Max Payne: Movie Review
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Beau Bridges, Mila Kunis, Ludacris,
Chris O'Donnell, Amaury Nolasco
Director: John Moore
The pantheon of small screen computer games adapted for the movies is
littered with relative failures.
From the likes of Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Lara Croft, Silent Hill,
BloodRayne, Hitman and Super Mario Bros, many have failed to ease the transition
to the big screen.
The latest addition to the genre is Max Payne.
Based on the infamous and quite violent computer game, the film adaptation of
Max Payne (played by Mark Wahlberg) centres around one man's quest to track down
those who are responsible for the murder of his wife and baby.
Made to look like a robbery and without any substantial evidence, the murder
investigation was soon shut down and its lead detective (Payne) assigned to the
Cold Case desk.
But Payne's never given up and a mysterious death of a woman (forthcoming
Bond girl Olga Kurylenko) reignites the case as a series of leads involving a
new drug, pushes Payne back on the quest for vengeance for his slain family.
Joining Payne on his journey are Mona Sax (Mila Kunis) out to avenge her
murdered sister, and BB Hensley (Beau Bridges) Payne's wife's former boss.
However, as Payne continues his investigation deeper into the project and
company his wife used to work for, he delves deeper into a murkier and spookier
world which threatens to engulf him.
Max Payne, the film version, is a curious beast - in some aspects, the film
works brilliantly; its visuals such as the realisation of Valkyrie warriors
floating in the sky over some of the drug addled characters are stunning and
spooky at the same time.
Then, by the same token, some of the dialogue and acting is unbelievably
wooden (Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco seems to do little but drip sweat and
leer) - and some scenes play out as if they were cut scenes in a computer game,
there to provide exposition and break up the action while the next segment loads
The shoot outs when Payne is trying to escape various evil-doers intent on
bringing him down are violent, bloody and very similar to levels on a computer
game (dodge the bullets, seize the incriminating file and shoot the door down as
Sometimes this plays to the film's strength; but on several occasions, it's
simply there to showcase the amount of pyrotechnics the crew and its director
Moore (who previously helmed the remake of the Omen in 2006) were clearly able
to get their hands on with slow slots of various items exploding around the
If you're a fan of the game, you may well get a little more out of it than I
did - and given the ending, there does appear to be the possibility a sequel may
Ultimately, as far as I am concerned Max Payne just misses the mark - it left
me frustrated some of the more supernatural elements (such as the Valkyrie
demons and ongoing references to Norse mythology) were sidelined in favour of a
slightly weaker revenge driven plot.