Stephen King's directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive, is an absurdly silly b-movie that never manages to be fun enough to mask its overall stupidity. The story revolves around a radiation storm that somehow inexplicably animates all machinery across the world, causing them to violently turn against their makers. The film centers around Bill Robinson, an ex-con, who works at a small diner where he is taken advantage of by his mean-spirited boss. When the machines become self-aware, Bill, among with other restaurant patrons, find themselves held captive at the Dixie Boy Diner by a group of angry semi-trucks. Maximum Overdrive is a film that should have been a lot of unadulterated fun, but its incessant desire to give its character's depth and a through-line ultimately drag it down from b-movie heaven. The direction of the film really personifies the style of the late 70s/early 80s mainstream filmmaking, consisting of an abundance of slow-motion action shots and overblown score, courtesy of AC/DC in this particular case. Full of plot holes, Maximum Overdrive takes itself far too seriously instead of embracing the silly premise and going all out. The initial setup of the story is a lot of fun, featuring a great montage sequence of various seemingly harmless machines turning on their owners. When the narrative kicks in it becomes uninteresting, mainly due to the fact that all these characters are either annoying or boring. Maximum Overdrive is a film that could have been way better if it further embraced its b-movie sensibilities but unfortunately it takes itself too seriously, becoming a surprisingly dull film with a few fun moments.
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