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DVD Review

DVD cover

Max Payne


Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Beau Bridges.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 13 April 2009

Max Payne is a cop stuck in the cold case section of the police department. Two years following the slaying of his wife and child his mind is still on catching the last of the men who wasted his family. His journey through the dark underbelly of the city brings him into contact with Mona Sax who is chasing down the same people, following the death of her sister. Although Max is a loose gun his father’s ex-partner, BB Hensley, does what he can to look after him. As Max gets close to the truth he discovers that the plot it deeper and wider than he first though, stretching from the closeness of his own colleagues to the depths of hell...

Max Payne (2008 - 1 hr, 35 min, 47 sec) is an action adventure film directed by John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, The Omen (2006)) from a screenplay by Beau Thorne. It is almost disingenuous to point out that the film was only nominated for a single award, given that the award in question was a Golden Raspberry for Mark Wahlberg under the category of worst actor, a distinction he also gained for his part in The Happening (2008). The film was based on the BAFTA award winning computer game, which only goes to show that you can make a pedestrian film from a great game.

So putting all the cards on the table, I didn’t go to see this film on release because it was pretty much universally panned. In part I can see why. For a start the script is not great with internal inconsistencies, not least of which is the nonsense of selling a drug that gives your clients horrific hallucinations. It makes for a good visual but little in the way of common sense. Next up, having sold the drug, you decide to off your client base in a particularly gruesome and graphic manner - again its makes for a good visual if not a lot of sense.

The oddities of the script aside, Max Payne is a pretty good popcorn movie. It’s no Citizen Kane, but then critics have a tendency to refuse to come off their intellectual high horse. Wahlberg put in a better performance than the one he came up with in The Happening. No, he’s not the greatest of actors but, in a film that refuses to pretend to be anything other than entertainment, he presents a reasonable performance. Visually the film has more than a nod to noir which makes for some nice shots, even if they feel like they owe more to music videos than cinema.

The review disc contained no extras unless you consider a trailer for Notorious as a bonus. I have nothing against that film, but a trailer is just a free advert, much like the adverts you have to laboriously sit through just to get to the films menu. This sort of thing makes Jack a dull boy. The disc comes with a reasonable assortment of audio options, so you get 5.1 Dolby Digital and a 5.1 English version with descriptive text. There is also a German, Italian and French dub track. The disc contains a generous number of subtitles including the four primary languages either as straight subs or as subs for the hard of hearing.

It all come down to what you want out of a film. As entertainment it’s okay, but it’s never going to be considered great or even good cinema.


Charles Packer

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