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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Videogame > Max Payne - Unrated (Fox Blu-ray)

Max Payne - Unrated (Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: A-     Extras: C     Film: C-



Well, another day, another bad video game inspired movie.  Max Payne was originally a breakthrough hit on the PC and PS2 due to its edgy subject matter that blended gunslinger violence with an intriguing film noir quality.  Sadly for fans of the videogame the presence and luster that was available on home video games consoles is stripped down to a nonsensical plot with even drabber acting.  Mark Wahlberg has gained a reputation for choosing roles that are both exciting and captivating as his presence jumps from the screen; however his role in Max Payne seems disgustingly forced and uninspiring.  For the entirety of the film this reviewer was confused and repeatedly asked what, why, and how?  The illogical plot has no idea where to go and even at its very end sums up little to nothing, dismissing an array of idiotic plot points and leaving the audience sorry they even started watching the film.


The plot follows a loose and gutted skeleton of the videogames original plot; often changing around critical plot elements or completely dismissing ingredients that were essential to the original storyline.  The film starts off with Mark Wahlberg as Max Payne; a hardened cop who works in the cold case department of the NYPD.  Three years earlier Max’s wife and baby had been murdered by a group of three seemingly crazed and murderous drug addicts; two of which Max killed, but one got away and has been weighing on his mind ever since.  The murder of his wife and child changed him forever and with their deaths his world began to fall apart; alienating those that were once close to him and becoming increasingly violent.  Max Payne has been digging through files and kicking down doors for 3 years, but seems to be no closer to solving his family’s death nor finding peace.  After getting a tip from a group of subway druggies, Payne makes his way over to the party a former snitch.  At the party Max meets an alluring girl named Natasha who seemingly has connections to the mob as well as a number of other troubles.  After a failed attempt at seducing Payne, Natasha left his apartment only to meet her untimely and violent end at the hands of a mysterious beast.  Max Payne suddenly finds himself caught in a whirlwind when he is accused of not one, but two murders.  Max sets out to clear his name and avenge his family’s lives at any cost.  The film slowly evolves into an awkward tale of drugs, violence, cover-ups, pharmaceutical companies, murder, greed, angels, Vikings, the mob, mystifying tattoos, and many more factors that accumulate into a messy, convoluted tale with little substance.


The technical features on this 103minute film are not as Payne-ful as the film, but they aren’t as perfect as this reviewer would have liked.  The picture is presented in a 1080p/ AVC MPEG-4 @ 22MBPS, 2.35 X1 Widescreen on both the Rated and Unrated versions available on this Blu-ray.  The film is extremely crisp, clean and clear throughout with impressively solid blacks.  There are few problems with the picture, but the colors are not as vivid as they should have been and the skin tones are not perfect.  Some edge enhancement distracts, but overall minor.  More impressive than the video, the sound is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio that fully immerses the viewer in the action with flying bullets, booming explosions and crisp dialogue.  The experience is solid through and through with full 360 degree action, coupled with a fully balanced presentation that takes the time to distinguish music, ambient noises, and dialogue with the pristine care.


The extras include Audio Commentary with Director John Moore/Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell, Picture-In-Picture Documentary, Bonus View: Walkthroughs & Cheats- Making Max Payne (P-I-P) and behind the scenes with Director John Moore (P-I-P), Michelle Payne Graphic Novel, and Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems.  The documentary is just as annoying and dull as the film itself with Director John Moore ripping apart “making-of” featurettes and most of the scant documentary offering nothing worth hearing about.  The audio commentary is nice enough as it features all the speakers showing that they truly did put their hearts into the film, offering non-stop commentary that gives insight into the full decision making process.  It is interesting to note that John Moore even makes a remark in the audio commentary that he realizes the film is lightweight and simple at best, but loved the process and film style nevertheless.  The extras overall were passable at best, but in no way worth watching more than once.


Besides the fact that the Blu-ray had a solid picture and sound presentation; there truly is no reason to watch the film.  It is nonsensical from beginning to end and just when there seems to be a glimmer of hope of sensible plot, it is quickly stripped away with more of the same drab acting and illogical plot.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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