Based on the 2001 videogame of the same name, Max Payne (John Moore, 2008) stars Mark Wahlberg (The Happening, The Departed) as Max Payne, and Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, That ‘70s Show) as Mona Sax. Max is a DEA agent trying to find the murderer of his family, and Mona is an assassin wanting revenge on those who killed her sister, team up against a common enemy while avoiding the police and the mob.
Being the stereotypical action movie, there are not many comments to be made about the acting, as it was fairly straightforward. It was refreshing to see Mila Kunis in something other than a comedy. She does a mean assassin and looked stunning doing it. Mark Wahlberg’s performance seemed a little flat. Perhaps he wasn’t really into the role. Beau Bridges and Ludacris help round out the cast.
The film had some decent special effects, but none that really fit the film. John Moore appears to have created a hodgepodge of cliché action-film shots, like bullet time and overt CGI. These effects did very little to further the plot, and appeared to be executed with slightly less care than required by other films. I have not played the video game, and maybe I’d appreciate the film more if I had, but regardless, the film should be able to stand on its own, and this one barely manages.
The plot is disjointed and at times it is downright contradictory. There is one ‘twist’ and it is not as a big a twist as John Moore probably intended. All in all it is a mildly entertaining action film, and is good for a night out at the movies, or to watch on DVD with the family, but it has very little substance. Unfortunately, while this movie is decent, it isn’t decent enough to warrant the sequel proposed at the close of the film.
© Nate Phillipps 2008