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“Maximum Overdrive” is arguably the best machines taking over the world movie ever made that doesn’t involved a Californian Governor and Edward Furlong. This was Stephen King’s directorial debut in what amounts to a 90 minute AC/DC video of vehicular homocide and killer Sony walkmans. Fortunately it does have Pat Hingle blowing crap up with a rocket launcher and plenty of grease stained shirts.
When the Earth passes through a radioactive comet, it’s space mojo crop dusts the planet causing all the machines to turn homocidal. ATM’S swear at bank patrons, lawn mowers starting mulching gardeners and Walkman fry out teen listening to Petshop Boys. (Which would have happened eventually anyways.) After a draw bridge nearly wipes out the nation’s watermelon crop, a little league game is interrupted by a runaway steam roller and a pop machine that snipes players with jet propelled soda cans. Luckily, one of the kids Deke (Holter Graham) can dodge them like a caffeinated spider monkey and escapes on his dirt bike.
Across town at a Dixie truckstop where most of the patrons still don’t realize the south lost, waitresses are getting attacked by kitchen utensils and arcade games are electocuting customers. But their homemade strudel pie there is still delicious. Emilio Estevez plays Billy, a parole fry cook who when he isn’t shacking up with hitchhiker hotties, he’s spouting alien conspiracy theories about intergallactic brooms. They’re all being held hostage by a pack of psycho semi trucks circling the building liked indians around a covered train. The convoy is led by a creepy green goblin semi whose got a thirst for unleaded blood and forces the survivors to pump gas all day for all his 18 wheeled buddies. Later that day, the most annoying newlywed couple ever to drive a 4-door crash through the semi line by doing an evil kinvel stunt flip crashing their car. The driver, Curtis, escapes but Connie is caught by her seat belt, her shrill whining voice is her only defense. Sadly she’s cut free just before it gets side swiped by a evil tow truck. Later that night, Emilio and Curtis attempt to rescue a injured bible salesman whose been screaming out in the ditch all night keeping everyone from a good night’s sleep. They make their way through the sewer ducts to get to him but then Deke shows up on his dirt bike and they pretty much forget about the poor sap stuck in the mud. They all head back to the diner where Mr. Hendershot, the redneck business owner, is discovered hiding a huge militia stockpile of weapons in the basement. This gives everyone a chance to shoot machine guns and use rocket launchers near flammable gas pumps, a pyromaniac’s dream come true.
After blowing up a few semis and roving artillery carts, the survivors duck back through the tunnels just as all the trucks decide to finally demolish the place and put up a Walmart. Everyone heads toward the boat docks for a final showdown with a drive thru speaker who Deke uses for some quick target practice. “No, I wouldn’t like fries with that!” KAAABLAM! Billy blows up the green semi with a rocket launcher just for kicks. Despite most of their friends and family dying horrifiying deaths, they’re all in pretty good moods as they set off on a boat trip to some uncharted island. Maybe they’ll build huts out of bambo while singing kumbya and then make a radio out of coconuts. Don’t want to miss a second of that all AC/DC channel.
A mega-cheese award goes to Ellen McElduff who plays a boozin’ waitress that scretches out “You can’t do this! We made you!” just before she gets gunned down in a blaze of glory. Also to Yeardley Smith who plays the high pitched Connie and does voice of Maggie Simpson. She does more for preventive eloping than Lorena Bobbitt. Retroman Steve says take “Maximum Overdrive” for a test drive and be sure to stock up on beef jerky and puffy hats with filthy sayings.
Check out the trailer for “Maximum Overdrive”