Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Max Payne" (2008) - Movie Review

The film’s best work is deceiving the viewers through the style and tone of “Max Payne”. It is sleek no doubt and dark much to the credit of the cinematographer of the film Jonathan Sela. The game of the same name (which I have not played) is a buzz in the gaming community. The transition at the beginning opens hopeful soon dying to the screenplay and dialogue becoming from neo-noir to a insipid speech delivery reminding David Caruso from “CSI: Miami”, a show which I purely watch to laugh out loud on the actors making a fool out of themselves. “Max Payne” does not go that far but shoots itself all over the place missing the big target to shoot the tiny test tube filled with blue drug (it directly relates to a “cool” shot when a supposedly army druggie with a kill shot angle from the top misses Payne by a feet to shoot the blue tubes).

Grieving in pain and despair is Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) working clerical cold case files as day job while hunting for his family’s killer in the night. It leads to an underground club with hot women flying like vultures to hit on guys like Wahlberg. Oh, it is dark, very dark and Wahlberg’s Payne is dark with a permanent shadow over his face. Now for some reasons he follows behind a girl named Natasha (Olga Kurylenko) who throws at him in his apartment to be thrown out. She sees big flying creatures in shadows to be soon killed into pieces along with Payne’s Wallet. Conspiracy, pin up, setup, graphics and slow mo shots makes up for the rest of the film.

I admire the maturity in which the noir style is handled but it should have been notched a bit in the terms of “Sin City”. New York City does make a good Sin City and when Payne goes under the streets of streaming unclean liquids and scary garbage scattered, it would have been the perfect transition for a game rated Mature. It has Mila Kunis trying to shatter her school girl image from “That 70’s show” with some eye lining and black dress. It works if only to make her a character a little more deep than an unknown underground business lead with no declaration of the nature of her business.

When Payne enters his dead wife’s company and meets the boss lady (Kate Burton) with that consoling voice, I was telling myself let me be wrong of guessing her to be the seed of this conspiracy. But no, there were more obvious arrow marks on top of the character to say their vicious deal under the table. “Max Payne” should have stayed in the gaming environment and played the action very early. It got the enough scenes to state its shady surroundings of NYC and extending it out as suspense dissolves it.

Soon millions of bullets fly with many many and I mean many dead bodies killed by our hero laying every where. When adapting a game, both the theme and style should be concentrated or go a little bit more in deep about the expressionless graphics characters into a real human being. Mixing both is good when the balance is mastered. Director John Moore with a much more capable Mark Wahlberg goes for everything in berserk manner possible. At the end what Payne wants is unclear and why the conspirators blow up their building and begin to shoot is purely irritatingly illogical.

Very early in the film is a scene so powerful and touching that it gave me goose pumps hoping for more like those. Payne visits his ex-partner’s funeral at his house confronted by the widow played surprisingly by the pop singer Nelly Furtado. She is right on with those couple of lines because it places scalpel to Payne’s grievance. When the film starts we hear him say on his belief on death, fear and despair. Carrying that tone and his pain of mourning and agony of not able to find his family’s killer cannot be addressed more appropriately and sharply in that scene. That would be the best part in the whole film which fails again and again into actions to ignite some interest and becomes noise pollution in very little time.


Karthik said...

waiting for this movie to release...came to know its releasing this november with Quantum of Solace:)

Ashok said...

I did not like the movie at all. Eagerly waiting for "Quantum of Solace".

movie fan said...

i suspect the storyline for Max Payne is a lot more exciting when it's happening in the form of a video game... except for those few exciting parts that i already saw in the preview, it was a snoozefest

Karthik said...

Oh really..Let me check and let u know for sure...

Trailers are exciting for Quantum of solace:))))