied selection of killer machinery, from a lawnmower to a coke machine, which shoots cans at a group of kids playing baseball in one hilarious scene which you won't believe has been filmed. It's so stupid that all you can do is laugh, especially when one guy is brained by a can. Death by flying coke! Well, at least the film was partly original. There are other funny bits too, such as a lawnmower trying to be threatening, people who've been killed by electric car windows (I find it hard to believe that some people were so stupid that they sat with their heads through the car windows), plus the expected Stephen King cameo in which a bank machine swears at him.

Sadly, though, from then on it's all downhill, as we get trapped in a boring location with a boring group of bad actors and a boring threat, i.e. a group of trucks. The trouble is that while a short film may have worked, there really is nowhere to go with the truck story, they run people over but that's about all they're capable of. They even put a big green goblin face to try and make one of the trucks scary but it jut didn't work. Maybe the producers interfered when they saw how bad the filming was going, I don't know, but some bright spark had the idea to add some action sequences, i.e. gratuitous gunfire, into the film to perhaps make it more exciting. They failed, but at least it added to the bloodshed. The funniest moments have to be when the proud Americans attack the trucks with a rocket launcher and blast them apart, cheering wildly while they do so. Although the machines do retaliate by using a machine gun to wipe out about half of the survivors in a bloody massacre.

The acting, as I mentioned above, is pretty bad. Emilio Estevez sleepwalks through the film on autopilot, he obviously thought he was the next best thing at this period in his life, but oh no, just look at his career in the '90s. Pat Hingle is about the only good actor in it as the obnoxious diner owner, but any enjoyment of the cast's acting is destroyed by the presence of one Yeardley Smith, whose snotty, whiny screaming and yelling is definitely the worst point of the entire film and difficult to sit through without cringing in embarrassment. To add insult to injury, she doesn't even die! Still, despite all the faults, the unintentional comedy makes this one easier to sit through than it might have been. Where else could you see an electric knife 'attack' a woman, a kid run over by a steamroller (played for laughs, amazingly), killer coke cans and people getting splattered by trucks left, right, and centre?

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Keeps On Truckin'

Author: Predrag ( from Serbia
10 May 2016

The film itself differs from your typical King story. It was a simple concept, yet, a fun concept: virtually anything with a motor or electronic circuitry with the potential to maim and/or kill life on earth is brought to animation by a mysterious green glow sent out by alien life forms awaiting to take over the soon to be vacant planet!!! And so the story goes, 10-15 people are trapped in the Dixie Boy truck stop in either North or South Carolina (I forget which)with nothing but brains, beer and a small yet sufficient cache of weapons, including but not limited to: machine guns, bazookas/rocket launchers and grenades!!! If they can hold out long enough against the army of diesel trucks that surrounds them, they just might make it out alive! Oh, and did I mention that AC/DC does the entire soundtrack?!?! Which,might I add, if you were to only own one AC/DC album, it should be "Who made who?" the Official soundtrack to this monster of a movie!! The movie plays out as cheesy as it sounds. And it benefits from it. It's just a charming and entertaining movie from start to finish.

Overall rating; 7 out of 10.

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There's potential, but it goes unfulfilled.

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
3 March 2016

Opinion seems to be divided on "Maximum Overdrive", and I guess you can lump me in with the naysayers on this one. For a movie directed by Stephen King, it's not very scary. Or funny, especially since this is about machines waking up and going on a killing spree. Granted, there was some promise in the beginning. I was intrigued by the vending machine taking people out with soda cans; play your cards right and you could end up with either some dark humor. Hell, even dumb humor, veer off into some nut-shot wackiness. C'mon, there's a Green Goblin big rig! But the movie puts on the brakes and settles into its cast of cardboard characters (and Lisa Simpson) trapped in a truck stop by circling semis. It's stilted.

I'm not out to bag on the movie; it's more than likely I'll return to this thing with a completely different appraisal in the future.

Tends to happen like that.

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Campy fun from King.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
23 October 2014

Maximum Overdrive, bestselling novelist Stephen King's one and only foray into directing (thus far), is far from a classic of either the sci-fi or horror genre, but it is good fun, a typically dumb piece of '80s B-movie nonsense that makes very little sense when dissected, but which still proves enjoyable thanks to a light-hearted, knowingly daft approach, comical characters, plenty of silly deaths and mucho vehicular carnage.

Based on King's short story Trucks, the film sees the world's machinery turning on the human race after Earth passes through the tail of a comet. Lawnmowers, electric carving knives, ice cream vans, steamrollers, arcade machines, vending machines: all pose a threat to mankind. At the Dixie Boy Truck Stop, a group of people become trapped by malevolent trucks intent on the eradication of all human life—but only after they've been topped up with fuel!

'80s brat-pack heartthrob Emilio Estevez stars as short order cook Bill Robinson, and there are solid performances from sexy babe Laura Harrington as Bill's love interest Brett (hey, that's a bloke's name!), Pat Hingle as the truck stop's grouchy owner, and Yeardley 'Lisa Simpson' Smith and John Short as newly married couple Curt and Connie, all of whom pitch their performances perfectly with tongues firmly in cheek. The film also benefits from a rocking soundtrack courtesy of AC/DC, a fun cameo from King himself (who establishes the film's goofy style in his opening scene), numerous ridiculous and reasonably bloody kills, and a really cool truck with the face of the Green Goblin on the front.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for the having the guts to run over a kid with a steamroller.

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True Vehicular Madness!!! — Anyone fond of cheesy horror will love it!

Author: Peter Miller (pitabox987) from Armidale, Australia.
1 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You'll ever like it or you'll hate it, simple.

Whilst lacking any real plot structure, containing acting so terrible It's hilarious and just generally being badly made, this movie is still worth watching at least once. — It may have been a flop when it was released, but far worse films have been released in the intervening 28 years...

What once was called a horror movie should now be a horror comedy! — How many movies can you see a little league team attacked by a soda machine, only to have a rampaging steamroller finish off the job?! — And that horrid, jarring suspense music whenever something happens... Classic!

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"Not Bad!"

Author: gwnightscream from United States
15 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington and Yeardley Smith star in Stephen King's 1986 sci-fi/horror film based on his short story, "Trucks." This takes place in Wilmington, North Carolina where a group of people try to survive against machines that become homicidal. The cause is a comet, Rhea-M that passes Earth in the course of 8 days. Estevez (The Breakfast Club) plays Bill, a short order cook who is out on parole from prison, Hingle (Batman) plays his boss, Bubba, Harrington (The Devil's Advocate) plays Brett, a hitchhiker who gets close with Bill, Smith (The Simpsons) plays newlywed, Connie and King also makes a cameo. This isn't bad and features music from legendary rock group, AC/DC.

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Stephen Kings directorial debut Maximum Overdrive

Author: Parker Pawlusiak from United States
23 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an amazing movie plain and simple. Aliens take over 18 wheelers and try to kill people. Emilio Estevez is in it and the acting is top notch. I heard it even won the Oscar for best original film that year. The fear and emotion displayed by the survivors is some breathtaking work. The plot is cohesive and the dialogue is well written. A lot of the interactions by the cast are believable and plausible. Not a single scene is wasted. The soundtrack is scored by the legendary rock band AC/DC. Yes that's right the entire soundtrack. Family fun all around. Maximum Overdrive is quite simply one of the most terrifying horror films ever made and sets a precedent for any alien/freight truck movies in the future. Would recommend this over any movie.

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If Only More ATMs Told The Truth

Author: jabrbi
25 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a horror movie so it's not going to be a great film, and it doesn't try to be. It's not a comedy, but there are some great little scenes that should make you laugh out loud.

The action focuses on a group of people stuck at a truck stop, hemmed in by a collection of articulated lorries/trucks that have come to life. Can they survive the onslaught of the machines, or will they be picked off one by one? You know the answer already; some live, some die.

Nearly all the action takes place in a Truck Stop, which is large enough to give the trucks room to manoeuvre, but still locks the humans into a small, claustrophobic building. And for me, the fact that a lot of the action takes place during daylight is a great plus. There's none of the constant jump shots that modern horror films rely on to scare the audience. Instead, this film says, this is happening, what would you do, and then gives you time and space to imagine your own machines turning against you. If that doesn't give you pause for thought and make you a bit edgy, then you've not thought hard enough about the damage all the machines near you could do to your fragile body.

Whilst there's deaths aplenty, few of them involve on-screen guts and gore, it's more a case of discovering bloody bodies than splattering the camera. Most of the deaths that do happen on screen are at a medium distance, or have no blood visible at the moment of death. By the standards of the 21st Century the violence, language nudity etc. is very tame - to the point that I'd let any teenager watch this.

Of course, there's no explanation of how the machines can sense anything, how they can communicate in Morse code, how they can coordinate their actions, what's controlling the machines, but that helps with the whole claustrophobic feeling and confusion felt by the humans.

However, it's the humour in the film that lifts it above the average horror film and makes the film watchable. From the opening scene with the A**hole ATM, through the boy crushed under a steamroller, the freaky Green Goblin toy truck, death by melons and the squashed shoe, there are lots of little moments to cherish.

And then there's the soundtrack from AC/DC - perfection.

Yes, the film could be better. Some of the actors are unable to bring their characters to life, but there are enough people on form to make the movie work. Given how good Stephen King is at creating a character in 100 words or less, it's a shame that he couldn't bring all of the characters to life as the director of this film.

So it's not a great film, but it is very entertaining. Teenage boys everywhere should be made to watch this film - big machines, death, destruction and great rock and roll. What's not to like.

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Maximum Fun

Author: M Weiss from Canada
13 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was really stupid. I won't lie. It is incredibly dumb. It is about a mysterious meteorite or asteroid (I'm actually not 100% sure which or how) that passed close to earth and then somehow infects or takes over every electrical appliance and machine on the planet.

Suddenly, blenders and toasters start attacking people. Pop machines start shooting cans out of their slots like machine guns, mowing people down. Worst of all, all the world's cars and trucks start circling human survivors like sharks, just waiting for their chance to attack and finish them off.

Sound stupid enough? The thing is, sometimes the stupidest movies are the most fun, and this movie is definitely fun. The pop machine scene I was describing made everyone in the room laugh so hard that we had to stop the movie and back it up. And when this kind of ridiculousness is intentional (in this case I am certain that it is) it deserves some credit.

Emilio Estevez stars, it's one of the campiest and most fun things Steven King has ever written, and the soundtrack by AC/DC featuring "Who Made Who" is awesome. Well, as long as you like AC/DC, which we certainly did.

Check it out if you like horror comedy. It's a lot of fun with some cool and hilarious deaths.

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Great Fun!! Not to take seriously!

Author: flyingzebra77 from United States
5 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maximum Overdrive is written and directed by Stephen King! He make's a small cameo in the beginning and all hell breaks loose accompanied with AC/DC scoring the whole soundtrack! Emilio Estevez is our hero! It's nice to see him in a different environment (brat pack or coaching hockey!) Apparently there is a comet that is turning machines into rampaging killers. That's it! that's the plot. Now they must endure and fight to live! Please don't take this film seriously! You have to have the right mindset before watching it. If your into senseless violence, blood, cursing, explosions, Yeardley Smith (AKA Lisa Simpson) trying to act! all with AC/DC rocking' throughout the film, then this flick is for you!

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