Variety - 09/16/1996
"...It's a visceral delight....[A] full-tilt genre boogie..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/14/1996
"...A solid, fast-moving action-adventure....As for Van Damme, he does some of his best acting yet..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/13/1996
"...On the action front the film more than lives up to its title..."
After making several violent Hong Kong action films in the style that's come to be known as heroic bloodshed, Ringo Lam came to Hollywood to make his first American film with Belgian martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme. MAXIMUM RISK, like Van Damme's previous DOUBLE IMPACT, is the story of twin brothers. Unlike the earlier film--in which he played brothers with contrasting characters--here he's a French policeman, Alain Moreau, who takes on the identity of his dead brother, Mikhail. They were separated at birth when their mother, Chantal, played by veteran French film actress Stephane Audran, gave one up for adoption to a Russian diplomat. He grew up to become a member of the new Russian Mafia operating out of the Little Odessa section of New York City. When Mikhail is murdered in France after a wild chase through the streets, Alain goes to New York, where he's assumed to be Mikhail by everyone from the local Russian crime boss to his brother's beautiful girlfriend, Alex (Natasha Henstridge). Working with a seemingly unlimited budget for car crashes, Lam stages the action scenes with a kinetic flair and smartly knits them together with the help of sharp editing by Bill Pankow.
There's plenty of Van Damme-style action as a French soldier learns of the existence of his identical twin only after the Russian-raised sibling is killed by mobsters. Vowing to gain vengeance on his brother's killers, he assumes his brother's identity and travels to Brooklyn's Little Odessa to infiltrate the Russian mob.