Max Payne

We've been waiting a long, long, long time for a decent film based on a video game. And, sadly, we're still waiting – for Max Payne is not that holy grail.

I have cut star Mark Wahlberg a bit of slack, because he's responsible for one of my all-time favourite TV shows – the brilliant Entourage. But goodwill can only extend so far, and if he keeps making hokum like this, I'm afraid I may get cross and have to kill a puppy. Or two. The worst sin this film commits is that it is just so unoriginal, been there, seen-it-before, and done that. It's also got a pretty awful script, lousy acting and sloppy direction. And the action scenes, for the most part, suck. But apart from that ...

Marky Mark is the eponymous hero, a former homicide detective now relegated to working cold case files. His office is, of course, in the basement. He dresses, or course, in black. And scowls. Constantly. There is nary a scene in Max Payne that is not set at night-time; the scenery is all gloom and shadows (although it does have to be said that New York looks very pretty in the snow). Anyway, back to the rather pedestrian plot, which sees Max going all out for vengeance after his wife and kid have been murdered. His wife worked for a drug company that was involved in a super-secret government project to create the perfect super-soldier. And somehow the drug they created has made it onto the streets of New York. See? Didn't I say earlier that it was totally unoriginal? And if you can't spot the big-bad villain in the first 30 minutes, you really haven't watched enough movies.

There is so much more wrong with Max Payne, but you get the drift by now. It's a shame it that for an action film, the action is dull, colourless and boring. How many more Matrix-style gun battles do we really need to see? The two female leads – the oh-so-yummy Kunis (from Forgetting Sarah Marshall and TV's Family Guy) and Kurylenko (from Quantum of Solace) – really need to have strong words with their agents, otherwise their growing big-screen careers will crash and burn. And Bridges ... is he really this desperate for money? As for O'Donnell, I though Batman & Robin had killed his career stone dead.

What can I say? If you're really desperate for some Max Payne action, then stick to the videogame. You'll need something to keep yourself occupied while waiting for that elusive, perfect game-to-film adaptation.

Official Site
Max Payne at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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