Maximum Ride Delivers Minimal Enjoyment
Director Jay Martin's vision of James Patterson's MAXIMUM RIDE is less of a movie and more of a CW series pilot -- and not a great one.
Allie Marie Evans (VANITY) plays Max, the heroine of Patterson's tale of a band of children who have been freed from a scientific facility known as "The School," where they were kept in cages while medical experiments were conducted upon them. They're special, because they have functioning wings. The kids -- Max, Fang (EXTANT's Patrick Johnson), Angel (Lyliana Wray), Gazz (Gavin Lewis), Nudge (Tetona Jackson) and Iggy (Zayne Emory) are now living in hiding, having been abandoned by the doctor who rescued them from the facility, Jeb (Peter O'Brien, WINTER), with no idea of Jeb's fate.
When Angel -- who exhibits telepathic abilities -- is taken by a capture team from The School (bestial men called Erasers), Max and Fang mount a rescue mission, unaware that the leader of the Erasers, Ari (Luke Gregory Crosby), who has a long-standing grudge against Max, has stayed behind to mount an attack on the remaining kids, who barely escape after blowing up Ari in the house.
Insert a number of dream-like flashbacks, idyllic flight scenes and an abundance of slow, deliberate walks. Somewhere along the way, Max saves Ella (Carrie Wampler) from being beaten by her boyfriend, resulting in her getting shot in the shoulder -- an apparently life-threatening wound. Fortunately, Ella's mother is a doctor, who helps Max without any reports, but while taking x-rays that reveal the wings hidden in her back and a tracking chip that her muscles, nerves and bones have grown around.
More flights, flashbacks, and mood scenes, and the team is reunited, just in time to be taken down by Ari and his high-frequency sound emitter which affects the winged wonders in a traumatic fashion. With the entire family reunited back at the school, Max gets a revelation about Jeb, and the scope of the experiments of which they are the product.
Stilted dialogue, two-dimensional characterizations, and wooden performances only serve to underscore how disappointing this adaptation of a successful speculative fiction novel turned out to be. The ending leaves things open for a sequel, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Perhaps Syfy can breathe some life into it and get a series out of it.
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