I decided to take on the challenge of a video game movie adaptation. I wanted to review something a little different and think I found something special, but; does that mean I liked it? Let’s find out.
If anyone is interested in my experience of watching Max Payne, click here to see my notes. Oh, and I think I might start using these notes to make a recap video. I’m working hard to improve my You Tube channel and hope you’ll check out some of the new content.
This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.
1. What is this film about?
Loosely, and yet still pretty close, based on the video game of the same name, Max Payne is a NYPD detective out for revenge. (Wait, kinda sounds like the premise for a dozen other movies. Did it really need to be based off this game?) Anyway, Payne turns to cold case work so he can keep looking into and digging up leads for his wife and child’s unsolved murder, earning black sheep status at the precinct and on the streets. Then one fateful night, a series of wing tattoos and a new murder brings him closer to finding answers that he’s not ready to deal with.
2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?
I remember seeing the trailer of this movie, back in the day, when it was first released and thought it didn’t look too bad for a video game movie. (Let’s be honest, they are 50/50 hit or misses.) In any case, I thought the cast sounded pretty cool at the time. Mark Wahlberg (rapper turned actor) and Christopher Bridges aka Ludacris (another rapper turned actor) appearing on screen with Beau Bridges (no relation) seem like a once in a lifetime event. I’m actually impressed with how both of these men have handled their acting careers, not making it a joke but not taking it so series that they make movies that just don’t fit them.
3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?
I knew very little about the Max Payne game, but it wasn’t completely foreign to me either. I’d seen other people play the game and so had an idea of what to expect. I don’t think this is one of those films where you can really get the character wrong without doing something completely out of character, like making Max a drag queen or making him walk with a limp and speak with a lisp. I think Wahlberg did fine. All the major actors did fine, though there were a few times I had trouble believing Mila was supposed to be so kick-@ss. Oh, and there were a few priceless performances from the supporting and minor characters, but that just added a bit of humor to the overall presentation.
4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?
This is where I’m sure gamers will come out of the woodworks to torch my house, but I don’t care. I liked the way this movie was filmed. I don’t know if the director or screenwriter is to credit, but I liked the unofficial supernatural elements they added to the fill, even if it does all boil down to “Kids, drugs are bad.” Seriously, check out my notes on watching the movie.
For the most part, the film is dark, in that classic noir style, but the flashbacks seemed to have an amber tone to them. Not sure what filter they used, but it brightened the movie without adding too much realism. On a scale of one to 10, considering when this movie came out, I’d still give the effects about an 8. They aren’t that bad, and for a story like this, they aren’t really overused.
5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?
I can’t think of anything that really stood out about the soundtrack, but I do remember liking it. I thought it suited the mood of the film. I think I remember some metal songs and some deep instrumentals.
6. What did I like about the story as a whole?
The plot was okay. It wasn’t some ultra-hard or twisted mystery to figure out and the characters weren’t so complex that you could figure out their motives, but it wasn’t bad either. I guess what I liked most was that the story was simple, but not so much so that I became annoyed. This is brain candy.
7. What did I not like about the story?
I thought the government experiment cover up was a bit cliché, but like I said, “brain candy”. Oh, and, who shoots an automatic weapon around blocks of C4?
8. Would I recommend this movie to others and what would I rate this movie?
Yes and no. I have a bunch of friends who can appreciate a good action flick for being just that. They can appreciate that some stories don’t have a lot of depth and that violence is inevitable. If they haven’t seen this yet, I’ll invite them over to watch it. And as video game movies go, this is one of the better ones. For a video game movie, I’d give this a 5; but that’s not my general rating.
On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 4 reels. What can I say? I appreciate mindless entertainment.
9. Is there anything I would have changed or done differently?
I think I would have done a better job of addressing the drug issue behind all of this. Even the additional scene after the credits, suggesting that there might be a sequel, focuses on Payne’s desire for revenge. Someone should be doing something about that drug problem.
10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?
I like the Valkyrie/demon imagery in this story, though I don’t know how accurate it is. I always thought Valkyries looked like stereotypical angels. In any case, I like how scary they come off and try to capture that kind of fear in my own stories wherever suitable. I do write about angels and demons in my Eternal Curse Series.
Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords