Independent martial arts film producer Ara Paiaya made waves with his famous DUBBED AND DANGEROUS trilogy. In his latest feature length film MAXIMUM IMPACT, Paiaya steps up the game in this action packed thriller that features some frenetic action choreography and a good use of the locales.
Paiaya plays the aptly named Agent X, whose latest mission is his most dangerous yet. He is sent to rescue Katie Tang, a security defense expert who has created a new software that uses encrypment technology. When a former agent, Pirani, kidnaps Katie to get his hands on the software, Agent X is sent to stop Pisani and his gang before it is too late.
I have known Ara Paiaya for quite a few years and when I first saw his on-screen work in Dubbed and Dangerous, his brand of fight choreography was impressive. Paiaya, an expert in martial arts, honed his skills from watching the frenetic choreography of Hong Kong legends such as Jackie Chan. In Maximum Impact, he takes Hong Kong style choreography and meshes it nicely with some firepower that may make the likes of a John Woo and Ringo Lam proud.
A problem with Hollywood’s brand of martial arts action films today or the use of martial arts in films is the way they tend to edit them. Using nothing but quick cuts and some slow motion, it doesn’t make an impact in the overall action of a film these days. On the other hand, Hong Kong stunt coordinators know what angles need to be used to make the film work. The independent filmmakers from the United Kingdom, such as Phil Hobden and Ross Boyask (Left for Dead), in addition to Paiaya, know how a fight scene should be shot and edited.
For his fight sequences in Maximum Impact, Ara Paiaya did a wonderful job choreographing what looks like at times, some very complex fight choreography. Paiaya has some impressive bootwork and in two highlight fights, he gets a worthy adversary who nearly matches him kick for kick. The final confrontation between these two takes place on top of a hill and Paiaya uses some of Jackie Chan’s style that will look highly reminiscent of his confrontation on the rooftop in Who Am I? (1998).
Paiaya is more than the filmmaker, he performed all of his own dangerous stunts, including jumping on top of a car as it drives through a small cafe, something you may expect in perhaps a James Bond film, yet while Bond is always doubled. Here, Paiaya does the stunt himself and someone with the experience of a Vic Armstrong or Michel Julienne (car stunt coordinator expert) would be proud of the work Paiaya did with this particular stunt.
Fans of Paiaya’s work can only hope that his films, especially Maximum Impact, may be his ticket to working on a major action films, preferably in Hong Kong. Regardless, Paiaya remains one of the best independent martial arts filmmakers today and perhaps, one can hope to see a huge collaboration with fellow independent filmmakers Boyask and Hobden and perhaps America’s own Stunt People. It may be wishful thinking, but just imagine the possibilities.
WFG RATING: A-
A Paiaya Films Ltd. production. Director: Ara Paiaya. Producers: Ara Paiaya and Arianne Paiaya. Writers: Adam Davidson and Ara Paiaya. Cinematography: Ara Paiaya. Editing: Ara Paiaya.
Cast: Ara Paiaya, Rachel Paiaya, Adam Davidson, Charlie Fraser, Chris Robb, Austyn Middleton, Vinnie Wilson, Ricky Simpson.