Review: Max Payne
PLOT: Max Payne is a DEA agent who has lost it all. His family was taken away and he cannot forget his sad loss and the desire for vengeance. That is when a series of violent murders start to sweep the city, along with some kind of hip new drug. When Max runs into a Russian girl named Mona, the two work together (?) to find out who is behind all the killings and why these dudes with wings are flying around grabbing people. Will he find out who is behind it all? He should, it was pretty easy to do. And of course, will he finally find be able to bring justice on those who killed his wife and child? What do you think?
Maybe it was low expectations, after all, it is very difficult to think of a good film based on a video game. But after finally getting to check out Mark Wahlberg in MAX PAYNE, I enjoyed the film much more than I thought I would. It is not half as smart as it wants to be, it is confusing and choppy, but it still has a quality that I enjoyed. John Moore directed this slick looking feature with lots of bells and whistles. He, along with cinematographer Jonathan Sela, paint a damn pretty picture. Early on, when Max Payne (Wahlberg) is dropped into a freezing cold ocean filled with corpses, it is an intensely beautiful shot. At this point, there is very little to tell us what is going on, just something about him being left for dead with all the other bodies that litter this cold and dark resting place. I loved the imagery here and was surprised by how much it kept me involved in the film.
As for the bad, Max Payne is massively flawed. At some point, somebody needs to stop making filmmakers cut their motion pictures down to nothing. There are many a times when the story is beyond comprehension. I kept wondering how they got from A to Z hell, I was wondering how they got from A to B a few times. Whoever made the decision to slice and dice this film did a true disservice. It reminded me of the recent BABYLON A.D. which was hacked up and made little sense in the end. But the difference between the two films is that I had more fun with Mr. Payne. Even though it seems that many filmmakers get a bloated sense of self importance, and they make their movies much too long thinking every single frame is gold, I tend to prefer that then one cut and tarnished to shreds. I have a feeling that this could have been a pretty terrific film, well see if we find a Directors Cut on DVD.
It is easy to attack a video game inspired film, especially when it suffers from the problems this one does. So I guess I could always call this a guilty pleasure. But is it at all surprising that maybe it is not as deep as it should be? Of course not. As for the story, it all revolves around a man whose family is murdered. He is suffering their loss and wants one day to find those responsible. On that level, the film works. In fact, a few of the action sequences work well enough. The ones who really get shortchanged are people like Mila Kunis who plays Mona Sax (Can you really expect much from a film with character names like this?). Mila is a wonderful actress who shines every time shes on screen. But her character must have been the victim of some major cutting, because Mona is given very little screen time or growth. Why was this character here again? I could barely tell.
As for the rest of the cast, they were all there to support the story, but given little else. Beau Bridges did a nice job as B.B., Maxs mentor. Chris Bridges was not the wisest choice for this character. He was stiff and very out of place, although I liked him in ROCKNROLLA, but he wasnt very good here. I also have to point out how desperate it seemed the studio(?) seems to have been to get a PG-13 rating. You have the lovely Olga Kurylenko (the newest Bond girl) naked in bed trying to seduce Max lets cover her up. Plus you have tons of chances to toss in the red stuff so why not? Im guessing just so all the kids can go without their moms and pops. So yeah, it is flawed. But in this case of style over substance, the style was enough to keep me moderately entertained. And truthfully, the bizarre nature of the drug passed around in the film which brought up the Valkyrie dudes flying around was pretty damn fascinating to watch. Like I said, the style was enough to at least make it half way entertaining. My rating 6/10 -- JimmyO
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