Hey look, another movie based on a video game! Uh, yeah, don’t assume you should read that as excitement. It could be a statement full of astonishment or derision. Well, ok, maybe not derision – in this case. But I didn’t love it.
“Max Payne”, based on the video game of the same name, isn’t a bad film, it isn’t a great film, it’s just another of so many movies that just don’t quite hit the mark. It has dark, moody style, some cool action sequences, and decent acting. But it just doesn’t offer anything unique enough to make it stand out, even though it clearly tries.
Max Payne is a cop who comes home one day to find his wife and baby dead. He catches two of the three killers while there. So Max Payne transfers to the Cold Case Department and follows any lead, however useless, to find that third killer.
In the meantime, and here is where they try to make things different, some experimental military drug has found it’s way to the streets and makes people feel invincible and happens to give them wild hallucinations of Angels and Demons and such. It basically drives you insane.
If you ever played the game (I’ve played the first one), you’ll find one of the cool things about it was the “bullet time” feature that let you slow down the gunplay action to super slo-mo and track the camera around Matrix-style. It’s pretty cool. However, there are only maybe two instances in the film where they sort of do that. And they don’t even do the Matrix-like camera thing.
On top of that, the movie takes itself a little too seriously. It’s quite humorless. And then there’s this weird thing about the drug, the demon hallucinations, and the way the trailer (and subsequently a scene in the film) implies that there is actually a war of sorts going on between Heaven and Hell and these flying demons are real. Um, they aren’t. Those flying things are explained as hallucinations. So what the Hell is going on? Nothing, really. It’s just a cop thriller with some stuff thrown in to dress it up.
I don’t have any problem with Mark Wahlberg. I think he’s a good actor. His choices, however, are another matter. “The Happening”? Yikes. When will people see through M. Night’s sham? Ok, I’ll give Mark that. Everybody has at least one bad choice. And Wahlberg does just fine in this as Max Payne. So does Beau Bridges, and Ludacris. Even Mila Kunis is, um, interesting as a Russian something-or-other with a machine gun. Yeah, you read that right. Hey at least she’s really hot.
And the real kicker here? Right when you think the ending is kinda empty, stay until the credits are over and catch a last scene. Clearly the makers of this lack-luster film presumed they would be making a fortune. Oh, yes. They offer the viewer one of the most presumptuous set-ups for a sequel I’ve ever seen. I’m afraid they’re going to be very disappointed when the box office comes in for this. Oh, sure, the weekend take make seem promising, but when the attendance drops off like a suicide jumper off a bridge, 20th Century Fox is going to be scrambling to squeeze another five seasons out of “The Simpsons”.
At least I got to see the “Watchmen” trailer again. Sweet.
—Neil, not so impressed movie goer.