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Overall Rating

Awesome: 23.08%
Worth A Look25.64%
Average: 5.13%
Pretty Bad: 24.36%
Total Crap: 21.79%

3 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Maximum Overdrive
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by Brian McKay

"'This machine just called me an Asshole!'"
2 stars

Too bad the first five minutes of this movie are the best. It's all downhill from there. From Stephen King, author of the occasionally brilliant novel, but usually master of the crap-fest, comes "Maximum Overdrive", a 90 minute movie stretched out from a 30 page short-story that wasn't one of his best to begin with. I hadn't seen it since it first came out 16 years ago, but it seemed a lot better the first time around.

It starts with a comet, as most catastrophe crap-movies do. When the Earth passes through the tail of some comet that makes the skies glow like a green lava-lamp for eight days, all of the machines suddenly come alive and go on a killing spree. In the original story it was just cars and trucks, but this time everything from vending machines to electric knives want in on the action.

So, It's "Night of the Living Appliances" when several people find themselves stuck in remote truck stop, hemmed in by a line of menacing big-rigs doing a cake-walk around the gas pumps. None of the cast can act. All of them talk like stupid hicks - or like bad actors talking like stupid hicks. Emilio Estevez once again displays his lack of thespian prowess as a busboy turned hero. Laura Harrington, a fluffy piece of 80's trash, provides the love interest and is so wooden that each of her lines sounds like a two-by-four being fed into a wood chipper. Pat Hingle is the stereotypical Stetson-wearing cigar-chomping fat fuck good ol' boy asshole boss, who just happens to have a handy stash of reloadable LAWS rockets in the basement. Yes, not only are these LAWS rockets reloadable (the LAWS usually being a "use and discard" one-shot weapon), but they occasionally even reload themselves! Isn't that precious!

Most of the characters are so annoying that you want them to die. Like the trailer-trash waitress who repeatedly screams "WE made YOU" at the rebellious trucks, as AC/DC's "Who Made Who" drones in the background. Who made Who? Who Gives a Fuck! And then there's a young but still ugly Yeardly Smith as the squealing harpy newlywed. She may be cute as the voice of Lisa Simpson, but goddamn if that voice combined with her face isn't a recipe' for a railroad-spike lobotomy migraine.

To be fair, it does have its laugh-out-loud moments of camp appeal. There are also some decent scenes of trucks being blown up, including one that spills out its cargo of toilet paper rolls like a gigantic bursting Jiffy-Pop skillet. But damn, the whole premise is so ludicrous to begin with, even for a Stephen King story, that it's hard to pay it much attention anyway. I dunno, maybe it could have worked if someone like Hitchcock had done it. But then, probably not.

Drive-In Triple Feature Arduous Viewing Picks for Maximum Overdrive:

Graveyard Shift and Sleepwalkers should be all you need to complete the Stephen King movie Tri-Crapathon. I was thinking of throwing in Children of the Corn, but now that I think of it, that was better than any of these three - though not by a whole lot.

Well, one thing I will give King - he is prolific, if not consistent. Watch out for the scene where Emilio walks past a truck with "Here comes another Load . . . " painted on the side. Not only is it amusing in its own right, but it's an almost Nostradamus-like prophecy of just how bad this movie was bound to turn out. Either that, or a secret message from King to the fans, who still don't realize that they've been duped more often than not.

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originally posted: 09/22/02 12:00:42
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell maximum crap king should be ashamed 1 stars
5/02/14 Gary Chalmers Wow those bazooka missiles sure move fast!! ?!! 1 stars
11/14/13 Dane Youssef Only good to laugh at. King only comedy well when he's not trying. A massive clunker-wreck. 1 stars
11/01/10 tom Its like marite you either love it or hate it... and i loved it!!! It was so funny! 5 stars
6/29/10 action movie fan silly movie with little to offer 2 stars
2/20/10 murray Id rather watch paint dry 1 stars
12/25/09 Mark Wilson So bad you just have to laugh! 4 stars
7/08/09 HolyJ@lapeno Has been one of my favorites for such a long time. LOVE IT CHERISH IT!!!!!! 5 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Best Stephen King movie ever! 5 stars
7/17/07 David Cohen So bad its, wait, never mind, its just bad 1 stars
3/05/07 Eric Hell How do you let a push mower run you over? The drink machine part was funny also.WE MADE YOU 4 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini great action with a few comedy bits 3 stars
10/23/06 joel something about the atmosphere of the deserted stops makes this good 4 stars
3/03/06 alexS Kicks ASS!! <3 It. best movie ever. I liked the weird srieking noise too. CHA CHA CHA... 5 stars
1/26/06 JM Synth It's not meant to be taken seriously. That doesn't make it any good though 2 stars
8/13/05 ES ok so cars come to life- fine, but how does the machine gun on the mobile platform fire? 2 stars
2/23/05 Brandon Graf This movie isnt meant to be serious/stephen king is no dummy/rethink his books after this 5 stars
2/23/05 Jeff Anderson Not scary, just shrill & annoying. The AC/DC music & the opening scene are great, HOWEVER!! 2 stars
12/30/04 kakkoii_amerikajin "The horror...the horror." 4 stars
11/14/04 Ryan Ku I, think Maximum Overdrive is rocking! 5 stars
9/08/04 JeffK I watched the entire movie, just to see how bad it could get. Very BAD. 1 stars
5/08/04 Jake This is either on King's Worst movie or his FUNNIEST!!! 4 stars
5/04/04 Nevz Hilarious! 4 stars
4/12/04 Jessica it was a great movie i liked the trucks 5 stars
3/17/04 Ryan This movie displays the worse writting I've ever seen by Stephen King 2 stars
1/26/04 Eric Loved the soundtrack ,descent story,good cast 3 stars
1/24/04 Dario best movie ever made 5 stars
1/03/04 J King should made the truck more aggresive and chasing people. ** 1/2 4 stars
11/05/03 American Slasher Goddess King should never be allowed to direct again. 1 stars
10/30/03 Moparman Loved this movie. The soundtrack makes it. Sure it's a hokey movie, but it's fun to watch 4 stars
9/26/03 steven north i love maximum overdrive i wished i had a visa to buy it but i don,t makes me mad 5 stars
6/23/03 Colin May not be the best movie ever made but the music is great 5 stars
6/18/03 Geo78665 Funny, wild. Just plain a guilty pleasure. 4 stars
12/15/02 Kyle Underrated guilty pleasure. 4 stars
10/20/02 Charles Tatum King proves he can make the worst film based on his own stuff 1 stars
9/22/02 the Grinch Fuck You McKay, M.O. rocks like AC/DC! Ok, I'm joking, but this movie is a guity pleasure 4 stars
6/24/02 Stacey Love it! 5 stars
3/20/02 Aborted Gently As a kid.. I watched this movie any chance I got. Even now I put it in to have a good laugh 4 stars
12/21/01 Travis Legler best fucking movie of our time! Stephen king is a Ginus! 5 stars
7/07/01 King Jackass Not as bad as people say it is... 4 stars
7/05/01 Dean Gimme a fuckin' break. This movie is so bad it's hilarious. Good music, though. 1 stars
6/30/01 DEF Good break from reality 4 stars
5/28/01 Ro It was the funniest movie i've ever seen 5 stars
4/18/01 Frank Awesome Movie & Idea - still my fav. movie! 5 stars
4/15/01 peter krug not the thinking man's movie, but still a blast on a mindless level 4 stars
4/12/01 Andrew Carden Surprisingly scary movie, Estevez is a nerd, but can act. 4 stars
3/24/01 Monster W. Kung Oh... why, why did such a great band like AC/DC agree to use their music for this flop? 2 stars
2/21/01 Jake Christine is much better. 2 stars
2/16/01 BigCock Moronic film about trucks. AC/DC music is cool though. 3 stars
11/23/00 Travis Legler this is the best fuckin film ever! With AC/DC for music, and emilo, you cant go wrong 5 stars
10/12/00 Phil Corny=YES , Awful=NO 4 stars
8/04/00 Bender This machine just called me an asshole. Very amusing, campy "Horror" flick. 4 stars
5/05/00 tony yeah but you get to listen to AC/DC for a hour and a half!!! 5 stars
3/04/00 Steve Layne A lot o fun. and there are some very funny scenes in it. Don't take it seriously. 4 stars
2/11/00 Kyle Broflovski Oh, piss. I'm a lousy movie critic. 3 stars
1/24/00 Mike Hermesh take it at face value,great camp 5 stars
11/02/99 Meepos The goblin truck was funny lookin'. But not scary. 1 stars
10/27/99 lucas jackson it is not that good,but it is an interesting consept 4 stars
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  02-Nov-1986 (R)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004



Directed by
  Stephen King

Written by
  Stephen King

  Emilio Estevez
  Pat Hingle
  Yeardley Smith
  Laura Harrington
  John Short
  J.C. Quinn

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