Max Payne (John Moore) 2008
This movie just sucked on every single level. Let’s break this down one part at a time. First up, acting. It sucks. You know, if anything I though Wahlberg could pull off the Payne character especially after his role in The Departed. However Marky Mark has absolutely no clue as to who Payne is. Payne is a guy who is always cool under pressure. As he would say, he’s playin it Bogart. He’s got a deadpan delivery to his Frank Miller-esque dialog and has a dry sense of humor. In this movie though, its like Marky is trying soooooo hard to sound like a tough cop you literally see him struggle to force out his lines. While he is not as bad as the Happening (which is a low bar by the way), whenever he tries his “sensitive side” I throw up a little in my mouth. Is there anyone really worth mentioning here? Oh, Ludicrous is in it…for, some reason. I dunno.
Next, the story. It sucks. It makes an episode of Walker Texas Ranger (a bad episode) look like L.A. Confidential. I’m not even going to go into how the movie is nothing like the game because that would be shooting fish in a barrel. I’m talking about cliches that were old 40 years ago and plot holes you could drive a Mack truck through. The “mystery”, if you could call it that, doesn’t exactly need Sherlock Holmes to solve. Larry Holmes could solve it. What is truly infuriating is when the bad guys will have Payne dead to rights, but will pull out the age old cliche of keeping him alive simply to explain their devious plot. I can’t even go into the after credits stinger, which is SO F*CKING STUPID it makes me wanna beat the writers with a phone book. I could go on for hours but I don’t want to spoil anything (cause that would be as unfortunate as an orphanage fire).
All that wouldn’t matter if the movie was action packed and if the action was any good. It sucks. How can a movie called Max Payne only have two gunfights in it? And if we are talking about GOOD action scenes then there are no gunfights in it. I have not seen the stormtrooper effect in greater force than this movie. You have dozens of armed SWAT guys spraying bullets and hitting nothing, while Payne blind fires his Baretta 9mm and kills endless swarms. Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. And is there any good slow mo like in the game. Not really. There is one scene but it is so silly and poorly executed that you wish it wasn’t there. You see, the movie is good at making you think they know the game. The writers throw a lot of winks to the crowd by naming buildings after characters and other nudges as if they writers are saying “Huh, huh? We have played the game! *nudge nudge* See! That character was in the game!” But the writers don’t know what the f*ck they are talking about. What about the trademark Payne monologue. Yeah, forget about that. We get about three lines in the prologue and then its gone for the rest of the movie.
This also leads me to the direction. It sucks. Moore is going for a muted color tone to make it look like a noir movie but he even fails at that. The character’s skin looks too colorful. In fact, for a movie with a supposed muted color tone, there is entirely too much color in this movie. Why are the bad guys wearing loud Hawaiian shirts? Why are rooms lighted with intense orange lights? Why the f*ck does Payne wear a stupid mock turtleneck sweater? Sorry, got off topic for a sec.
The music. It sucks. It is just this lazy non-existent drone that sounds like I fell asleep on a synth. So its basically the score from any CSI show.
As I said before, Max Payne is not a difficult movie to do. It really isn’t. The movie is basically Sin City; you have a black and white color palette, a cool anti hero that delivers a dark moody monologue, and lots of action. The plot is just simple enough to string you from action scene to action scene just like a pistol opera. This movie isn’t as bad as Hitman, but that’s like saying on broken leg isn’t as bad as two broken legs. You still have a movie that sucks on every level and can only be enjoyed as fodder for endless mocking.