Movie Review Rewind: Max Payne (2009)
Movies that are based off of video games usually fall flat. However, there are some that do the game justice. Silent Hill and Doom were well made and represented the games pretty well. Max Payne does the video game well. I own the video game and have played it. By the game’s standards, this movie should have been rated R. It is watered down to get that PG-13 rating so it could have a wide range of an audience. Even so, the movie does deliver some action scenes, but mostly provides a violent and gritty detective story.
Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a detective whose family has been murdered and he sets out on revenge. The whole story centers on Payne trying to get leads and find people and clues so he can avenge his wife and child’s death. You’re given this kind of dark and depressing world that Payne lives in, mostly in the dark with faded colors. It’s practically black and white. This had to be a conscience decision for the director to shoot the movie this way in order to show how cold Payne’s world is. It definitely sets the tone for this whole movie.
Now of course the star of this movie is Wahlberg, who plays the title’s character. It takes a big name to star in a movie like this because his character is the movie. I think it’s the same reason you have George Clooney playing Michael Clayton in Michael Clayton. You need that star power to drive the movie, especially if that specific character is going to be in almost every scene. Now maybe I shouldn’t have compared those two movies because Clayton is way better. But Wahlberg is a great actor and he does get some respect back that he lost for doing The Happening.
Wahlberg is really good at portraying the tough guy that doesn’t give a damn. We have seen this before in movies like Four Brothers and The Departed. Great casting on the movie’s part because Wahlberg is a huge help to making this entertaining. And if he was not in it, there’s no way Max Payne would be successful and may be considered more of a joke. But with the attitude he brings and the good acting he is capable of, this gamer actioner comes off as a good murder mystery that may not even need the video game background to be a good movie. Not a great one, but a good one.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.