Max Cloud (UK, 2020)

Scott Adkins leads the team in this 80’s set adventure that will bring the recent Jumanji films to mind.

Sarah is a gamer in the 1980s whose favorite game is Max Cloud. As she plays as the avatar Jake, her mission is to help Max when he lands on a planet with space’s most dangerous criminals. However, when her father Tony catches her playing the game, he is upset and tells Sarah to quit playing. When Sarah is caught playing again, he confiscates her controller, and she is upset. Little does she realize what is about to happen next.

Sarah finds herself in the actual game under the avatar of Jake and she is extremely shocked to find out she is now in the game. Extremely confused, she realizes that the only way she can return home is to play the game. When her friend Cowboy arrives and discovers what has happened to Sarah, he feels determined to get her back. He begins to play the game and with his help, Sarah will do whatever it takes to finish the game and finds some major twists along the way. Will she be able to complete the game and return home or will she be stuck in video game hell for eternity?

The theme of people going inside the world of video games have been quite a trend lately. One can without a doubt think of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, its follow up Jumanji: The Next Level, and Enter the Warrior’s Gate to name a few. This 80’s set takes the theme and shows that despite its campiness, one thing is for sure. Scott Adkins can do comedy pretty well and of course he gets to pull off some nice action moves.

Adkins is fun in the titular role of video game hero Max Cloud. He plays it off well and works well with the supporting cast despite the campiness of the film. Tommy Flanagan comes in halfway through the film as Brock Donnelly, a space pirate who comes off as a double agent of sorts in the mission while Lashana Lynch, soon to be seen in No Time to Die, seems to ham it up nicely as Shee, a space witch who serves as the number one to the main video game villain Revengor, played by John Hannah.

Elliot Langridge is fun to watch as Jake, the video game avatar who serves as Max’s new sidekick and finds himself “possessed” by the gamer Sarah, played by Isabelle Allen. Legends of Tomorrow’s Franz Drameh brings on the funny as Cowboy, the teenager who must play the game in place of Sarah in order to save her. Meanwhile, Gary Hazeldine brings out his inner stepdad Gary (from Jimmy Fallon’s Ew! Segment on the Tonight Show) to play the overprotective dad of Sarah.

Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Andy Long Nguyen and David Szatarski took over as the film’s action directors and boy, these do bring a redeeming factor with the campiness of the film. We get to see Adkins show off his martial arts skills and there is some fun video game like action, especially with the climactic finale. This brings a retro-style video game fight in live-action form and it’s quite fun to watch.

In the end, Max Cloud brings something unexpected from Scott Adkins, but it will not please everyone. It has some fun action, but also has some very campiness to the film.

WFG RATING: C+

Well Go USA and FAE Film & Television in association with MS Media presents a Highland Grange Studios production in association with Goldfinch. Director: Martin Owen. Producers: Alan Latham, Phil McKenzie, Thomas Mattison, and Matt Williams. Writers: Sally Collett and Martin Owen. Cinematography: Håvard Helle. Editing: Jeremy Gibbs.

Cast: Scott Adkins, Tommy Flanagan, Lashana Lynch, Elliot Landridge, Sally Collett, Isabelle Allen, Franz Drameh, John Hannah, Gary Hazeldine.

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