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Awesome: 14.89%
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Just Average29.79%
Pretty Crappy: 10.64%

2 reviews, 35 user ratings

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Max Payne
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by Mel Valentin

"The patented Mark Wahlberg scowl is in full effect."
3 stars

Adapted by Beau Thorne and directed by John Moore ("The Omen," "Flight of the Phoenix," "Behind Enemy Lines"), "Max Payne" is the long anticipated adaptation of the 2001 videogame created by Remedy Entertainment and 3-D Realms Entertainment. For its time, the "Max Payne" featured above-average gameplay and, more importantly (at least where Hollywood was concerned), a storyline and characters that could be translated to the big screen with relative ease. Although the adaptation features one or two nods to gameplay, it stays away from the first-person device that other adaptations have relied on (e.g., "Doom"). In exchange, Moore, his production supervisor, and his cinematographer have instead focused on creating a noir-inflected world, heavy on shadows, a desaturated color palette ("Max Payne" takes place mostly at night) and enough well choreographed action to satisfy most videogame and genre fans.

Max “I Don’t Believe in Heaven, I Believe in” Payne (Mark Wahlberg), a burnt-out NYPD cop self-exiled to the Cold Case Unit, lives to exact revenge on the killer or killers who murdered his wife, Michelle (Marianthi Evans), and child several years ago. Ostracized by his fellow police officers, Payne spends his off hours hunting down rapidly diminishing leads. At an illegal, after-hours nightclub, Payne meets Natasha (Olga Kurylenko), a red-dress wearing Russian émigré who comes on to Payne. At the nightclub, Payne also meets Natasha’s sister, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), an assassin with the local Russian mob. Payne gives in to his libido and brings Natasha to his apartment. After Natasha reminds Payne of his late wife, Payne changes his mind and throws her out. That’s bad news for Natasha. Alone in an alleyway, she encounters what appear to be winged demons, the Valkyries of Norse myth who take the souls of worthy warriors fallen in battle to Valhalla.

The next morning, Payne’s former partner, Alex Balder (Donal Logue), contacts him. Apparently, Natasha stole Payne’s wallet at the scene of a murder (her own). Unsurprisingly, Payne becomes a leading suspect in Natasha’s murder. Mona, convinced of Payne’s involvement, also comes hard at Payne. While a detective from the Internal Affairs Unit, Jim Bravura (as Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges), begins to investigate Payne and his past. Payne turns to an old mentor and friend, BB Hensley (Beau Bridges), a former cop and the head of security at Aesir Pharmaceuticals, for help when he discovers a link between Natasha and a new highly addictive drug, Valkyr. Valkyr gives its users a potent high, complete with feelings of invulnerability and hallucinations involving Valkyries. Payne’s investigation inevitably leads to Jason Colvin (Chris O'Donnell), Michelle’s former boss at Aesir, and Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco), a former marine addicted to Valkyr.

And that’s about it: a burnt out cop driven by the desire to get revenge for his wife and child’s murder, a new, lethally addictive drug, a pharmaceutical company that puts profits over people (as if there’s any other kind), a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t do much ass-kicking, a potentially duplicitous former mentor and boss, and multiple outbreaks of gunplay while Valkyries, real or imagined (or both), linger over the characters, ready to pluck the characters out of their bodies and, presumably, to Valhalla. All that spells formulaic, unoriginal storytelling, but it’s hard to expect anything else from a videogame adaptation, especially considering Max Payne’s weaker predecessors. If Max Payne succeeds on its own, it’s only in fits and starts, primarily when Moore gets a chance to use his skills at visual composition or action choreography to build out Max Payne’s world.

In the end, though, "Max Payne" doesn’t rise above its videogame origins. Videogames are meant to be played, not watched passively. It also doesn't rise above the crime-fiction/noir tropes Moore and Thorne rely on so heavily to get from one action set piece to another. Mark Wahlberg makes for a passable blue-collar cop (his specialty, apparently). Mila Kunis ("That 70s Show") doesn't quite pass the believability test when she's asked to handle a submachine gun and, worse, there’s little she can do to breathe life into an underwritten, perfunctory character. While the script hints at a romance between Payne and Mona, it leaves it that just that, perhaps to be picked up again in a sequel (if any). The supporting cast gives watchable, if forgettable, performances. Alas, that’s par for the course when videogame adaptations are involved: Visual design and action scenes trump story and character.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17288&reviewer=402
originally posted: 10/17/08 02:56:51
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User Comments

2/16/16 oz1701 too much slo-mo - and that was just the acting! 1 stars
12/26/10 Lemon feeder Meh, not too bad I guess 3 stars
10/15/09 I liked it B+ for this one think 4 stars
9/20/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Like passing a tapeworm. Hot women exist only to feed maggots. 1 stars
8/27/09 mr.mike Tired retread dressed up like a video game. 2 stars
8/26/09 Justin You'll have a better time being kicked in the balls for 90 minutes than watching this. 1 stars
8/12/09 Shit movie Boring and predictable. special effects where good tho 2 stars
6/27/09 Smashinova Not what I wanted or was expecting. Avoid 1 stars
6/08/09 dikguzzla very cool got a bit borin at end though 4 stars
5/06/09 fuck this a disgrace, badly acted, slow pace and with a rap star in the lead. 2nd worst film of 2008 1 stars
5/01/09 Niall Pretty cool 4 stars
4/26/09 Gertrude Boring.But Marky Mark is easy on the eyes. 3 stars
3/20/09 mo shizim weak bar the blastin ending 3 stars
3/15/09 Yo MTV Raps power 2 da payne 4 stars
3/10/09 Maxpayne Ok just not as good as the game. Kunis is sexy and Wahlberg is good 4 stars
3/09/09 Deleriois dan Great. Rented it and expected very little but it was fairly cool,filled the 100 minutes wel 5 stars
3/06/09 gc Is hollywood ever going to figure out that video games should not become movies? AVOID IT 2 stars
2/20/09 Nazihater As an action movie it's just ok, as anything else it sort of sucks 3 stars
2/19/09 MKAY decent 5 stars
2/15/09 martz Really sweet thiller. Kurylenko is simply orgasmic to behold 5 stars
2/10/09 DK Beautiful looking with a good wahlberg performance. Supporting characters sort of sucked. 4 stars
2/09/09 mark dedasco pretty decent stuff 5 stars
2/08/09 Mark Samsung Second half is good, but the opening section is unjustly slow and pondorous. 3 stars
1/24/09 John leaper Nicely done stuff. 5 stars
1/23/09 action movie fan good stoyr but too arty too much snow-could have been great but was,nt 3 stars
1/19/09 Greg winnings A sublime mix of noir and individual paranoia. Very fine cinema nad artistically perfect 5 stars
1/16/09 Jon G not as bad as I thought -somewhat enjoyable 3 stars
1/10/09 filibuster fred Dis was da shizit!! Me en me m8 was well likin the action and hot babes. 5 stars
10/31/08 Abhishek Chakraborty OMFG What a peice of crap. they made a great game concept into shit. don'twaste your money 1 stars
10/31/08 tiffany pettey i thought that the silent hill moves paved the way with stupidity 2 stars
10/23/08 NoRefill 85 minutes? I thought it was 3 hours! Would have been better at 30 minutes. 2 stars
10/22/08 Erik Not as horrible as i thought it would be but still not very good. 3 stars
10/18/08 Brian Mckay Was what it needed to be. Only complaint, not enough action. They got the rest of it right. 4 stars
10/17/08 Horrendous movie What a cliche-ridden piece of crap. Boring and useless. 1 stars
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  17-Oct-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Jan-2009


  DVD: 20-Jan-2009

Directed by
  John Moore

Written by
  Beau Thorne

  Mark Wahlberg

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