For a more in-depth Max Payne dissection, check out RMTC's review here. Mine will be short and sweet. So without further ado, my review of Max Payne, starring Mark Walhberg...
Max Payne is all style and no substance. It's nice to look at, thanks in large part to it's not-so-subtle "flattery", as in - imitation is the sincerest form of, of Sin City. Sadly, story wise, Max Payne chose a different strategy than to be flattering. The writers figured that there was the built in gamer fanbase so why waste precious time with coherency?!
Max Payne is a muddled and confusing cacophony of images. It's unsure of it's own in-movie mythology from one scene to the next. Is Mila Kunis really the badass Russian Crime Boss that always comes strapped with her submachine gun, or is she the squeamish little girl that flinches at the sight of a junkie falling out a window? Are the Valkyries truly imagined? Or are they real enough to pull the aforementioned junkie out of that same window?
I especially loved how Max Payne, the movie, not the Marky, knocked modern movie conventions on their ass and employed the first ever on-screen incarnation of a helpful and voluntarily talkative tattoo artist. But then, if they didn't use this forced and unapologetically contrived situation to ejaculate their elementary dialogue, where would the heavy handed exposition come from?
It's quite fitting that Ludacris had a large supporting role in this film, as this movie is nothing if not Ludacris. Here's how bad it was - I never really liked Mila Kunis before, but then, having seen her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, my opinion of her changed and I was actually looking forward to seeing her future filmic endeavors. Max Payne abolished all the good will that Forgetting Sarah Marshall had built up in me towards Mila Kunis.
To put it mildly, this movie is an orgy of concepts and ideas that simply don't work together. And yes, that is putting it mildly. But like I said, it did look pretty...
Here's Max Payne in theory:
WOW! Look how great that looks! Can't wait to open it! But once you do, here's Max Payne in actuality:
And don't get me started on the telegraphed-from-the-word-go "shocking(!)" reveal of the true big bad.
Oh, and what the fuck happened to Max Payne's baby?!?! His wife was killed, we get that, but he had a baby girl also. Was she killed right along with mom (though we never see baby corpse)? Was she kidnapped and raised as someone else's daughter (though Max never seems to be looking for her)? Did Max find it too difficult to look at her day in and day out because she reminded him so much of her mother that he abandoned her in the forest to be raised by a pack of wolves? All these, and more, are possible, it's just too bad no one associated with the movie felt it important to actually have Baby Payne's whereabouts/existence mentioned on-screen. Oh, and also, are we supposed to believe that Max Payne is, or at least was, this great detective, yet it took him 3 fucken years to realize that his wife's work files were missing and that the burglary/murder maybe wasn't so random afterall?!
And then there's Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco as Lupino. Amaury Nolasco was largely billed as the movie's goto nemesis (no doubt to throw the dullards in the audience off the scent of the previously referenced true big bad). Amaury was in possibly 4 scenes and had about 12 words of dialogue before the ho-hum, lackluster, and anticlimactic showdown between Lupino and Max Payne.
But I digress...
The one bright ray of sunshine to come out of all this was the flawlessly chiseled, though fiercely underutilized here, Olga Kurylenko.
Kurylenko commanded the screen for what precious few minutes she spent on it. For those keeping tabs, Kurylenko will next be seen as one of the newest Bond Girls in the upcoming Quantum of Solace. But to fully appreciate every last stunning inch of her, I recommend repeated viewings of last years Hitman. You can thank me later. And trust me, you will.
So again that's: Olga Kurylenko - Yay! Max Payne - Nay!
Or if you prefer: Olga Kurylenko - WooHoo! Max Payne - PooPoo!
That being said, if you're still jonesin' for a "revenge against those that murdered my family" type actioner, check out the highly entertaining The Punisher from a few years back. The one with Thomas Jane in the titular role, not the 1989 Dolph Lundgren crapfest.
Hmm, I guess that wasn't all that short or sweet...