Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movie Review:Max Payne

Time and time again people think bringing video games to the big screen. Typically they try to emulate part of what made a video game famous. Sometimes this works well, though still not getting past the level of forgettable...say, Doom. Other times it makes you want to gouge out your eyes with an ice pick in a vain attempt to rid yourself of the heinousness of what you subjected yourself to; Super Mario Brothers comes to mind. Most fall somewhere in between.

Max Payne (2008) makes Super Mario Brothers look like great cinema. From the horrific acting to the bizarre, meandering, non-sensical storyline (or lack thereof) to the predictable climax, this movie is a mess.

Shot in dark tones, it strives for the film noir feel. It wants to be gritty, dirty and violent. It comes out dreary, depressing and full of head cheese.

Payne follows the story of Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), stuck in the Cold Case division of homicide 3 years after the murder of his wife and baby. He lost everything, including his will to live and his partner.

Events lead him to discover clues to the case, though each clue is accompanied by the death of someone he was in contact with, thus making him appear guilty of murdering his former partner, a random girl he meets at a party, a guy from the company his wife worked at, and retroactively, his wife.

In some weak, derivative action sequences he gets the file with the info, goes to where a drug gone awry is manufactured, kills lots of people, then kills the "surprise" villain.

The action sequence in the club is the best part of the movie. It is also a fine opportunity to refill your popcorn tub and soda...because it is not very good.

The best part is a slow-motion sequence (possibly lifted direct from the game) in which Payne does a back flip to shoot a guy in the head with his shotgun. Meanwhile, his assailant...a highly trained soldier wielding a fully automatic machine gun...misses him by a good 10'. Whatever.

In short, if you are a fan of badly acted, poorly shot movies with weak scripts and bad action sequences, this movie is for you. Conversely, if movies with tacked-on Norse mythology, shaky motives, boring action sequences, and counter-intuitive actions by vital characters are not your thing, just see Hitman...not a great video game movie, but exponentially better than this steaming pile of monkey droppings.

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