Max Payne – a not very nice review
Now I’m not very good at this, but I thought I’d tell you a bad joke. Max Paynestarring Marky Mark Wahlberg (he’ll never live down the extra "Marky" in my eyes) stars in the title role as a brooding ex-homicide cop out to seek vengeance on the remaining individual responsible for his wife and child’s death. Does this sound very much like The Punisher to you as well, because it really does ring my déjà vu bell loudly.
Coming together to solve a series of murders in New York City are a DEA agent whose family was slain as part of a conspiracy and an assassin out to avenge her sister's death. The duo will be hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation.
To say I was bored at about 2 minutes into the movie is a great understatement. In fact if it had ended after the first moment we saw Marky-Mark sitting at his desk, I may have been kinder (perhaps not). As it turned out a further 98 minutes of torture followed, with Mr Wahlberg denying the affections of a dead woman walking, chasing shadows (or at least people who see shadows) and being incapable of showing any emotion other than ambivalence. I assumed that the character of Max Payne was deeply angered at the killers of his murdered wife and child. To look at him, you’d think he was trying to find the culprit to buy him a cup of coffee and a cream bun. Marky Mark Wahlberg is badly cast in this role as an "action hero". In fact in the small screen time I was able to see him as an action hero, I was so close to the end of the piece, that I had stopped caring.
Why is it that studios continue to release video game adaptations? How many of them have actually made any decent money? The only two that I have actually enjoyed (and they weren’t excellent films) were Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. The sequels that followed these were as pap as expected though.
To sex the proceedings up somewhat we are introduced (briefly) to the latest Bond girl again: Olga (Unpronounceable) Kurylenko. She wears what can only be considered a negligee which I am sure might please a teenage audience, but I had hoped for an actress instead. Coupled with this pointless casting is that of Mila Kunis (best known for her vocal talent in Family Guy) as the "assassin out to avenge her sister’s death". Her character is one-dimensional in that she drives a Maserati and carries an automatic weapon on her person at all times. Nelly Furtado apparently makes an appearance but I didn’t care that much to try and spot her. The actor that did stand out though was Chris O’Donnell’s. I realise that he is older now, but (to me) he will always be stereotyped as Robin (from the camp incarnations of the Batman movies). This is unfortunate because he is the best actor in it! Yes. I did say that. That is not to say he is any good. I just mean that his performance didn’t make me search around for my popcorn box to retch into.
The soundtrack doesn’t help the movie in any way. In fact I think it hinders it. Some of the scenes call for a more paced style and all you get is the audio equivalent of two cats getting jiggy with it. Along with this poor choice of musical score is that of the awful dialogue. Picture the scene: Marky Mark Wahlberg has a woman pointing a gun at his head. He says: "If you want to help, you can help me...." Clearly Mr Marky-Mark’s character is incapable of seeing the blatant flaw in his plan. Clearly, the woman in question does NOT want to help! If some mental woman who drives an expensive car and carries an automatic weapon around with her, comes up to me and goes through her threatening routine whilst pointing a big gun at my head, I would not expect this woman to be feeling in an altruistic mood!
Some might argue that there is a twist in the tale. I however, would urge you not to expect a twist due to the fact that you could probably write the story after seeing the main characters. In fact, I would imagine that you could do a better job! This film is one walking cliché after another and I imagine an untrained ape might have given is better prose!
Another telltale sign of lazy writing is that of a shotgun that kills from fifteen feet away. Even a 7 year old child knows that shotguns are useless beyond a small distance. If I didn’t know better I would be accusing the studio of hiring a bunch of chimps recently.
Max Payne plays like a badly written, badly acted and just plain BAD version of Constantine. Every shot that should havebeen fantastic (and artistic) was wasted. You simply do not care if Max Payne lives or dies. You only hope that everyone else does and at least if they did decide to do a sequel (which a post-credit sequence implies) you could recast 99% of the movie. This wouldn’t save Marky Mark’s performance though. He just does not fit this role.
Now back to my promise of a bad joke. Max Payne is that bad joke. Everything in it is embarrassingly bad. The sad thing about it is, it could’ve gone down the "so bad it’s good" path but decided to take itself far too seriously. Fundamentally I felt that with a different (more ambitious director), Max Payne could have really made us sit up and pay attention. It didn’t!
Rating: 1 out of 5