Movie Review: Max Payne (2008)

To say I was stunned, shocked and dumbfounded after my viewing of Max Payne would be a bit harsh. I was, however, certainly disappointed in what I saw. No, not because another popular video game had become a casualty of a poor Hollywood interpretation, but because, for all intents and purposes, it didn’t remotely look like anyone involved in the picture even tried to make the film a successful venture.

First time screenwriter Beau Thorne was clearly out of sorts when he wrote the storyline. He put together what may be the most convoluted revenge story ever put to paper. Thorne had me, at least initially, on board with the loner cop, Payne (Mark Wahlberg), still consumed by his desire for revenge against those who murdered his wife and baby daughter concept. But when inexplicably he mixed in unneeded Russian gangsters and nonsensical winged valkyries into the plot with big business greed, he soon lost me (even though I knew why at least one of those aspects was added). The Russians were introduced so Olga Kurylenko and Mila Kunis could steam up the screen for the men in the audience. Olga plays Natasha, a woman sent in to seduce Max. How she can’t, while barely wearing a slinky red silk dress, is beyond me, as she may be the hottest prospect in Tinseltown right now. Mila takes on the role of Mona Sax, an assassin of sorts, who befriends Max and helps him with is quest. As for the valkyries, I suspect they’re in place just so Thorne’s friends in the arts/effects department could have something to do. They look cool, but actually become distracting — they’re overused and show up at all the wrong times.

Further tossed into the primordial stew are mostly uninspiring roles played by Beau Bridges, Ludacris and Chris O’Donnell. Out of the bunch, only Ludacris (working under his real name Chris Bridges) showed up to work as an Internal Affairs officer investigating Payne’s involvement with a spate of recent murders. This doesn’t mean he was anything special; it just goes to show how poor of a performance the other, more experienced actors put forth. Same goes for Wahlberg. He spends all of his screen time furrowing his brow and doing little else (I’m omitting shotgun practice as an activity). There was a moment when, after learning who was responsible for his family’s death, he tried to appear mournful and contemplative but he ended up looking like he was suffering from a major bout of constipation. And while it is the actors’ responsibility to breathe life into their characters, some of the fault lies with director too.

The man at the helm of Max Payne was John Moore, a man with a spotty track record directing films. Instead of paying attention to the actual meat of the film, he fell into the trap of trying to use excessive effects to cover up the fact there is no story driving the film. As I already mentioned, he tosses around CGI valkyries every chance he gets — even when unwarranted. There is also a ton of explosions and gunfire — as expected — some captured exceptionally well, while other scenes were bizarrely shot (I’ve been told it was his attempt to capture the “bullet time” phenomenon the video game was heralded over).

In short, Max Payne is heavy on glitz and light on substance. I guess fans of the game will be happy to see their “hero” brought to life but for most others, including myself, this was a lackluster attempt at an action flick.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


Movie Review: Blindness (2008)
Movie Review: An American Carol (2008)

The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Max Payne (2008)' have 8 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 21, 2008 @ 1:06 am lalinajimson

    game based movie it is. Not like the game it was interesting to see the movie. Revenge moments are the ones I truly enjoyed. But didn’t understand the after life situations. Like science faction. Other than that tremendously made movie.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 21, 2008 @ 1:09 pm Carl O

    I didn’t get those surreal fantasy scenes either. Was is it a part of the game or something cooked up only for the film?

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 31, 2008 @ 5:10 pm Chris

    I’m yet to see a game make a good movie, I thought the Story line of Max Payne (the game) would have made a good movie. But as soon as I heard of those winged creatures it put me right off, as far as I’m aware they weren’t in the game… or am I missing something?

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 3, 2008 @ 6:22 am General Disdain

    I didn’t get those surreal fantasy scenes either. Was is it a part of the game or something cooked up only for the film?

    Cooked up for the film.

    …am I missing something?

    No sir, you aren’t missing anything.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 4, 2008 @ 10:00 pm Rock

    movie was horrible dont waste your time. i’m a fan of the game and i still wouldnt waste time watching the film again. it literally took almost an hour into the film to get to an action scene!! and mila kunis was shown for maybe 15 to 20 minutes of the the whole film. and ludicris is the worst actor in history trust me when i say that. but yea dont let that stop you from watching the movie cause maybe if enough people watch it they’ll make a sequel thats worth watching. (after the credits theres a hint of a sequel) but please john moore dont direct it!!!!!

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 21, 2008 @ 5:53 pm CHRIS MC

    I went to see the movie with a friend and we both had mixed reviews.My feelings follow the rest of you, the story had a decent plot but got lost between unrealistic russian mafia and flying demons which were supposed to reflect halucenegenic reactions to the liquid drugs, but these demons popped up everywhere.
    Script was’nt bad, but the performances were poor.
    As synical as you are General distain I do appreciate you got this review correct,’ {perish the thought}’.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 22, 2008 @ 5:55 pm General Disdain

    As synical as you are General distain I do appreciate you got this review correct,’ {perish the thought}’.


  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 30, 2009 @ 8:54 pm Matt Moore

    Well,even though the movie wasn’t the same as the game,it was a decent film.You gotta understand that making a game into movie is very difficult(my opinion).If you watch the movie as the video game,it wouldn’t be as good.BUT if you watch it as just a normal movie(like the Bourne Identity,Shooter or whatever action movie)it would be very good.So all I’m saying is that Mark Walhberg did a good just in the film,there were a FEW things that could have been changed,but Mark can’t do anything about that.Hes just an actor not the director or editor.But I enjoyed it.

Privacy Policy | About Us

 | Log in

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger