The film opens in a blue collar bar where blue collar folks do what they always do in their down time – drink beer and arm wrestle! The unofficial champ challenges a guy wearing a yellow hardhat and promptly loses. After winning, the hardhat guy heads home, only to be followed down an alley by a stranger and beaten to death with a wrench. Now either people in Maryland take their arm wrestling mucho serious, or there is some kind of killer haunting the night. My money is on the former. Enter our hero, Detective Joe Kavanagh (Jefferson Leinberger). We learn right away that some of his peers don’t think too highly of him as one guy says he sucks as a detective and mentions he only got the job because of his cop daddy. While exploring the crime scene surroundings, Joe runs into Professor Marduk (Adam West) who cryptically says this kind of stuff interests him.
Joe: “I thought it was over.”
Amanda: “He said it wasn’t.”
Who? You forgot the professor who said it wasn’t over just a few hours ago? You know what, Joe, I’m starting to agree with your colleagues that say you might be a crappy detective. So Joe finally goes to see Prof. Marduk and gets a speech about Maxim Xul (Ultimate Evil), the world’s worst demon, by a fireplace. So this is why Marduk didn’t want to tell Joe his story in public? He wanted atmosphere and mood?
the previous year’s THE EXORCIST III (1990), which partially shot in neighboring Washington D.C. before this. In fact, the films are remarkably similar as you have a detective chasing/facing a supernatural evil killer mutilating bodies. Where the two films differ is when it comes to solid plotting, good acting, and all that stuff. Lead Jefferson Leinberger is about as dull as they come and isn’t done any favors by the screenplay by Egeli and co-star Rickard. Seriously, this might be one of the dumbest cop characters ever on screen. Imagine this, an investigator who doesn’t investigate! Hell, he doesn’t even like to ask questions outside of “do you have plans for dinner?” Also, the mystery as to who the main villain is doesn’t pan out as, like I mentioned before, the film only has two female characters. Yes, if you didn’t gather it earlier, Maxim Xul is the female attorney. Even worse, none of the cops seem to recognize all of the ripper victims are trial witnesses. Worst of all, Egeli doesn’t deliver when we finally see the villain in demon form. Looking like a refurbished Syngenor mask, Maxim Xul only gets a few seconds of screen time before getting its head lopped off. It is a shame too as the film does have some things going for it. Enlisting West is a smart move in terms of getting attention (look at that “Adam West is totally in this” cover above), even if he is only in it a total of 10 minutes. Egeli gets some good, atmospheric shots and lighting in the film with the help of DP Thomas Lappin. It is no surprise that Lappin went on to a big career as a camera operator on big budget films like THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and NON-STOP (he also worked on the Maryland lensed HONOR AND GLORY  around the time of XUL). That said MAXIM XUL failed to live up to its maximal potential. Oh yeah, you were waiting for one of those.