Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
Max Payne lost everything he loved. With his wife and child murdered, he spends his days hoping to find those responsible. He soon learns that their death revolves around a new drug that brings the users some eerie hallucinations. Bang bang, get those f*ckers Max!
Is it good movie?
This is my second viewing of Max Payne. With my original review I mentioned that I found the film entertaining despite having a few flaws. So the question is, with this “Unrated” edition, are any of the flaws mended? And the answer is, not at all. It remains a visually slick take on a video game that has a whole lot of fun. It is drenched in style, whether it is a party with a ton of green lazars shooting across a dance floor, or simply a nourish lit office building. I’d also have to mention the wonderful sequence where Max escapes from danger by diving into a freezing cold harbor where he almost joins the army of the dead underneath. There is so much eye candy here - I haven’t even mentioned the two leading ladies yet - proving that director John Moore could do something amazing at some point… but this wasn’t it.
While it isn’t as cool as it could have been, it is definitely a worth while watch. Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a cop who is looking to solve a single crime. After arriving too late, he found his murdered wife and child and was only able to kill a couple of guys at the scene. But he knows there is someone out there who should pay. He spends his days in the “cold case” file room but he only thinks of finding justice and hopefully some peace. When he ends up following a bad lead, he confronts his snitch at a party. It is there he meets Natasha Sax (Olga Kurylenko) and her pissed off sister Mona (Mila Kunis). And I have to say that while Mila felt much too underused here, Olga really does shine as a drug addict who proves to open the door to a new investigation for Max. Either way, both actresses do well with their roles.
I loved the use of light and the creepy effects of drug induced demons. The Valkyries’ so lovingly added to the mythos of Max Payne, are a unique and creepy idea that is not necessarily explained. But it becomes obvious as to why and what they are while watching this a second time. Yet again, the script and some of the editing feels oddly put together. And as the DVD claims, this includes both the “unrated” and the “theatrical” version. But the unrated version really only adds a couple of uses of the word “F*ck” and a little more suggested sexual situations with lesbians. Not a bad thing for sure, but we are talking seconds here… I wouldn’t have noticed any difference if it didn’t say it was the unrated cut.
Max Payne is still one of the better video game adaptations. While it is far from brilliant and a tad convoluted, it is decorated with a ton of pretty images. I also really liked Mark Wahlberg in the title role. He has a strong presence and he was surprisingly believable as a man looking for redemption. John Moore almost made a pretty terrific film, and I think if the script had been touched up it might have worked much better. So instead of being amazing, it really ends up being… eh… it’s alright.
Video / Audio
Since I was watching a screener copy, there was nothing labeled for Audio and Video. It seems as though it was typical Dolby Digital 5.1 and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
The Commentary with Director John Moore, Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell starts off a bit slow, but they grow on you after awhile. They do fill us in on a couple of interesting questions. One of which had a lot of people scratching their head regarding no nudity for Olga. This is worth listening to and I really like John, it is too bad that the film didn’t work as well as it could have.
Picture - Part 1 (29:02) is easily one of the best “making of’s” I’ve seen on DVD. It feels honest and sometimes even a little jaded. It includes interviews with the stars of the film and plenty of crew interviews down to the caterer. I loved hearing what these guys had to say about making a film that takes 14-15 hours a day to shoot. I wish this had been longer.
Next up, Michelle Payne [Graphic Novel] (13:38) offers up Mrs. Payne’s story in a animated featurette. I would like to see this story as a feature… probably never happen though, it’d be too much of a downer for most.
And finishing up the disc are a couple of Trailers for “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Quantum of Solace”.
Max Payne is a shining and visually arresting flick that lacks a bit of heart and soul. While it is much better than many movies inspired by video games, it doesn’t always work. It might be the script, it might be the editing, but I still had a bit of fun with it. And it is certainly enjoyable watching Olga and Mila together… hey… not what you guys are thinking! They are not part of the added “sexual situations”… come on man, they play sisters. Still, not great, but it might be worthwhile just for some cool special features. And yeah, Beau Bridges is pretty awesome here.