Max Payne (2008)

I actually thought this was OK. Bring on the hate mail….

Mark Wahlberg stars as title character Max Payne in this gritty noir crime thriller that centers on an undercover New York City DEA agent (Mila Kunis) who teams up with a female assassin to avenge the murder of her family.

I have always loved Max Payne the video games. In all honesty, they are probably my two favorite games, because it’s one of the first games to keep me playing, with a compelling story, suspense, and plenty, and I do mean, plenty of action. And as much as this film gets a lot of crap, for being crappy as anything, I will say it is entertaining, and for a true fan, like myself, I at least enjoyed it.

The main reason this film does disappoint is because, it has many differences from the video game itself. Although, they got the main jiff of the story down, which isn’t too hard to do in the first place, but there are other elements to the story that this film seems like it’s forgetting. People, who are not familiar with the game, will not understand that his family is killed, mainly because it is shown in the middle of the film, rather than in the beginning, and people are killed off, earlier than in the game.

Also, I got really annoyed by how the film at first was about this guy trying to find out who his family’s killer was, but then it suddenly turns into a film about these crazy drugs, that make people go mad, and see weird demon shit. Speaking of that weird demon shit, they really got on my nerves. In the game, they are mentioned a lot, but you never see them, and they don’t get involved with the story. However, with this film, they couldn’t get enough of these bastards in this film, and that is the main thing that annoyed me.

The film is also not as action-packed as one might expect from playing the game, or from seeing the trailers, but when their is action, it’s exciting, just like the game. Of course, there’s also the very famous “bullet time” sequence, and although it is a bit crappy, I must say, I still liked how they put it in there, and made it reasonable. This film also held my attention, because of it’s really great-to-look-at visuals. The snow, rain, constant colors hitting the screen, all look great and add more to the film, even when it is totally bland.

Mark Wahlberg tries his best with this film. He plays Max Payne well, mainly because Max originally didn’t have many emotions, so Wahlberg plays him, with not too many emotions, but isn’t terribly bland. Mila Kunis was laughable as an assassin, so she was basically not believable at all. Beau Bridges does a good job with the material he’s given, so its a good performance by him. Chris O’Donnell, Ludacris, and Donal Logue show up in this film too, and well their just whatever with this film.

I will say that I was excited to see this film when it first came out, back in 2008. And I did see it then, I thought it was OK, but that was before my time of movie reviewing days, now that I know what I like in movies, I never thought I’d still like this. I think that this film will, hopefully be re-done by somebody new, with a whole new everything hopefully, cause in all honesty, this could make a great movie one of these days. And I will be the first one to see that happen, or I can only hope.

Consensus: It may not be a great film by any stretch, with plenty of differences from it’s original source material, but Max Payne is entertaining enough to satisfy a loyal Max Payne video game lover, as well as anybody looking for stylized action.



  1. Been some time since I dropped over to say hello and caught this review in my rss reader, thought I’d chime in. I like this movie and disliked it for a lot of the same reasons as your review. I think Wahlberg was OK here, much the way Harrison Ford worked in the first Indiana Jones movie and in Star Wars – His flat, otherwise stiff emotional and psychological deliver is kept in pace with the construct of the character – in short, he isn’t asked to become a well rounded, emotionally believable person on screen and for that it works. Oh, also the same with Keanu Reeves and The Matrix – he was perfect for all the reasons he fails in other roles, though admittedly he was great in K. Bigelow’s Point Break, perhaps in line with his first and I would argue his best role in Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho which came way, way before any stardom. That said, and back to your review, you make some great points about the narrative structure falling apart and the loose ends that I would gather are inherent in just about every comic book/video game/theme park ride adaptation. Also of note are your thoughts on the rest of the cast.


  2. I saw this one at a drive-in and my battery died so we lost the audio and couldn’t get a jump till the movie was over, but we didn’t really care because the movie just wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

  3. I loved the first Payne-game, was underwhelmed by the second and hated the movie. For a story that relies so heavily on scenery, atmosphere and a twisted storyline in noir style this movie fell short on every front, cause they didn’t have the guts to take the game and make it a movie, but too little imagination to come up with new ideas and make them work in the context of the Payne-storyline.

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