Blu-ray Review: Max Cloud

By , Contributor
On one hand, the video game-based, sci-fi fantasy Max Cloud is an amateurish waste of time. On the other hand, I feel a duty to offer a disclaimer. I had zero idea what I was getting into with Max Cloud. Maybe it shouldn't matter that I have no nostalgia for the era of 16-bit, side scroller video games. But the truth is, this movie, set in 1990, is about a young video game enthusiast who becomes trapped in just that type of game.

So there may, in fact, be some inside jokes that are likely to resonate with viewers who were part of that particular gaming culture. Still, I know unfunny when I see it, and Max Cloud is one startlingly unfunny attempt at comedy. Sarah (Isabelle Allen) is a tween gamer who literally becomes immersed in her favorite game, "Max Cloud." Her friend, whose apparent given name is Cowboy (Franz Drameh), immediately accepts this as fact when he shows up at her house and hears her speaking from within the TV.

Despite being at least a decade her senior, Cowboy agrees to play her out of the game (the idea being if he can beat the game, Sarah will be freed) in exchange for a date. The nominal plot-with-a-plot that occurs in the world of the game itself (fully live-action, only occasionally resembling an old school video game) is inconsequential nonsense. Martial artist and B-movie headliner Scott Adkins plays Max Cloud, the central character within the game.

If Adkins comes off like a poor man's Ryan Reynolds, it should be no surprise he did long ago serve as Reynolds' stunt double on X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What he doesn't have is Reynolds charisma, charm, or—let's get right down to it—acting talent. In my perplexion following the conclusion of Max Cloud, I made an attempt to see why over half of the critics tallied on Rotten Tomatoes liked the movie. I grew even more perplexed to find ample support for, and defense of, Scott Adkins as an actor, someone I admit to never having heard of previously. Based on his work here, I can only assume he must be one heck of a martial artist.

The Well Go USA Blu-ray release of Max Cloud absolutely defines "bare bones." There are no bonus materials save for a few trailers. Maybe a commentary track by director Martin Owen could help convince me that his movie was anything but an 89-minute waste of time. I'd rather rewatch the Jumanji movies 1,000 times.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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