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Three years ago, NYPD detective Max Payne's wife and baby were murdered. Max gets himself transferred to the cold case office where he can continue searching for the killer who got away. He's a loner, but two people reach out to him during a fateful week: Alex, his ex-partner who may have found a clue, and BB, the security chief at the pharmaceutical company where Max's wife worked. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up, some as a result of a drug on the street that is highly addictive and, for many who take it, brings hideous hallucinations. When one of the bodies is a woman Payne was the last to see alive, her sister comes looking for him armed to the teeth; Max must move fast. Written by
As Max walks towards Alex's car, streetcar tracks appear in the road. New York City has no streetcar tracks, but Toronto, where the the film was shot, does. See more »
I don't believe in heaven. I believe in pain. I believe in fear. I believe in death.
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Stay watching after the credits for an extra scene, in which Max is reunited with Mona at a bar to be shown further developments involving Aesir, implying both have more to do (setting the scene for a possible sequel). See more »
Oh, my dreams have sort of come true. Max Payne, on film. I had prayed for months that it wouldn't stink to the high heavens like every other video game adaptation. Thankfully, Max Payne does not stink as a standalone film or adaptation, nor is it anything like the other game adaptations. John Moore's obvious goal in the film was to match the spirit, tone, and grit of the game, and I have to say that he reached it.
While I was disappointed in the lack of action sequences, I think that including even half of the action from the game would have taken away from the realism of the film, as mountains of action sequences work a lot better in a game than they do on film. The film opts for a quieter tone, and a much more thoughtful and introspective approach. I appreciated this a lot, as a fan of the game. By no means is Max Payne just thrown together to make a quick buck. It is well made, and well thought out. I was not disappointed in this aspect.
Mark Wahlberg, thank you for not failing. That would have ruined my year. Wahlberg delivers a quiet, yet subtle and intense performance in the title role as the most "pain" and "pun" inducing detective of all time. While there is a large supporting cast, I really wasn't swayed either way by any of them, besides Chris Bridges, who was actually playing a character for once instead of himself on screen. Mila Kunis as Mona Sax wasn't the best casting in the world, but Mila proves that it wasn't the worst casting either. There isn't as much depth to her in the film as there was in the game.
As an adaptation, the Max Payne film is very different from the game in pretty much every aspect besides the tone and the characterizations. Once again, all I wanted was the tone to be right, and I got what I wanted. Though the noir aspect of the game is somewhat lacking (I missed Max's inner monologue so much), I still found it to be the dark and effective thriller that the game was. A brooding performance from Wahlberg and a matching score only add to the film. Stunning visuals, engineered by the fictional hallucinogenic drug in the film, in addition to the dark cinematography, steal attention away from the fact that the film's editing is subpar.
I have to bring to life the fact that Max Payne is not an action movie at heart. It is a mystery film with some action scenes (and some very well done visual effects). The game may have been a shoot 'em up style game, but I know that you can't do this on film and expect to be taken seriously, which Max Payne should be.
At it's core, Max Payne, despite a lot of changes from the game, remains the dark, story driven thriller that I've loved for a good part of my life. I'm proud of the film as a die hard fan of the game, and respect it for what it is as a film by itself. I'm satisfied, and not disappointed. For those who haven't played the game, Max Payne is an effective mystery film that is driven by the main character and the exposition around him. For those who will inevitably complain about a lack of action sequences, wake up and realize that Moore & company got the tone right, at the expense of necessary cuts.
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