7.1/10
116,613
399 user 147 critic

Payback (1999)

Porter is shot by his wife and best friend and is left to die. When he survives he plots revenge.

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(novel) (as Richard Stark), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pearl (as Lucy Alexis Liu)
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Mark Alfa ...
Johnny's Friend #2
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Radioman
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Michael, Bartender #1
Len Bajenski ...
Fairfax Bodyguard #1

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Storyline

Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss. Written by Kwah-LeBaire

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No More Mr. Nice Guy See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, and drug and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Porter  »

Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$21,221,526 (USA) (5 February 1999)

Gross:

$81,517,441 (USA) (9 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Music Editor Scott Stambler was involved in the theatrical cut, and was brought in to try and re-edit Chris Boardman's music from that version of the film into the Director's Cut. When it was decided by Brian Helgeland that Boardman's music simply didn't match the tone of his film, he asked Stambler to write a new original score for his film, which was recorded in late Feburary 2006. See more »

Goofs

The prostitute's hair on her left shoulder when she is talking to Porter in her apartment. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Porter: [voiceover] GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in What Women Want (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Had My Life to Live Over
Written by Moe Jaffe, Harry Tobias and Larry Vincent
Performed by Lou Rawls
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Point Blank Great!
7 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you don't like violence, then don't watch this movie. If you are open to great storytelling and gritty dialogue, this is the movie for you. In some ways superior to the remake and just as gripping. Some have hated this film just because of what it was, and that's a shame for them that they can't enjoy a film that neither glorifies nor trashes the underside of life. In a weird way, the main character Porter (who was Walker in the Lee Marvin film, played this time by Mel Gibson who is almost as good as Lee Marvin. Nobody could be better than Marvin in this kind of role) has a kind of decency code of his own even though it is more than a bit twisted. After all, in a world inhabited by criminals, the rules change significantly and so once has to either adapt or find a way out. Porter does both in both versions.

No sense in rehashing the plot. Suffice it to say that it is about a crook who got burned and wants what is coming to him and gets even along the way. Besides, the plot has been recounted by so many better reviewers than myself. I can only say that in "Point Blank" the ending is a bit more ambiguous. A precursor to the films of the 1970s.

It's always hard for me to rate one film version over another. It is almost impossible to not want to (in my mind at least) mix and match actors in roles. James Coburn played the same part as did Carroll O'Connor in the original and they are both perfect while being so different. After all, they were both accomplished actors. And maybe I could have done without a lot of the S&M and B&D scenes in the newer version but I chalk that up to the changes in the world since the 1960s.

Long before there was a Quentin Tarrantino, there were great directors like Don Siegel, Sam Peckinpah and Sam Fuller who were as tough as nails and not just some fan who knew how to use the best of all of these guys brilliant touches, and add some sick jokes. But director/writer Brain Helgeland does spectacularly well with the material, while the new cast shines in their roles almost as though they weren't acting, but living the parts. And that goes right down to the underrated David Paymer as a pathetic hustler (who could easily have been played in earlier times by an Elisha Cook Jr. as he did with the Wilmer role from "The Maltese Falcon" yet Paymer does so with more humor.) It is hard to make one root for people so lacking in morals but director, writer and actors manage amazingly well.

Both "Payback" and "Point Blank" are instant classics that should be considered as such. And God bless the memories of Lee Marvin and John Vernon (both in the original "Point Blank" version.) Such fine thespians will be sorely missed. Fortunately, their memories are on celluloid and other mediums to be enjoyed by many more audiences.

You might have guessed I really love these two movies.


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