Max Beyond

Max Beyond poster

“Shall we start at the beginning?” Once upon a future time there was an orphan who was called Max, adopted as a baby by the Walker family, a brother for Leon, his birth family and even his date of birth unknown but followed through his short life by tragedy, his new father killed by a gunman as they arrived home and his mother Maryanne subsequently falling into the bottle, dying when Max was only a few years old.

Leon serving his country abroad and left traumatised by the experience, Max was instead handed over to the care of Doctor Ava Johnson of technology giant Axion, creators of the Sync security robots, who took a special interest in the sickly child, suffering from the side effects of his ability to slip into parallel dimensions of possibility, understanding of which would allow future outcomes to be manipulated and directed, a power which has brought “the Rift Project” to the attention of executives who see Max only as “the asset.”

Max Beyond; Max and Leon Walker make their escape from Axion.

Directed by 2036: Origin Unknown‘s Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull, the ambition of Max Beyond is to be applauded, creating an animated science fiction action film rendered using the proprietary gaming graphics technology Unreal Engine, but it is betrayed by the disjointed and near incomprehensible script written by Dulull, Paula Crickard and Stavros Pamballis which loops through variations of scenes but suffers from dialogue which lacks any dynamic intellectual flourish and the inherent and inescapable limitations of the tools used in the production.

The static backgrounds of the concourses, laboratories and inevitable subterranean parking garage of the Axion facility where the majority of the action takes place well rendered, as are the wider vistas of Nova City itself, torn apart by protests which turn to riots, the reasons behind the anger of the population as sidestepped as consequences when they are gunned down by security personnel, the characters are deformed homunculi, smooth-faced, big-eyed mannequins whose awkward attempts to emulate human articulation and expression are several geographical landscapes away from the slopes of the uncanny valley.

Max Beyond; the Sync blocks any attempt at escape with extreme force.

The animation on a par with Roughnecks, now twenty-five years old, and far below the standard which would be expected to carry a modern feature of this magnitude, featuring a dewy-eyed innocent-but-wordly-wise child as the central character it might be presumed that younger viewers could overlook the shortcomings but the levels of violence preclude them as a possible audience, with continuous shootings and stabbings accompanied by digital blood splashed across bodies and surfaces as copiously as the age-inappropriate language.

Starring Jane Perry as Doctor Johnson and Dave Fennoy as Leon, Cade Tropeano provides the cloying little boy voice of Max, his default expression of vacuous contentment failing to sell urgency or emotion, Max Beyond an overlong, noisy advert for software processing and the forthcoming associated game rather than a coherent or entertaining film, squandering any potential shown in Sync, Dulull’s previous live action short featuring the same offensive automatons which presumably inspired this misconceived expansion.

Max Beyond will be available on digital download from Monday 22nd April

Max Beyond; Leon destroys the laboratory.



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