Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 97 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Emilio Estevez, Yeardley Smith, AC/DC, Giancarlo Esposito.
Tag-line: "Who made who?" AND "Evil's wheels!"
Best one-liner(s): "Jesus is coming and he is pissed!" AND "If you don't get your hand off my leg, you're going to be wiping your ass with a hook next time you take a dump!"
Before I begin, I'd like you to take a gander at the poster pictured to the left. It's not often you get to see Stephen King emerging from a gash in the side of a giant bus and literally pulling the strings on the puppet that is Emilio Estevez. I think the last time a movie's director played such an absurd, puppet-master-type role in a film's marketing was when Cecil B. DeMille gave his little diatribe before THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Or at least since Alfred Hitchcock's colorful commentaries during his trailers for his post-NORTH BY NORTHWEST output. Anyway. A scene from the MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE trailer: Stephen King stands before the camera, eyes bulging, beard neatly trimmed. Behind him is the Green Goblin big rig and main bad guy of the film. For some reason, music from HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH is playing. He turns to the camera. Turns to YOU. He outstretches his arm and points into your SOUL. The eyes on the Green Goblin turn BLOOD RED. King is bathed in crimson light.
He ferociously intones: "I'M GONNA SCARE THE HELL...OUTTA YOU!!!" So that, in a nutshell, IS "Maximum Overdrive." You'll note that the tagline, in eerie, watery script, proclaims... "Who made who?" Exactly. Man versus machine. Man versus soda machine, to be more specific.
That scene is brutal. This whole movie is brutal. Humans getting lawnmowered, pop-machined, tractored, steamrollered, run over, shot, zapped by Pac Man and Q-Bert, meat-sawed, tossed off bridges, burned, electrocuted, you name it. And then as if to pour salt into the wound of humanity's last gasp, the machines are totally rockin' out to AC/DC as they do it. Which is appropriate, because AC/DC means "Alternating Current, Direct Current," which is probably something machines would listen to.