Max Beyond Image

Max Beyond

By Ben Shehadi | May 1, 2024

Directed by Hasraf Dulull, Max Beyond follows a magical 8-year-old boy named Max, who is subjected to human experiments by a mega-corporation called Axion. Max must be saved by his adoptive brother, an ex-Marine named Leon, across the multiple realities of quantum spacetime.

As a baby, Max was adopted from an orphanage by Leon’s family. But when a thief broke into Leon’s house, his father was murdered. In distress, Leon blamed himself for failing to save his father. From that day forward, Leon vowed to protect his little brother Max.

We also learn of a third main character: Dr. Ava Johnson. She is the doctor responsible for creating the Rift Project, designed to experimentally examine Max’s unusual time-traveling powers. After her fatally failed surgery on two twins, Dr. Johnson wanted to discover a way to exploit the multiverse and “undo” her mistakes. Leon travels across many realities to try and save his brother. Each failure kills Max a little more. With Leon’s help, will Dr. Johnson be able to save Max from the predatory experiments of the evil corporation she works for?


“…a magical 8-year-old boy named Max, who is subjected to human experiments by a mega-corporation…”

Visually, Max Beyond adopts a futuristic cyberpunk look. It is very brightly colored and appealing, but the animation doesn’t look very realistic. Characters are rendered using thick black outlines, as well as a lack of fine detail (especially on the faces). Maybe this is just the style, but it is definitely distracting. The facial animations are very bland, unrealistic, and lack detail. Voices don’t match up with the lips. It looks and feels like a PS2 video game cutscene.

Thematically, Max Beyond touches on many deep concepts, such as the ethics of human experimentation, the dangers of unbridled technological progress, and the class conflict caused by mega-corporations. Using what appears to be their own private security forces, Axion ruthlessly crushes all forms of political and social dissent. Rioters hold up signs that proclaim, “Axion is evil!” and “Stop testing on kids! Axion is playing God!” and “Corporate greed is not science!” Unfortunately, though, the movie only hints at these themes and never fully develops them. The non-linear storytelling, although creative, is jarring and disorienting.

Despite its visual brightness and thoughtful story, Max Beyond still falls a bit short. Something is missing. Although the movie raises powerful and timely questions, it doesn’t answer them. Any serious social commentary is buried underneath a superficial facade of neon-colored whizbang. If you enjoy the cyberpunk genre, this movie might be for you. But if not, then you aren’t missing anything big.

Max Beyond (2024)

Directed: Hasraf Dulull

Written: Paula Crickard

Starring: Dave Fennoy, Cade Tropeano, etc.

Movie score: 5/10

Max Beyond Image

"…adopts a futuristic cyberpunk look."

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