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Payback (1999)
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Review Date: February 05, 1999
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland and Terry Hayes
Producers: Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey
Actors:
Mel Gibson as Porter
Maria Bello as Rosie
Gregg Henry as Val Resnick
Plot:
Porter is a two-bit robber who gets fudged over by his partner and girl. They take $70,000 from him, and leave him for dead. Having survived, Porter wants his money back, and is willing to go through anybody to get it, including the prominent crime syndicate ("outfit" if you like), that ultimately pocketed the cash from his ex-partner.
Critique:
Grimy, violent, funny, smoke-filled tribute to bad guys from vintage movies, this film features another captivating performance by Mel Gibson, in a radically different role for him, an entertaining story, a distinct finger-snapping musical score, and an overall fun guy-time at the movies! Will women like this film? Not sure. I guess it would depend on their particular taste in film, but I trust that most raw-meat-eating-cigarette-butt-smoking-cops-and-robbers-loving fellas are gonna dig on this movie like they do a double-cheeseburger with bacon, mayo and spit after a few days of nutritional abstinence. I liked this movie because it was simple-- the man just wants to get his money back, violent-- a few tense moments are sprinkled around this movie, and quite humorous-many chuckles were heard during the film's funnier twinklings.

The pacing of the movie was also perfectly set, with an original style from Helgeland, a witty script, and a thump-thumping score, that reminded me of the film-noir flicks of the old. The actors were all very good in their roles with many of the secondary characters coming up with wickedly engaging performances, most specifically Gregg Henry as Gibson's ex-partner and future nemesis. The movie also contains some shocking and unexpected moments, a solid if fluffy ending, and some great tunes tossed in for an extra-crispy flavour on the outside. And for all those who might complain about the fact that the whole film is essentially filled with "bad people", none of whom have any redeeming qualities, I must heartily disagree. Within the context of their "world", this film has many characters who strive for power, while others fight for the "principle of the matter". Now if you've ever fought for a principle in any matter, whether it be for a grade in school which you deemed unfair, a police officer who pulled you over for a bogus ticket, or a partner who stole $70,000 from you, you should be able to appreciate Gibson's character within the seedy, underground world in which he resides.

This movie's tagline totes the "Get ready to root for the bad guy" motto, and as much as I hate those damn marketing plugs and the word "root", I must admit that I did find myself engulfed in the world of this guy Porter, wishing that he would keep kicking mighty ass, slicing the cheese over the "even worse guys", and chain-smoking and outsmarting folks like it was going out of style. Hubba-hubba-hubba indeed !!!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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