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Maximum Risk

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Maximum Risk
Maximum Risk Poster.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed byRingo Lam
Produced byMoshe Diamant
Written byLarry Ferguson
Music byRobert Folk
CinematographyAlexander Gruszynski
Edited byBill Pankow
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • September 13, 1996 (1996-09-13)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$51.7 million

Maximum Risk is a 1996 American action thriller film directed by Hong Kong director Ringo Lam in his American directorial debut, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Natasha Henstridge. The film was released in the United States on September 13, 1996.[2]


A man (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is chased by two other men through the streets of Nice, France, ultimately resulting in his death. A cop, Alain Moreau (also Jean-Claude Van Damme), attends the funeral of a fellow cop; his partner Sebastien (Jean-Hugues Anglade) arrives and takes him to the scene of the other man's death. Shocked at their similarity of appearance, Alain begins investigating the man's background. They discover that his name was Mikhail Suvorov and he is Alain's twin that his mother had to give up at birth because she was impoverished. When Alain tries to visit the office of the lawyer who adopted Mikhail, he finds the building in flames and fights a large Russian man before escaping with the adoption file. Alain takes the money, passport and plane ticket to New York Mikhail had on him and sets out to investigate his death; his only clue is the name "Alex Bohemia."

In New York City, Alain discovers that Mikhail was a member of the Russian Mafia. A taxi driver takes him to the Bohemia club which is frequented by the Russian Mafia. There he meets a woman named Alex Bartlett (Natasha Henstridge), who mistakes him for Mikhail and gives him a key to a hotel room. Suspicious, Alain rents the room across the hall. When Alex comes to meet him later, he reveals that he is actually Mikhail's brother. Shortly thereafter, a thug named Ivan (who saw Mikhail in the club) arrives with two other men to kill Alain, believing he is Mikhail, because they believe he is trying to leave the Mafia and testify against them. Alain and Alex escape and go to Mikhail's home, where Alain finds out Mikhail discovered his existence when he saw an article in the paper about his war exploits. After more Russians come to the house, Alain and Alex again flee to her friend's cabin.

The next morning, the two men chasing Mikhail come to the cabin and reveal to Alain that they work for the FBI. They say Mikhail kept evidence against the Russian Mafia that he intended to turn over to them in exchange for protection. They want him to pose as Mikhail to access his safe deposit box back in Nice. Realizing that the FBI and not the Mafia expected Mikhail to be dead, Alain correctly concludes that the FBI is colluding with the Mafia. After a fight, Alain handcuffs the agents together and he leaves with Alex to visit Kirov, the leader of the Russian Mafia. When he finds them at the sauna, Alain tells Kirov that Ivan has been trying to kill him, which enrages Kirov. After Kirov tells Alain the truth about the so-called evidence he has, Ivan sends the big Russian thug from the lawyer's office to stab Kirov and kill Alain. Kirov dies and Alain escapes in the scuffle; during the pursuit by Ivan, Alain is arrested by NYPD. The two corrupt FBI agents find Alex, bail Alain out of jail and use her to force Alain to access the deposit box, which they know contains evidence of their collusion with the Mafia.

At the bank, Alain finds the evidence, thousands in cash, a gun and a tape recorder from Mikhail explaining how he learned of Alain's existence and decided to escape the mob life. He instructs a banker to turn over the evidence to the US Embassy, takes the cash and gun and sets off the sprinkler system to make his escape. Ivan, waiting outside with Sebastien as his hostage, once again sends in the big Russian to kill Alain. The thug kills the banker and takes the evidence, but Alain catches up to him and kills him in the elevator. He chases the FBI agents outside and is able to kill Ivan and rescue Sebastien; he then chases them into a meat locker where he kills them both and rescues Alex. Alain later takes Alex to meet his mother so she can tell her about Mikhail, whom she never meet.



The film was originally known as The Exchange, then it was retitled Bloodstone.[3] Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, better known for Scary Movie and their other parodies, performed an uncredited rewrite on the film.[4]


Maximum Risk opened on September 13, 1996, at the number one spot at the box office, taking in $5,612,707 in its first weekend, and made a final domestic tally of $14,502,483 and worldwire gross 51.7 million.[5][1]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 31% of 35 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.37/10.[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Leonard Klady of Variety wrote, "It's a visceral delight that refuses to be deterred by niceties of plot or character consistency and prefers sweat to emotion."[8] Richard Harrington of The Washington Post wrote that the film depends too much on car chases, which end up dominating the film.[9] Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times wrote, "From start to finish, 'Maximum Risk' presents spectacular stunts choreographed and coordinated by Charles Picerni and some hair-raising, stomach-churning automotive chases attributed to Remy Julienne, the French master of the art."[10]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "a solid, fast-moving action-adventure" in which Van Damme "does some of his best acting yet".[11] Conversely, Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle criticized Van Damme's acting, which is "hobbled by a weak script that even veteran Hong Kong action director Ringo Lam can't salvage".[12]

See also

  • Double Impact, a 1991 action film which also has Van Damme playing identical twins.


  1. ^ a b "Maximum Risk". The Numbers. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "Jean-Claude Van Damme". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  3. ^ Hal Hinson (March 30, 1996). "Hooray for Hong Kong! Hollywood Looks East". The Washington Post. p. B1.
  4. ^ Patches, Matt (January 31, 2014). "Surely They Can't Be Serious? - The unlikely rise of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Hollywood's majorly hated, hugely successful kings of the modern-day spoof". Grantland. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "'Risk,' 'Fly Away' Draw Top Spots at Box Office". Los Angeles Times. September 16, 1996. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "Maximum Risk (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "CinemaScore".
  8. ^ Klady, Leonard (September 16, 1996). "Maximum Risk". Variety. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  9. ^ "Maximum Risk". The Washington Post. March 11, 1997. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  10. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (September 14, 1996). "Maximum Risk". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  11. ^ Thomas, Kevin (September 14, 1996). "'Risk' Lets Van Damme Show Some Depth". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  12. ^ Stack, Peter (March 14, 1997). "Van Damme Tries to Act and Fails". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 6, 2015.

External links