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Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon

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Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon
Directed by Albert Pyun
Isaac Florentine
Produced by John F.S. Laing
Yoram Barzilai
Melissa Ciampa
Written by Irina Diether
Guam Motion Pictures Company
Distributed by Rigel Entertainment
Westlake Entertainment
Release dates
2007 (DVD only)
Running time
90 minutes
Language English

Max Havoc: Curse of The Dragon is an straight-to-DVD action film directed by Albert Pyun and Isaac Florentine on the island of Guam in 2004. Mickey Hardt plays Max Havoc, an ex-kickboxer who has to stop a yakuza boss who goes on a crime spree to retrieve a valuable jade dragon statue. The movie was written by Irina Diether and was to be released in theaters around the world and to be turned into a syndicated television series in the United States, but these plans never materialized. [1] A sequel titled Max Havoc: Ring of Fire followed in 2006.


The story centers around Max Havoc, an ex-kickboxing champion turned sports photographer. Max finds himself in Guam for a publicity photo shooting. His helpful ways land him in the lives of the vacationing sisters Jane and Christy Goody, who have acquired a rare jade dragon that happens to belong to the ruthless Japanese Yakuza who will stop at nothing to get it back.



Producer John Laing and director Albert Pyun were given, at their request, an $800,000 loan guarantee by the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority (GEDCA) to secure a third party loan from Comerica Bank in order to finance the film.[2] In June 2006, John Laing defaulted [3] on the loan to Comerica and Guam's $800,000 loan guarantee was lost. Laing formed a new company in Canada, Up North Entertainment, Inc., and bought back the rights to the film for $83,000. Guam's share of the foreclosure sale money was $9,090.63.[4]

The film has been mired in litigation in both Guam and California.[5] In March 2008, Laing lost a case he filed in California against the Government of Guam and was ordered to pay Guam more than $57,000 in legal fees. [6] Laing appealed twice and lost both appeals.[7] After rushing to file his lawsuit first in California, Laing was accused of purposely stalling in a lawsuit in Guam Superior Court,[8] where had been sued by the Government of Guam for fraud. [9] Matt Borden, attorney for the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority, said, "The public interest factors are very compelling in that [producer John] Laing and his company came to Guam with the specific purpose of defrauding the government and basically getting any kind of money they could out of the people, and they did. Then they left and didn't keep any of their promises." [10] Laing claimed the Government of Guam pledged three million in loans and other incentives if he were to come to the island and make Max Havoc there. However, Guam officials deny making any such promises and Laing acknowledged that he got nothing in writing regarding any alleged loans or incentives. [5]


A trial began in Guam Superior Court on February 13, 2012.[11] However, on May 11, 2012, a settlement was reached. The GEDCA Board of Directors approved an offer of $350,000 from John Laing even though he had not paid back any portion of the original $800,000 loan guarantee. The agreement stipulated that Laing would make a payment of $250,000 on June 30, 2012 with the remainder of the $350,000 paid by September 30, 2012. [12] With over six years of litigation on Guam, GEDCA felt that "after such an exhaustive effort " [13] trying to get the Hollywood producer to pay back the loan guarantee he defaulted on they believed that the settlement offer amount was the most they could hope to "get out of Laing." [13]

By July 2012, Laing had made a payment of $200,000, $50,000 less than what was supposed to paid by the June 30, 2012 deadline. GEDCA made an additional request for Laing to pay the outstanding $50,000 along with the $100,000 remaining balance by the second deadline of September 30, 2012. GEDCA administrator Karl Pangelinan said "everything that they're doing, they're doing a good job of keeping us dialed in on their progress and if there are any issues of hiccups in regards to making the payments, we're notified ahead of time"[14] adding that he was thrilled that Laing's check cleared saying that GEDCA wants to "put this entire thing behind us." [15] Pangelinan also stated that if Laing didn't come up with the final balance, it would trigger another filing in court.[16] When asked by a local talk radio station if the Max Havoc settlement money would be a windfall for GEDCA and could be used for future economic development projects on Guam, Pangelinan admitted that the money would barely pay for the legal fees incurred during the years of legal fighting with Laing. [17] Laing made no payment by the September 30, 2012 deadline.

During a late October 2012 GEDCA board meeting to discuss Laing's failures to make this second payment, it was revealed that Laing had made a partial late payment of $75,000 on the final $150,000 he owes for the Max Havoc film fiasco. Pangelinan remained confident Laing would make the final $75,000 payment by the new January 31, 2013 deadline [18] even though Rigel Entertainment, Laing's company that signed the security agreement with GEDCA for the loan guarantee to make and distribute the film, had declared bankruptcy. [19] GEDCA extended Laing's final $75,000 payment deadline in good faith. [20] GEDA confirmed in late February 2013 that the final payment was made by John Laing to bring Laing/GEDCA lawsuit related issues to a close.[21]


Max Havoc received mostly negative reviews. Reviewers were mostly focused on the film's lacking plot and rampant cliché use. David Cornelius of DVD Talk described it as a "moronic C-level action flick that always stars some former martial arts champ", noting that the controversy behind the funding of the film was more interesting than the film itself, and finishing with the advice to skip the film.[22] Some reviews were less critical of the film, praising choreography and Mickey Hardt's performance in action sequences.[23] Another reviewer gave the film a neutral-to-positive review, mentioning "the overall ridiculousness of the film charmed [him]".[24]

Author Camilla Fojas later also criticized the movie for its shortcoming as a promotional vehicle for Guam and its movie industry, noting the colonialistic portrayal of Guam, especially in the parting scene where U.S. mainland-based characters bid farewell to Chamorro people in a cliché fashion.[25]


  1. ^ Steve Limtiaco, "2 movies to throw spotlight on Guam", Pacific Daily News, February 7, 2004,
  2. ^ Zita Y. Taitano, "Local court to hear 'Max Havoc' case", Marianas Variety, December 29, 2009,
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, "Guam Spends $800,000 on film, gets $9,000 Back", Pacific Islands Report, December 13, 2006,
  5. ^ a b Kim Christensen, "Camera, Legal Action! The making of a kung fu flick on Guam turns into court battles on both sides of the sea", Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2007,
  6. ^ Sabrina Salas Matanane, "Max Havoc litigation up for GEDA discussion", KUAM News, February 21, 2010,
  7. ^ Mar-Vic Cagurangan, "Appeals court upholds 'Havoc' ruling", Marianas Variety, April 1, 2010,
  8. ^ Zita Y. Taitano, "Guam still trying to recoup film investment - Spent $800,000 on box office bomb 'Max Havoc'", Pacific Islands Report, April 15, 2008,
  9. ^ Steve Limtiaco, "Court dismisses 'Max Havoc' suit against GovGuam", Pacific Islands Report, March 29, 2007,
  10. ^ Sonya Artero, "Judge wants 'Havoc' trial kept on Guam", KUAM News, March 28, 2007,
  11. ^ Mindy Aguon, "GEDA v. Laing trial set for Monday," KUAM, February 6, 2012
  12. ^ Mindy Aguon, "GEDA/Laing settlement filed for court's review", KUAM, June 19, 2012,
  13. ^ a b Clynt Ridgell, "GEDA accepts Max Havoc settlement of $350-thousand", Pacific News Center, May 11, 2012,
  14. ^ Ken Quintanilla, "Max Havoc payment made to GEDA", KUAM, July 23, 2012,
  15. ^ Brett Kelman, "GEDA gets first $200k of 'MAX HAVOC' settlement", Pacific Daily News, July 25, 2012,
  16. ^ Zita Y. Taitano, "GEDA receives part of Havoc pay settlement", Marianas Variety, July 26, 2012,
  17. ^ "Karl Pangelinan with Ray Gibson". 2012-08-13. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  18. ^ Kevin Kerrigan, "Laing makes another payment to GEDA, Pangelinan confident final payment on Max Havoc film fiasco will be made by January", Pacific News Center, October 26, 2012,
  19. ^ Mindy Aguon, "Laing, Guam Motion Pictures Co. miss payment", KUAM, January 5, 2013,
  20. ^ Dance Aoki, "Filmmaker owes GEDA final $75,000", Pacific Daily News, January 9, 2013,
  21. ^ "Laing, GMPC make first installment on settlement - News: On Air. Online. On Demand". Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  22. ^ Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon, David Cornelius, DVD Talk
  23. ^ REVIEW: Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon (2004), Albert Valentin,
  24. ^ Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon (2004), Combustible Celluloid
  25. ^ Camilla Fojas, Islands of Empire: Pop Culture & U.S. Power, P. 183-189, University of Texas Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-292-75630-4

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