Plot Synopsis and Review by Rant
[Title Reference] It’s the main character’s name and a warning as to how much damage it will cause to your brain cells.
[Director] John Moore (He directed the remake of FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, need I say Moore?)
[Main Hero] Det. Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) [Sidekick] Mona Sax (Mila Kunis)
[Villain(s)] BB Hensley (Beau Bridges) and Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco)
The film starts out like a black and grey shaded opening of THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. We see Max sinking in an icy river, about to sleep with, amongst other things, my hopes of this being a good movie. A voice-over accompanies and I can’t be sure, but it sounds like he is reading off some of Marilyn Manson’s song lyrics:
“I don’t believe in heaven—I believe in pain”
“I believe in fear—I believe in death”
“There’s an army of bodies under this river… [baby crying]”
“…they’ll find me on the bottom with the rest of them—there won’t be anyone left to say I was different.”
“I could feel the dead down there—just below my feet—reaching up to welcome be as one of their own.”
Max is struggling at first, but quickly gives up, opting instead to blackout, have some mini-flashbacks of a baby’s room and drown. My Hero. Will he get out?! Well, looks like we’ll have to wait and see! FlashBacK AttacK!
[ONE WEEK EARLIER]
INT. POLICE STATION – DAY
(NOT THAT YOU CAN TELL, AS EVERYTHING WILL BE TINTED IN A DARK BLUE COLOR PALLET)
They introduce non-drowning Max with the ‘New Guy on The Force’ getting the tour of the Cold Case Department. The old haggard cop giving the tour introduces New Guy to Max. New Guy asks, “What do you say we grab a beer after work or something?” Max says “ …”. New Guy asks Old Cop, “So what‘s his story?” Tour Guy says “There is none…” “His wife and Kid were murdered—they never found the guy.” Now, I can’t be sure, but that to me sounds like it has the possibilities of being a story—I’m just saying.
So, just like the game, Max has a chip on his shoulder about the death of his hot meal cooker and future lawn-mower, only in this movie version, he hasn’t moved on to the DEA to take on the Mob. Nope. Like a C-List TV actor, Maxy Max is workin’ a dead end job in the dark underground world of police filing. And for some reason, he needs a gun to do this. The next scene kinda clears this up though. After work, Max’s hobbies include: Cleaning His Gun – Thinking About His Dead Wife – And Cruising Subway Stations For The Dregs Of Society Like Paul Kersey, Making Sure Though To Not Appear Even Close To As Cool As Charlie Bronson.
Max baits and catches some junkies in a subway men’s room. There are three of them. In a less than thrilling scene, Max elbows one, one runs off and as for the third, Max shows him a picture of his wife and asks in a round about way if he killed her. The junkie is trippin’ bawls though and just starts talking nonsense about wings. Meanwhile, the guy that ran starts seeing winged shadows and gets hit by a train. Max’s next stop: a high-rise coke party.
At his snitch’s loft Max asks for a new name, but is interrupted by the druggie skank from another video game movie, HITMAN. Olga Kurylenko plays a hot Russian named Natasha—a druggie skank. You know what, originality is overrated anyways. She does have a couple differing aspects though, this time her random tattoo is on her arm and the drugs she takes cause random CG Angels to fly out of the shadows and into the camera effectively blocking any sort of violence or mayhem they may or may not be causing. Oh yeah, she is also the sister of Mona Sax, played by the annoying girl from THAT ‘70‘S SHOW. You know the one. Max meets her at the party too.
Mona wears leather, has an entourage of bouncers and authoritatively demands that her sister leave with her. She fails. I think we are supposed to believe that she’s an uber Bad-Ass. Problem is, it is not only hard to believe that the voice of Meg Griffin is intimidating or cool, but it is also unintentionally funny, to a payneful degree. I got nothing against Mila Kunis, I’m sure I rubbed one or two out to her back in day, but she is NOT a Bad-Ass. She needs to stick to her strengths, which are largely just standing around and looking pretty. That is her talent. And this is not something to be ashamed of. Shit, A LOT of people, myself included, couldn’t pull this off. But, for fuck’s sake, DON’T give her speaking roles in your film if you want them to be taken seriously.
Max also bumps into this guy.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again later.
Max takes NAH-TAH-SHAH home to his ill-maintained loft after noticing a tattoo of a wing on her hand. It is important to mention that he notices it as he later somehow manages to NOT piece it together with his wife’s case. Natasha makes some insensitive comments about Max’s love life and this, combined with an unspoken rational fear of contracting copious amounts of STD’s, have Max kicking the bitch to the curb. It is an alley away from this proverbial curb that the spooky looking tattooed meathead from the party spots her and some CG angels fly at the screen leaving us to believe that Natasha is either dead or around the corner getting an espresso and laughing off the silly special effects. I don’t know, ‘cuz the fucking shadows flew into the God Damned camera. Guess we’ll find out later.
Next Day. Hey! My assumption was correct, the bitch done died. And guess who’s wallet was found at the scene of the justice? (Note: I switched the end of the phrase around to say ‘justice’ instead of ‘crime’, just throwing that one out there in case someone missed how glad I am that her character won’t be back to plague me any longer. Thank you.) Max is told about the incident by his ex-partner Alex (Donal Logue from BLADE), whom Max hates for never solving his wife’s murder. My question is, what was Max doing during that time? You know what they say, every time you point a finger…
A little while later, Alex is going over the pictures of Natasha’s corpse when, OMG! She has the same tattoo as one of the guys that killed Max’s wife! So, in an act to get back in ex-partner’s good graces, Alex books it over to Max’s house to deliver the good news. Too bad he too gets killed and Max arrives just in time to get his stupid ass kicked and sent to the hospital. Not that this is an action scene. No, no. There are ten or twelve super quick blurry shoots of Max hitting various walls as the screen flashes red instead of showing us who or what is doing the kicking. Just Like In The Game! Remember?
At the hospital we meet another new character named B.B. (Beau Bridges). He works security at Max’s spouse’s ex-place of business, some pharmaceutical company named Aesir. Hmm—I wonder how THAT ties in? Max leaves the hospital and heads over to B.B.’s office building. Nothing really interesting or crucial happens, but the filmmakers make sure to show us a very nervous looking Chris O’Donnell. Glad to see he can still get work.
After the funeral, Max meets ANOTHER new character, he works for internal affairs or some boring unnecessary shit, played by Ludicrous (2FAST 2FURIOUS). All you need to know about him is, he doesn’t trust Max and he is investigating the situation. Back at the precinct however, Max decides to actually move the plot forward. Breaking into his ex-partner’s desk, Max finds the info Alex intended to show him.
I’d Like To Point Out Just How Stupid They Must Think The Audience Is Here. Read What The Picture Says And TRY Not Feeling As Though Your Intelligence Has Been Insulted.
It appears that the tattoo on the dead skank’s arm matches one of the perps that killed his wife! Finally! The Two Cases Are Connected! But wait, um—wouldn’t Max have figured this shit out like, oh I don’t know? WHEN HE NOTICED THE GIRL WITH THE SAME TATTOO AS ONE OF HIS WIFE’S KILLERS TWO FUCKING DAYS AGO?! Remember when I mentioned that Max brought Natasha back to his house BECAUSE he saw her Tattoo? Yeah well, even though he identifies her by the SAME tattoo again the morning after her death, he STILL DOESN’T PUT IT TOGETHER! I want to refuse to believe that Max somehow didn’t remember the tattoo on his wife’s killer’s arm, but what other answer is there? A terrible memory? The guy is a fucking Detective! Plus, he only spends EVERY minute of EVERY day obsessing over the case. Why he could not link these two himself, I don’t fucking know, but Max finds this news to be a big breakthrough. This is BAD, BAD writing and at this point I am gone, man. Between the bad dialogue, stupid CG, altered storylines, plot holes, poor acting and lack of anything I’d define as violence or action—I officially have stopped giving a shit.
A brooding Max walks through the snowy streets of whatever city this takes place in and is confronted by Mona. She beats him about the face with a stick and asks about her dead whore of a sister. Max brings up the name Owen Green (the name of the person last called on Natasha’s phone) and Mona gets more pissed. Max talks her down and the two team up to find this Green guy. Turns out he is that guy that they kept showing in the trailer getting pulled out a window by a CG angel. So that happens. And he lands on a car like you see in action movies.
Owen had that same tattoo, so the duo’s next move brings them to a—you guessed it—tattoo parlor. The artist they find there explains that the wings are a Norse Valkyrie worn for protection with a voice that sounds like a demon-possessed Sam Elliot. These Max and Mona detective scenes are interplayed with Creepy Tattoo guy (not the Sam Elliot one, the guy from the party) as he brutally chops up a junkie with a machete. Which sounds cool, but the violence is all off-screen.
M&M split up at this point. Mona’s next stop is to meet with some guy named Lincoln. I guess he is some sort of Voodoo Gangster. Link tells Mona a bunch of silly end-of-the-world humbug and tells her that the Devil is a guy named Lupino (Creepy Tattoo Guy) and they can find him at Club Rag Na Rock.
Max on the other hand, has no idea what to do for his next move, so he decides to look through his wife’s old things (I have no idea how he got the foresight it would reveal something) and comes across some empty folders with her job’s logo on it and decides to get her supervisor’s name from B.B.. He does and proceeds to find the guy. It’s Chris O’Donnell and Max kicks his ass at the company’s building. Chris’s secretary, hearing the scuffle calls up B.B. who sends the company’s SWAT team. They intentionally kill O’Donnell just after he agrees to tell Max the whole conspiracy behind the “Valkyrie Murders”. Though in killing him, the man behind it all becomes quite clear—at least to anyone with half a brain. Max however, needs another 40 or so minutes to work it all out.
At this point we are over an hour into the picture and are treated with this landmark point in tolerance by receiving the film’s first action scene. This is the scene that they planed out and strategically placed to quell the non-believers, silence the fanboys and finally deliver the goods. In the scene, Max runs slow-mo in a straight line across the office floor, firing his gun over his head as the security force unleash a vendetta against glass. The result? Max tags 3 guards, all wearing full S.W.A.T. Kevlar, leaving me to assume they all survived, especially since 2 of them where only hit in extremities. Then, Get This!, Max jumps and shoots through a door. EnnnnD SceeN! The whole ordeal lasts about 30 seconds longer than what was shown in the trailer.
Max at least manages to make it out of this ordeal with a folder containing essentially everything that O’Donnell would have confessed to. We find out from a video the Boy Wonder had, that Max’s wife was working on a government contract to make a ‘super solider serum’ called Valkyr, that was supposed to make them all like Captain America. Turns out, this only worked on 1% of the people it was tested on and the rest were turned into hallucinating jerk-offs. Also on the video is a testimonial from Creepy Tattoo Guy saying how the drug kicks ass.
So, Max has his killer—well one of them. With a little aid from Miss Sax, Max heads to Lupino’s hideout to go clubbin’. Max busts into the club/Valkyr Processing Plant and proceeds to kill all FIVE of the henchmen! Yeah! We ain’t fuckin’ around no mo’ kiddies! Every time a guy is shot he flies backward as though he were on a pull-cable. Probably because, HE WERE ON A PULL CABLE. But whatever, this is part of the 2 or so minutes of actually fun footage in the entire flick. That is until henchman #5.
For this final kill-shot, the filmmakers decided to use a new form of slow-mo, called: SUPER SUPER SLOW-MO! I’m guessing here, I don’t know what the Hell they call it, but that’s what it is. During this laughable-ass scene, Max jumps backward with his shotgun to kill a would-be sniper on a catwalk above him. Thing is, the guy on the catwalk is packing a large sniper assault riffle and has Max dead in his scope-powered sights. The first bullet fired by the henchman misses Max by a hair, but then it gets fucking dumb. He fires 2 more shots, one right after the other and not only does he miss Max, (who has moved, due to the slow-mo, a millimeter) by a fucking HUGE margin. The bullets hit some table 3 or 4 feet from where Max is suspended in animation. I don’t get it? Maybe I’m not supposed to?
This Isn’t A Still-Frame, It’s The Whole Scene.
Well now, after that insane bloodbath of 5 guys on pulley systems, I can’t wait to see his fight with the Creepy Tattoo Guy. In the next room he gets his shot. As Max is surveying the room, a disgustingly sweaty Lupino drops from the rafters and beats up Max for about a 30 seconds. All looks bleak for Mr. Payne as Lupino overly elaborates his death blow and gets shot dead from the shadows by— MONA?—LUDACRIS?—THE CG ANGELS?—NO. IT’S B.B.! Yay, Max is saved!
On the way out, Max is K.O.’D by B.B.’s lead lackey. WwwwwWait!? What the fudge-sticks is goings on here?! If you are a complete moron as the filmmakers have been hoping, you did not see this coming. Though, if you happen to be one of those lucky people who have average perception skills and moderate intelligence, you—like me, are pinching the bridge of your nose and shaking your head in disbelief. The next 5 minutes features B.B. delivering his evil villain monologue.
Turns out, B.B. wanted to sell the Valkyr drug on the streets and Max’s wife found out—she just didn’t get around to telling anyone for some reason. OK, whatever. So, B.B. was the guy that got away. Now comes the clever frame-job. B.B. plants a couple vials of the drug on Max who manages to break away from being thrown in the film’s opening river, by—jumping in the river. The film has come full circle.
Back to Max as he sinks like my respect for Mark Walberg. What o’ what could make Max want to fight again? How about his dead loved ones appearing to tell him to not give up? That’s not cliché at all! So, Max swims to shore and in an effort to not freeze to death, takes the Valkyr from his pocket and dies in a hallucinogenic horror. NO! Turns out he is one of the 1% who transform into Super Soldiers! Who’d-A-Thunk it? Meanwhile, Ludicrous (remember him?) does something that actually moves the plot along and calls the FBI on B.B. Why you may ask, I’m not sure, I might have nodded out at some point.
B.B. and his goons make for their escape when—CLICKITY CLICK CLACK BOOM! Max shows up in the parking lot just in time to stop B.B. from escaping and kills 6 guys in rapid fire quick cuts making them fly backward as if in a high-powered wind tunnel. B.B. and his main henchman beat feet to the roof in an attempt to catch a helicopter ride to salvation.
Max follows suit and blasts 10 more guys, easily making this the most enjoyable, or rather ONLY enjoyable sequence in the film. However, it is almost ruined by Max’s dumb-ass angel hallucinations causing the scenery to burst into CG flame every other minute. Max takes a shotty blast from the last security guy and starts to wig the fuck out.
Somehow slipping past the FBI, Mona shows up just in time to save Max from the last remaining bad-guy in the room and the non-existent angels. Mona comforts Max and tell him ‘You NEED to finish this.’ Before handing him a gun to replace the one he dropped 1 foot from where he sits on the verge of tears. Mona takes off and shoots B.B.’s #1 henchman, who for some reason is setting up a bomb. She riddles him with bullets, but fails to kill him. He blows up one of the office floors before crapping out. It serves no purpose that I can think of, other than adding an explosion to the finale.
This all culminates a minute later on the helipad as Max confronts B.B., whose final words are something about getting to see the sun melt away the snow or something . Which brings me to something else that pissed me off. I have never been to New York, nor studied it’s weather patterns, but I was confused as all Hell during this flick. The movie takes place over the course of a week and judging from the decorations of several scenes, it is near Christmas. My problem is that in one scene there is 3 feet of snow on the ground and in the next there is none and a tropical rain is occurring, then another scene jump and the snow is back, then ANOTHER scene and it’s back to the rain with no snow—What the fuck is going on? Did half the week take place in the spring and the other in winter? Is there a fucking rip the space time continuum or are the filmmakers just hopelessly unconcerned with continuity? Within 30 seconds of the sun rising, all the snow is gone from the city and for the first time, the director has them use a bright color pallet. How artistic.
Anyways, one cold stare and a trigger squeeze later, B.B. is down in the massive PG-13 gore-fest of a bullet hole through his jacket. He dies bleeding chocolate syrup as the Feds arrive to take Max away. The End.
I guess there is a scene after the credits of Max and Mona hinting at going after B.B.’s boss or something. I never brought her up ‘cuz every scene with her just has her looking pissed and riding around in a limo and she never does anything that effects the plot. But maybe in part II! God help us.
[Bloodshed, Destruction and Chaos] Body Bags Filled: 33
When I watched this ‘movie’ the first time on the big screen, I wanted to walk out, but a friend of mine paid for the ticket and I figured it would be too rude to jet on his dime. God Dammit. But, the violence was as Kid-Friendly, as the pussified PG-13 rating would suggest. Now in re-tooling my review, I re-watched this pile on the UNRATED DVD. The difference? CG blood. All the guys that get shot or hit, now have a spray of red to accompany it. And I say this sincerely, it does help. There is also a bit more swearing, but it’s mostly from Ludicrous, so who cares.
As for inanimate object damage, holy shit. They got that down pack. Glass, plaster, wood, cars—they all get painted in bullets. The only problem I have here is that it all happens in the last 30 minutes of the film. Where was this shit during the rest of the movie? Trudging through the terrible screenplay would have been much more tolerable with an occasional action sequence.
[Chesticles and Testicles]
Olga Kurylenko takes off her shirt, but you don’t see her tits (something HITMAN actually did right). And there is some girl-on-girl kissing going on at the snitch’s party, but again this is a PG-13—so it’s all tame and forgettable.
[Epic Moment and Best One-Liner]
There isn’t much to pick from, so I have to go with the obvious final shoot-out. The DVD actually featured blood and Max gets in at least 1/87th of the kills from the game (around 12) and like I said above, it’s the only time I had fun watching this crap.
Since there is literally NO quotable dialogue in the movie, I’m going to have to go with this:
[Da Whole Business]
Let me first say, like so many others have, that I was a fan of the first MP game (I never played Part II, because by that time, GTA III had arrived and I was lost in the mayhem.) After all the hype and craziness of THE MATRIX, it was super fun to finally be able to blast legions of mindless street scum and corporate mob goons in glorious slow-mo. I bring up THE MATRIX, because to me, at that time, John Woo was just that guy that made FACE/OFF. A bad ass flick, but it didn’t blow my mind like his earlier work did when I watched it years later. So, to me, THE MATRIX was the Fuckin’ Shit and for some dumb-ass reason, they didn’t make a game when the iron was hot. But then there was Max. Ah, Max. I spent a good amount of hours blasting the shit out of countless drones, somewhere in my mind pretending I was The One. But, I digress. This rant is not about the game, MAX PAYNE. It is about the appropriately titled flick of the same name. I say this, however un-cleverly, because the ‘film’ was an uphill battle in futility. (By the way, it lost—hardcore)
This movie was pure and simple dog-shit and only succeeded in giving me about 3 minutes of “That-Was-Cool” pleasure, less kills than what you perform in the opening 2 minutes of the game and a handful of unintentionally funny moments. Not good Hollywood—not good.