Monday, 27 October 2008

Max Payne


A painful re-telling...

Working the cold case unit, Max Payne (Mark Wallberg) has undergone a major character change after he was unable to protect his wife and child from being killed in a robbery gone wrong. After Max's former partner, Alex Balder (Donal Logue), finds some evidence off a killed woman leading to the killer of Max's family, Max begins his journey of revenge, assisted by the unlikely source of the murdered woman's sister, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis).

Max Payne is a simple, yet vastly altered, re-telling of a complex story which is one of the first of many problems for the film. There is a basic premise to which holds the film together but the very scenes which tell the story are often disjointed and unrelated to one another. In one scene, Mona is at her home/ office/ hideout place in civilian clothing, only to end up in the very building Max is in so she could save his life. She then promptly leaves. Another being how Max is in the cold case unit, but in the three years since his wife's death he never ever bothered trying to discover what her job entailed: imagine how the rest of the poor sods feel knowing their cases were probably tossed away due to laziness. Things like this occur in the film, and it's very difficult to understand character motivation for most of what's going on. The film goes as far as having a couple of scenes which serve no purpose to the film: they do not expand the story or characters; they do not provide any action; they do not provide any titillation. Simply put, Max Payne feels abstract like it is a part of whole, and it might be safe to assume that a lot got cut out of the film to get a PG-13 rating... in fact a lot should have been cut out or the director has honestly chosen the wrong vocation.

This also results in characters being awkwardly out of place. For starters there are way too many characters for what is meant to be occurring in the film. Characters will appear for an important story advancement moment, say a line or two just to never be seen or heard of again. Even the character of Mona Sax feels vastly underplayed, and could have easily been cut from the film with virtually no bearing on the story whatsoever. The only character with some purpose is Max himself, but that is to be expected. Nevertheless, Kunis brings an interesting seductiveness to Mona, but is never the femme fatale she should be, and Wahlberg gets the lone wolf mood right while never ever really able to capture the grief which haunts Max or the insightful nature of the character either. The former is more difficult when it takes so long for the story to present the death of his wife and child in its entirety. In the end, both are adequate enough to make their characters seem interesting in some fashion. The other main roles are all short lived and definitely not fleshed out enough to have them have a real impact to the film.

Another aspect of the video game original which did not translate well was the action sequences. First off, there is too little action in the film, and it's not a well-rounded affair. There are moments, such as the SWAT shoot off and the finale sequence, especially the start of it which is breathtaking. Sadly there a lack of the staple bullet-time, and even inappropriately used when one man throws himself to his death. One scene with uses the technique is ruined: while Max tries to shoot a man who is firing at him, the director made the terrible mistake of making it appear as if the assailant was blind: it is evident that the bullets being fired land no where near Max.

There is no nudity, though a woman without a top on can be seen from the back. Sex is hinted at but never show or even performed by any characters. Language is kept to a minimal and violence is not gory and hardly bloody.

From bad editing to lack of character development to an action film with little action: one can only wonder how a video game which could so easily be translated to the cinema medium went so wrong. And while it is an adaptation, the film bares little resemblance to the source material's complexity, even nullifying the staple slow motion scenes which was popularized in the Matrix trilogy. Still it is possible that an uncut release can be seen on DVD, and could possibly fill in the many problems of the theatrical run. Nevertheless, Max Payne is not entirely devoid of entertainment, with the actors at least trying to portray their respective characters and some fun action sequences, of the little there was. The post-credit scene hints at a sequel, which should include a new director, and hopefully the sequel will make up for the mishaps of this.

5/10

Screen date: 28 October 2008
Release date: 25 October 2008

3 comments:

Farzan said...

Good review, sucks they fucked up a wonderful franchise. Havet seen the film, but the trailer didnt look anything like the game. Cant wait for Max Payne 3

Mayank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mayank said...

Yeah i agree the review is good......The movie wasnt up2 the mark as the video games were..........

Anyways i hope they reboot the franchise rather than making a seqeul this time.....

As i heard they might reboot Doom just in time to launch doom 4......

Mayank from India......

P.S - Hey i saw ur reviews on bollywood movies cant beleive bollywood is reaching the whole world now.........Anyways nice review dude keep it up