Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.73

Awesome: 17.7%
Worth A Look50.44%
Just Average: 22.12%
Pretty Crappy: 7.08%
Sucks: 2.65%

7 reviews, 71 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Star Wars: Episode VIII : The Last Jedi by Jay Seaver

Darkest Hour by Jay Seaver

Shape of Water, The by Jay Seaver

I, Tonya by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Payback (1999)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Ryan Arthur

"It wouldn't be a Mel movie without a torture scene, now would it?"
4 stars

Solidly entertaining...until the end.

Mel Gibson plays Porter, a thief who gets doublecrossed by his junkie wife (Deborah Kara Unger) and his sleazeball parter, Val (Gregg Henry). Porter & Val have just swiped a briefcase full of cash from a gang of Asians. Val needs the money to buy his way back into "The Syndicate," an organized crime venture. Porter just wants his cut, 50-50. The briefcase has $140K in it, and Porter wants his $70K. But hold on here, Val needs $130K just to get back into the syndicate. Porter, perhaps a little too late, finds he's been set up.

"Not many people know what their life's worth," Porter says. "I do. Seventy grand. That's what they took from me. And that's what I'm gonna get back." He wants his cut, no more, no less. And as he starts off after Val, Porter realizes he may just have to go through the entire syndicate.

And you know what? He just doesn't give a damn. It's about the principle, a fact lost on the characters Porter meets, who can't understand why he's going to such great lengths for seventy grand.

Payback is the directorial debut of Brian Helgeland, the writer of such flicks as L.A. Confidential and Gibson's own Conspiracy Theory. Helgeland has fashioned a cool looking movie. Set in a nameless city (it was actually filmed in Chicago, so one assumes that's where it happens), Payback has a sort of bluish-green tint to most of the scenes. It's actually quite cool and adds to a sort of noir feel, complete with a kickass soundtrack. It's also another retelling of author Richard Stark (a. k. a. Donald Westlake)'s novel The Hunter, and a pseudo-remake of the Lee Marvin flick Point Blank. The film also has something of a troubled prerelease hype involving Gibson being unhappy with the final cut and having portions reshot.

Porter's mean. He gets the job done, but he's a bad guy. Director (and writer) Helgeland wanted people to root for the bad guy, but not be put off by him. Apparently, Mel didn't like how the character turned out. Helgeland refused to make changes. Mel did anyway, 'cause he's Mel (this is all recounted in a feature article in Premiere magazine. Look for it; good readin'.)

So in this version, (SPOILER AHOY!)a major character lives(END SPOILER). Helgeland's version had a more ambiguous ending. I think I would have prefered the other. It's all too neat for me, and doesn't seem to fit the rest of the film.

Good performances from Gibson, Maria Bello (as Porter's friend Rosie) and James Coburn in a small role, while Henry very nearly steals the show (as does Lucy Alexis Liu as Val's other girl, this one with a thing for pain. A lot of it.). The look and feel of the film are top notch.

Better than the Lethal Weapon movies. A pretty good flick.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=727&reviewer=7
originally posted: 02/11/99 10:09:34
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/22/14 Michael Ervin Great revenge movie! Watch your toes! 5 stars
2/10/12 hurdygurdy man Might work as a comedy, add a joint for a few chuckles. 3 stars
7/23/10 bagwell5 I am a fan of both versions of the film. Great revenge story. Violent with great dialogue 5 stars
10/15/09 Monday Morning Still and always one of the best movies ever. 5 stars
9/25/08 Shaun Wallner Great Movie!! 5 stars
7/21/08 the dork knight Although there is some comedy, Mel stays serious, which is good 4 stars
1/14/07 Gloria Dornin It was good, love Gibson, seen better 3 stars
9/08/06 Michele mel is always enjoyable 3 stars
7/08/06 JIMMY lucy liu makes beautiful dominatrix 4 stars
6/17/06 Agent Sands Perfect for what it is. 5 stars
10/07/05 Klondo I didn't like this movie, but it has Gibson in it, and that's... 3 stars
10/02/05 Indrid Cold Starts out brilliantly, but ends up being a standard revenge movie. 4 stars
8/27/05 Rever_Bear-Trap COULD'VE BEEN BETTER BUT OH WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/25/05 ES If the dog had died it would have been the movie it was trying so hard to be 2 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams i like the cinematography. Movie...meh. 3 stars
11/14/04 sue another gibson movie 3 stars
10/29/04 Archanist_101 It should've had a better script & replace Maria Bello with Gina Gershon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
9/05/04 Daveman Gibson's masochism doesn't measure up to that of his audience by the smallest fraction. 1 stars
8/16/04 john bale Indestructable Mel sorts out the baddies in a slick but average thriller 3 stars
6/08/04 PAYNE Yeah it's OK 4 stars
7/04/02 KMG This movie IS HOT! 5 stars
4/15/02 R.W. Welch Pseudo-Noir thrller; not bad if you don't take it seriously. 4 stars
2/09/02 Teymur Fantastic 5 stars
1/22/02 Monster W. Kung Not bad but altogether very unmemorable. 3 stars
11/29/01 The $1.98 Pyramid It wasn't entertaining. Gibson can do much better. 2 stars
9/14/01 Butterbean Lucy Liu was useless in this movie. Payback wasn't as bad as critics say 3 stars
8/28/01 Bueller Score one for the not-so bad, bad guys. 4 stars
5/31/01 Monday Morning How come Jason gets two shots at this? 5 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Entertaining at best, inoffensive at worst. 4 stars
4/23/01 Monday Morning Smart, noir-stylish, totally great comedy "edge" for balance. One of the best. 5 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye Not a masterpiece, but a decent flick nonetheless. Not for the faint of heart, though. 4 stars
10/13/00 Jason I wasted 2 hours of my life...go to the symphony instead! 2 stars
10/13/00 Josh An awesome rush of a movie. Don't listen to anyone (Jason) who says otherwise. 5 stars
10/13/00 Jason I wasted 2 hours of my life...go to the symphony instead! 2 stars
9/11/00 Jed Don't Believe the critics folks this is a bad movie. 2 stars
7/20/00 Eran entertaining ending! 4 stars
7/11/00 Terrie Smith Not bad; the usual gung-ho performance from Gibson but Henry almost walks away with it. 3 stars
6/27/00 malcolm cool as hell. any Frank Miller fans out there? 4 stars
1/04/00 Gotham DK Gibson kicking ass instead of showing it. Not one of those repeat watch movies. 3 1/2. 3 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster I've finally found something that sucked more than Lethal Weapon 4 . 2 stars
10/20/99 Tony Daquano Movies should be more like this 5 stars
10/12/99 "JED" One of mel's weakest he should stick to Lethal weapon. 2 stars
9/29/99 Brentus unpredictable, good, but it lacked something???? 4 stars
9/04/99 The Bomb 69 average written all over it 3 stars
6/15/99 Ver-Jun Without a doubt the worst film I've seen in 3 years!!! 1 stars
6/14/99 David The look is good, the cruelty is good, I just wish I could see Helgeland's original version 3 stars
4/14/99 Jon Jackson Funny and slick, but enough with the blue! 4 stars
4/12/99 Go Swans Gains bonus points for being quick, fast and short. Mel's best since Ransom. 4 stars
4/06/99 Irzal Rinaldi It's really a cruel movie 3 stars
3/31/99 Thanatos This might be a remake, but it was still one of the best movies i've seen all year! 5 stars
3/17/99 Scott Stipe Man.....It rocked 5 stars
3/13/99 Matt the 'invincible' main character almost ruined it, but he was an asshole, so it was ok 4 stars
3/12/99 16 in. of swingin' meat & a bucket of balls Film Noir fun with almost no morality. Porter (GIbson) makes you afraid of the dark. 5 stars
3/10/99 Bobby Luv Sadism rules baby, lots of fun explosions, mel in graveltone and Devane cranks it up 5 stars
3/06/99 CYaniDERuSH thank god for a noir flick. really liked the touches of dean martin 4 stars
3/04/99 ^Cesaro Kinda like falling down, but with more death. Not quite there yet. Keep trying. 4 stars
3/03/99 Steve Kelley Not as bad as I'd heard, not as good as I hoped. This is not Elmore Leonard. 3 stars
3/03/99 Mr Showbiz A cartton noir that's really just a Mel Gibson vehicle. 3 stars
2/24/99 Viral Messiah Mel Gibson is great in this noir flick! Totally awesome! 4 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN Typical Gibson action movie, pretty good, but could use extra oil in a few of the joints 3 stars
2/20/99 bogeyman Another example of the ads making the movie look a lot better than it really is. 2 stars
2/11/99 Zachary Ryan its better than the review listed here. this movie rocks! 5 stars
2/10/99 poolboy good clean s&m FUN! 4 stars
2/08/99 Jumbles Exciting and fun, but nothing special. Wind Mel up and watch him go! 3 stars
2/08/99 buddy Still great, even though they fiddled with it. 4 stars
2/06/99 Giladani Interesting 90s film with 70s borderline Film Noir sensibilities. Worth a look definitely. 4 stars
2/06/99 Kozmic Great movie,good story, no boredom anywhere in it. 5 stars
2/06/99 Cory Clawson GREAT! 5 stars
1/05/99 The Dude VERY COOL MOVIE -ONE TO SEE 5 stars
11/30/98 Kirgo Would almost rather pull my own teeth out than see that crap again! 1 stars
11/29/98 Lindsay The film was OK. Best part was Lucy Alexis Lieu (from Ally MacBeal). She was very funny. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  05-Feb-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  04-Mar-1999 (MA)


Directed by
  Brian Helgeland

Written by
  Brian Helgeland
  Richard Stark

Cast
  Mel Gibson
  Maria Bello
  William Devane
  David Paymer
  Gregg Henry



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast