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Max Payne (and a pain it is)

 

Max Payne

If you watch the trailer you will think that you are going in to see a well shot, hard-boiled detective/revenge flick. What you will get is a bland/boring movie that does not the narrative of the game – which was actually quite good.

We start off the movie, unlike the great opening from the game, as some rookie is being led around the precinct told where and how to deal with cold case files. In here he runs into Max Payne. The senior office tells the rookie to leave him alone. The guy inquires why and he is told that Max had his Wife and Child murdered. First of all, for a revenge story this is not the way to start off a movie. This guy cares so much about getting revenge that he sits behind a desk – Wow! Thanks dad! From there on out you get a slowly progressing pseudo-noir movie that follows Max Payne’s search for revenge. It is a bland and slow process which never leads to any surprises because all of its secrets are so awfully obvious.

Comparing the story of the game to the crap on the screen is not a hard think to do. One is crap, the other was great. In the game, it opens up with Max at the top of a building surrounded by the police, search lights, and choppers. He looks like he is ready to jump. He tells you that they only way you will understand his story is to go back. You go back to the night of the murder of his family, which was much more drastic and made you connect with why he would look for revenge in the first place. The way the story is structured in the game is way better. In the game, you are not sure what is going on besides the revenge aspect in the beginning. At a few points you ask yourself, “Why is this even going on for so long, is Max Payne maybe a little nuts?” As the story progresses you realize that things are bigger than just Max’s struggle and though the game always keeps it’s cards close to it’s chest you can always tell that there is something around the next corner. It is a solid noir game that has great action and well thought out narrative. The dialog in the game is phenomenal. Usually, this wouldn’t be the case, but the game really captured the old film noir sense of writing dialog with lines like, “I don’t know about angels, but it’s fear that gives men wings.” All the things from the game that are great are altered and/or just made uninteresting in the movie.

The performances are also pretty poor. Mark Wahlberg comes off, at times, like a 12 year-old child that is trying ever-so hard to prove that he is macho. I think that he was severely miscast for this movie. You need someone who can pull off the pissed off look and still spit out lines worthy of Bogart. The rest of the cast makes the twists obvious by their poor performances alone. Milla Kumis does an OK job as the touch chick, but her character is written in only for her use to move the story and poorly at that. For instance, you see her before she becomes part of the story and are given no background on her beside her sister calling her an itch with a “B”. Later in the game she tells Max, which didn’t know of her earlier, that he knows what she does for a living so don’t mess with her. What? Come again? What do you do beside try to pull of a Trinity? Soon after that she goes from absolutely hating Max to best friends for no apparent reason (at least no justifiable one that I saw). Later she just disappears only to pop up when it is convenient again. Then there is, ROBIN FROM BATMAN, Chris O'Donnell. Dude, what happened? You aren’t even mentioned in the trailer, your role is a crappy semi-expanded bit part and the job is uninspired. Since it has been years since I have seen him in anything I was doubting that it was even him at times thinking that it was just someone that looked a little like him. How wrong I was.

The movie is shot well, but by this I mean the actual shot selection. The way that are cut together is really poor and the make the greatest scenes from the trailer dull and a bore to watch. The effects are well done except the fact that you can always tell when one is coming up due to a change of tint and focus. Furthermore, what is the deal with the angels? There were none in the game. There is no religious reference and they litter the movie for no apparent reason. I was excited when I saw the trailer thinking that they were visual aides to some of the great dialog in the game, but no. AND they are not even angels, but Valkyries. I thought that Valkyries were beautiful women warriors that would fly over battle fields to take the worthy dead warriors to Valhalla? Never have I heard of them looking like crispy burnt angels coming to take you to hell.

Finally, we come to the dialog. What the hell happened? As mentioned before the dialog in the game is fantastic in that over-written-but-great-to-hear-when-read-right, but in the movie there is not one (read: not ONE) good line in the entire flick. Not one. Pages and pages of mediocre dialog go by and you get nothing that is even remotely memorable.

For me, the worst part of this movie was that the writer of the game was actually involved in writing the screen adaption. When an artist takes his own great work and slaughters it it is worse that when Hollywood just buys good stuff up and screws it up.

On a final note:
DIRECTOR, watch a freaking Noir film or two before trying to make one. Seriously, this is the worst Noir film I have ever seen. Noir films don’t make it painfully obvious who the villain(s) are right from the get go. Also, Noir films usually have at least one good line, you know something that sounds cool or something that just sticks.

Mark Walhberg, go back to talking to animals. This is the second terd you’ve thrown at the screen (next to the incredibly horrible “The Happening”).

Images from the movie (and not):

Trailer:





Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
Cinebelle on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 2:58pm

This review made my day. I haven't even seen the movie, or played the game, but I feel your Payne, JAS. I appreciate that you experienced this, and wrote about it so memorably, so that we don't have to... ;-)

Keep 'em coming.

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