Directed by John Moore.
Written by Beau Thorne. Based on the video game by Remedy
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges and LUDA!!!!
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 10/18/08
To get ready for the movie release of "Max
Payne", I played through the two Max Payne games, first
and then "Max
Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne." Both are short, violent,
expletive-laden yarns featuring our hero Payne, a New York City cop
whose wife and young child were murdered by thugs working for the
evil Aesir Corporation. Max puts down nearly a thousand people
with all manner of firearms and the use of "Bullet Time" to get the
deeds done between the two games, told in a pulpy comic book-style
format. There is literally no problem-solving and no story to
work through in this game...all you end up doing is killing everyone
in your path.
"Max Payne", the movie, is rated PG-13.
(Let's call this, oh, Problem #1.) The games are not very
bloody, but they are violent, and often the action is non-stop.
There is a ton of sex-related content and heavy use of
profanity...but, apparently, the studio wanted to deliver a movie
that could make money, and since the general belief is that R-rated
films can't pile up cash, "Max Payne" lost in that regard.
"Max Payne", the movie, stars Mark Wahlberg
as Payne. This, obviously, is a mistake. The game's
Payne seems to be a take on Bruce Willis when he still had hair,
playing through as a husky-voiced noir cop. I like Wahlberg,
but he is not this character. Certainly, he's not a match like
Angelina Jolie was a match for the Lara Croft character from
"Tomb Raider." Further casting errors: Mila Kunis
(from "That 70s Show") as Mona Sax, not sexy enough, not evil
enough, not the femme fatale that she is portrayed as in "Max Payne
2." Also, strangely, the movie decided to NOT make Mona Max's
love interest, which is clearly what she is in the games.
And, in the games, Detective Jim Bravura is
an old white guy...and, in the movie, he's played by a young black
guy you may know as Ludacris. Yeah.
Some of the atmosphere feels right in "Max
Payne", the movie, and occasionally, the movie remembers its roots.
But, the action is not good here and it's very minimal. I was
expecting long, drawn-out shootouts with bad guys, or Max diving
around in slow-motion a lot to take out baddies, or Max with his
signature dual Berettas. I was expecting Max to use
painkillers at some point, his signature healing method in the
games. But, more than anything else, I was hoping a bad guy
would turn around, see Payne and give me one of the signature lines
from the games:
None of that is here. We get a
different plot featuring Olga Kurylenko from
"Hitman" and the
upcoming Bond flick, a different bad guy, a different ending, and a
useless throwaway scene at the end of the credits.
This isn't awful, but it's not good AND it's
not really based well in the source material. Wait until next
fall to watch it on HBO!!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard