Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movie Review: Max Payne

Well, looks like it's time for another cinematic video game adaption (at least Uwe Boll isn't directing this one). This time it's the 2001 game Max Payne, a third-person shooter inspired by the Hong Kong action film genre. Like the game the film version of Max Payne centers around the character of the same name (Mark Wahlberg), a cop whose family was killed by junkies on some kind of super-drug called Valkyr. As a result, Payne has become cynical and antisocial, and is obsessed with taking down everyone connected with the drug. joined by an assassin named Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), looking to avenge her sisters death, thanks also going to Valkyr. As they slowly unravel the origin of the mysterious drug, Max battles his inner demons and confronts the reality of his loss.

The Pros: Video game movies have not had much of a proud history, and Max Payne is not going to break that pattern. Though honestly, it's no worse than any other game adaption either. I've seen a number of reviews of this movie that sounded angry or disappointed. Seriously, what were you expecting? The reason video games don't make good movies is because they were never meant as story-telling mediums. The plots are there simply to string together a series of fights and/or challenges for the player. Now I realize that there are plenty of games with good story lines that would make great films, so eventually a video game film will pleasantly surprise me, but until then, I have zero expectations for these films. Which I why I don't hate this film like others. Sure, it wasn't good, but I wasn't expecting it to be, so I enjoyed it for what it was. The acting and writing wasn't terrible, certainly not good, but not as terrible as has been said. And there was definitely some beautiful set pieces and action.

The Cons: OK, now that I'm done defending this film, it's time to get serious. Why I expected this film to be bad, that doesn't change the fact that is was pretty bad. As you've probably expected the story is nothing special. We've seen this movie done a thousand time before, and done so much better. I already said the acting a writing didn't bother me, but it was still only adequate. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was that this movie has surprisingly little action. After seeing the trailer, I was under the impression that this film would be more or less non stop gunfights and bullet time. And I would have been fine with that. But the trailer lied. This movie has a grand total of three action scenes (depending on what you count as action), and none of them last more than two minutes, except the finale. The film isn't well-written enough to be a deep, and it's not action-packed to be exciting, to it Ultimately has very little to offer.

The Rest: BTW, was I the only one who found it impossible to take Mila Kunis seriously as a bad@$$ assassin? Seriously, she doesn't look the least bit dangerous. I just can't look at her without thinking of That 70's Show.

The End: As I said, I came into this film, expecting absolutely nothing. And while I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't surprised either. This is a movie filmed with missed opportunities, it could've been worse, but it could've been better. As you've gathered by now, this it's hardly worth seeing in the theatre. Wait until it comes to DVD and rent it sometime when you're bored and have see the better stuff a thousand times.

Overall, I give Max Payne a Copper Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official site for Max Payne.

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