Reviews & Counting
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Max Payne(2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: John Moore

Mark Wahlberg/Max Payne
Mila Kunis/Mona Sax
beau Bridges/BB
4 10
Somebody killed Max Payne’s (Wahlberg) wife and child; and he’ll find out who it is and pay them back no matter what. Lock, load… blanks?
I’ve played both the first two MAX PAYNE games and always had an affinity for them (although the second one was too short). The noir style, the bullet time, the narration…gold! So when I heard they were making a MAX PAYNE film, my jockeys shrunk to a bunch. When I heard Mark Wahlberg was cast as Payne, I screamed “inspired casting” and when I saw the trailer; wow, I was primed for some Payne. So you can imagine how I feel right now, having just seen the thing, and having to write down that it blew lama dongs. Bummer…

On a high note, I did value that the filmmakers incorporated so many plot elements, characters and locations from the game into their cinematic version of it. At least it showed that they gave a shit off the bat. Wahlberg owned the screen on his end via his intense and emotionally charged show, so at least I had somebody to root for throughout this dreck. The handful of bullet time/time stands still moments and heavy handed aesthetics (all about Payne’s face illuminated by muzzle flashes — nice!) had the fanboy in me going "f*ck yeah" as well. We so needed more moments like that to PAYNE the film up. And finally the flick looked noir-ish slick; the somber mood, the constant snow, the plays on lighting, shite even the CG Valkeries came through — awesome!

So what went wrong? I guess my main complaint was that the film was 90% plot and bla-bla and 10 percent action. That wouldn’t be so bad if the plotline was the shit but here it was executed in such a stale and clumsily connect the dots fashion that I was the one feeling the payne. Think watching paint dry. The same went for the mystery at hand, the one I guessed right away…yeah that one! Nough said! Moreover, the film’s jumbled handling of its emotional core grated me. I mean what you have here is the heart of a vigilante flick. Why was it so cold? The flick just didn’t know how to push my buttons to get me all emotionally riled up as I should’ve been.

And why was Mila Kunis in this movie again? Her character was so badly handled, she could’ve easily been snipped out and the plot line would have stayed intact. And that was just ONE example of the film’s ineptness as to characters and relationships. Add to that random plot holes, lousy casting (If Ludacris is a cop, I’m the Queen of England), dumb-dumb exposition (all about that tats dude...lol), a sad-sack knack at missing the boat when it came to running with fanboy pleasing action opportunities (that was a weak sauce mano et mano fight as to the main thug, yawn), lack of graphic violence (the film begged for it) and too short for their own good pow-pow bits and you get my biggest let down of the year.

Let’s take a moment to mourn Max Payne. He was a good man, stuck in a lousy movie.
Bullets wounds aside, nothing really. It wore its PG 13 rating proudly on its sleeve! Bugh…
Mark Wahlberg (Max Payne) made for a bang on Payne. Too bad the movie didn’t live up to his presence and performance. Mila Kunis (Mona Sax) showed up to look hot — not much of a role. Beau Bridges (BB) was on and off, not always credible while Ludacris (Jim Bravura) didn’t sell me as a Police Officer. So that’s what happened to Chris O'Donnell (Colvin)! Good performance, small role. Amaury Nolasco (Jack Lupino) looked the role and was under-used. NOTE: Why was Nelly Furtado in this again? EXACTLY!
T & A
Olga Kurylenko showed off legs and the side of her tangerines and that was pretty much it. See her in Hitman to get the real goods!
Moore put out a handful of mucho inspired shots, slick angles and slow motion whoreness that rubbed me the right way. Problem was, since the flick was more talk than action, I didn’t get enough of them moments to feel fulfilled.
Marco Beltrami served up another bleak, cool and totally bad ass score. Must get this one!
I sensed I was in trouble when the token Max Payne game guitar lick didn't open the picture. MAX PAYNE looked superfly, sported a solid lead and a couple of novel visual moments. Unfortunately, the sluggish and chop-shop narrative, the anti-mystery, the poorly explored characters/relationships, the "safe" violence and worse of all THE LACK OF ACTION kept this one at the bottom of the river wearing concrete boots. RIP Max!
The film was shot in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

John Moore has done one solid film IMO and that was Behind Enemy Lines.

The film initially was given an R rating, so they snipped it down for a PG 13.