A movie made in 2000 for UPN
, Max Knight: Ultra Spy
was written by Paul Bales and directed by Colin Budds. It starred Michael Landes as the titular character, and Rachel Blakely as his love interest. Originally it was intended as a Backdoor Pilot for a proposed series, but it was never picked up.
In the not-too-distant future, girl genius Lindsay Dailey (Brooke Harmon) has discovered a new element that could solve the world's energy crisis. However, she's shortly kidnapped by the evil Tyler (Anja Coleby) and her boss, the budding Super Villain
Zachary Kahn (Christopher Morris), who goes by the alias "DXM", and who wants to use her new discovery to power his evil plot. Lindsay's older sister Ricky (Rachel Blakely) has no choice but to reach out to the super spy Max Knight for help rescuing her.
Meanwhile, Max (Michael Landes) is busy stealing back a stolen experimental microchip. His paths cross with Ricky when he learns that the man behind the theft was the same DXM who kidnapped Lindsay. He agrees to help her — not the least because he falls in love with Ricky at first sight.
Widely considered to be in the So Bad, It's Good
category, Max Knight
does have a few smarter moments. Notable items include the presence of "hackish," a nadsat-esque Future Slang
that DXM and his minions make use of, and the nods toward Transhumanism — a concept which was not yet widely understood at the time the movie was made — that DXM's master plan entails.
Filmed in Australia, by the same production team that created The Lost World
TV series of the late 1990s (which also starred Rachel Blakely).
This film provides examples of:
- Acting for Two: Rachel Blakely plays both Ricky and Claire, Max's virtual personal assistant, which is the Freudian Excuse for his slightly-creepy crush on Ricky.
- And the Adventure Continues
- Applied Phlebotinum: "Element 120", a potentially limitless and clean-burning source of energy which becomes highly explosive when exposed to oxygen.
- Child Prodigy: Lindsay, discovering a new element at age 16. DXM himself was also this, although he seems to be in his mid-20s now.
- Cool Shades: Max owns a pair. They're vital spy gadgets, giving him Super Vision and an uplink with Claire.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: This worries Max from time to time.
- Dark Messiah: DXM has set himself up as this to his followers. His master plan involves uploading all their minds into Cyberspace, and destroying everyone else.
- Deadpan Snarker: Max...though it's hard to tell whether it's intentional, or whether Michael Landes is really that bad of an actor...
- The Dragon: Tyler to DXM.
- Future Slang: Hackish. Imagine if Leet Lingo evolved into a spoken language, and you've got the gist. Twonky...
- Genre Deconstruction: of spy movies in general, and specifically the reliance on cool spy gadgetry to save the day. Max Knight is what happens when spies rely on technology to such a degree that they lose their own ingenuity, and even basic social skills. Max is anything but a suave, smooth-talking International Man of Mystery. Without his spy gear he's really just a useless dork.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Tyler's preferred wardrobe
- No Transhumanism Allowed: played with. The evil part of DXM's plan is not uploading the minds of his followers; it's what he plans to do with the rest of the human race.
- Role Called
- Running Gag: Max's personal cloaking device malfunctions early on. He spends the rest of the movie on hold with Tech Support.
- Stalker with a Crush: Max has shades of this with Ricky.
- Sudden Video-Game Moment: Literally; at one point during a chase through Cyberspace, Max winds up trapped in a game of Half-Life.
- Technology Marches On: DXM brags about his supercomputer, with its Seven Terabyte Capacity. Still pretty impressive for a private user, but no longer the amazing memory size that it was way back in the year 2000.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Tyler makes use of this with a data disc. It doesn't work as well as she hoped.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Ricky and Claire are identical. This is never explained. Possibly this would have been explored if the series had been picked up.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: DXM stands for Deus Ex Machina.