Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Review - Max Payne

Max Payne is a Cold Case police officer who has been unsuccessfull in finding his wife's murders for four years now. When a women he has just met is killed, Payne realizes her death may be linked to his wife's. Payne must solve the murders in order to find out what really happened to his wife and who was behind her killing.

Director John Moore adapts the video game Max Payne to the big screen and the only things that carried over to the film from the game were the name, that he is a cop and that his wife and child were murdered. Everything else in this film was just a complete disaster. Moore who hasn't had any real great films, here in Max Payne he just seemed to grab random things he liked in other films. The opening for instance screams Bourne Identity or Bourne Ultimatum. The over stylized shootout scenes came darling close to Shoot Em Up and The Matrix. Lastly the over use of slow-motion shootout's becomes so tedious, the viewer just wishes something innovative would come from Max Payne, but unfortunately it never does.

The script itself was a real strecth for Max Payne. The setup of Payne's slain family was done well enough, but as the story unfolds the film begins to feel more like a Constantine script then a Max Payne movie. The film flirts with Norse mythology to the point of nausea and when you finally see winged creatures flying around, I couldn't help but laugh. The idea is that this drug makes the user see illusions (Valkyrie's), but when every users see's the same thing, it becomes very hard to believe. The angels/demons or whatever the hell you want to call them, ultimately had no place in the dark world of Max Payne.

The mood of Max Payne is beyond dreary. The entire film is shot with so much darkness to convey Payne's emotions, it takes the viewer completely out of the story. The annoying part comes with the flashbacks of Payne's family. Every scene with the family is shot with such a high sense of light, clearly showing the contrast of Payne's emotions when his family was still alive. My problem with the lighting switch is that it felt like the director had to jam the emotions down the viewers throat. Obvisouly Max Payne is in a world of hurt, but does that mean we need to see everything around him black. It just came across as if the director thought his viewers were too stupid to understand Payne's emotions without the dark undertones.

The dialogue of Max Payne feels very video game. The dialogue comes in bits, just like a video game and the dialogue that is given, is terrible at best. It felt like every scene would have these typical cop monologues and then back to gunplay or dark lighting. In most video games you have these cheesy dialogue scenes that you wish you could skip through so that you could get to the gameplay, here in Max Payne it was the same thing, except the gameplay portion would end up just as bad.

Mark Wahlberg worked as Max Payne, but I am growing tiresome of his typical performances. Watching Max Payne, I longed for the Mark Wahlberg of I Heart Huckabees or Boogie Nights. In defense of Wahlberg, I blame Moore for the film first and foremost. Wahlberg can only work with what he is given and for playing a cop whose family is killed he does a good job. Unfortunately, the story is so bad and so ridiculous Wahlberg was doomed from the get go.

Overall Max Payne was pittiful. The story was terrible and convoluded beyond belief. The lighting in the film set a beyond dreary mood and ended up taking me out of the film all together. The overstylized shooting and fighting sequences were so repetitive and been there done that, I just became sick of them. The Norse mythology felt so out of place in a "so-called" cop drama it felt like an X-Files or Scifi film. Finally Max Payne was yet another bad video game adaptation that you would be better served just replaying the game.