The alternate version of Porter getting his money back
Payback revisited and a whole new ending. I wanna get this off to begin with; I really like the original cut. It's been circulating for years that it was the result of studio tinkering and the director wasn't all that pleased with the final version. Given that many films suffer similar fate and with disastrous results I thought maybe Payback was the exception.
Gone here is the blue bleach filter look, a lot of the music score which has been filled in with new cues, some alternate scenes throughout and some excised and a whole new final act. Everything is good here. I liked Porter's confrontation with his wife (brutal and uncompromising), the music score does help in giving it a darker tone and the new ending is fitting.
But I must say that the difference in quality between this Director's Cut and the original theatrical one isn't huge. Call me crazy but I actually miss Mel's voice over and I thought the bluish look suited the film. The humour has been downsized drastically and Porter's mean side has been fleshed out a bit more, which is good by the way. I just don't think one can be called great and the other crap.
The film plays more like a direct homage to the old 70's crime flicks and as the director explains that was what he was going for. The original does feel a bit lighter but that wasn't maybe such a bad thing. This darker version leaves more unanswered as to how Porter got back from the dead (but probably everyone has already seen the theatrical cut so they already know) and is more understated and mood driven.
To sum it up; Payback: Straight Up is an excellent companion piece to a first rate film. It's good to see director Helgeland's cut restored to his liking and it thoroughly deserves to be seen. Now fans can pop the film in the player that best suits their mood. The original a bit lighter and the latter more moody. It doesn't go wrong either way.
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