Director: Stewart Hendler
Cast: Ben Winchell, Maria Bello, Ana Villafane, Josh Brener, Mike Doyle, Andy Garcia
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: http://www.maxsteelfilm.com
Opening Day: 27 October 2016
Synopsis: 16-year old MAX MCGRATH has just moved to a new town—and is desperately trying to fit in—when he discovers his body can generate the universe's most powerful energy. Unbeknown to Max, a slightly rebellious and hilarious techno-organic extraterrestrial named Steel has been keeping an eye on him, hungry for his super-human energy. When they finally meet, they discover that together they form MAX STEEL, a superhero possessing powerful strength beyond anything in our world. These two unlikely friends soon find themselves hunted by sinister forces who want to control Max's powers, as well as an unstoppable enemy from another galaxy.
At the peak of his career, Twilight star Taylor Lautner was approached for the leading role of Max Steel though he dropped out in the end for another toy based movie, Stretch Armstrong. In the end the latter never penned out and Max Steel was aborted as well. Anyway, who remember Lautner these days? Despite all the missteps, Mattel and Dolphin Films decide to go ahead and here we have the dud of a superhero and toy movie of 2016.
Max Steel for the uninitiated is a line of action figures produced by Mattel back in 1997 to present. Maybe the success of their rival properties Transformers and G.I. Joe has given Mattel the confidence to produce a live-action movie but the company has forgotten that majority of the audience today actually grew up on transforming cars and cool military soldiers instead of a teenager who fight alongside an alienbot.
This origin story written by Christopher Yost (writer of the Thor franchise and many other superhero cartoon features) is very much a predictable affair and reruns of Iron Man and Sam Raimi’s Spider-man most likely inspired Yost’s writings. Max McGrath (the relatively unknown Ben Winchell) is an ordinary high school kid who somehow possessed the ability to emit liquid energy. His mum (Maria Bello) and him apparently shift a lot before settling back to their old home after the mysterious death of his scientist father 16 years ago. Before long, powerful forces known as Ultralinks aka alien beings that are capable of destructive power are on the hunt for Max. With the help of an annoying alienbot Steel, Max is determined to find out the truth behind his special power and the death of his father.
Given the modest budget, the CGI seen here is consistently pretty good from Max’s sidekick, the little mobile orb Steel to the ripples of the translucent energy flow and Max’s suit. What’s truly annoying is the entire affair took too long to develop. There’s a forgettable love interest in the form of Sofia (Ana Villafane) whose only purpose in the movie is to get Max from one point to another using her truck. Appearing in every scene looking either gloom or distressed, Maria Bello is wasted as Max’s mum and lastly, you don’t need to be a genius to sense that something is wrong with Andy Garcia’s Dr. Miles Edwards character.
There are hints to more of what Max can accomplished with his combined powers with Steel such as turning himself to stealth mode, fly and shooting laser beams though I can assured you that you won’t see much of it right here. Even the unexplained evil forces, which came in the form of tornadoes, disappear as quickly as they come. There’s so much potential in churning out a silly entertaining superhero based on a plastic action figure but Mattel practically blew its only chance. Max Steel just comes across as too draggy, drab and serious to attract even the fans of the toy and animated series.
(More liked Max Stale)
Review by Linus Tee