"Max Payne" offers maximum pain along with minimum invention, and the only thing that keeps it out of the bottom of
the Dumpster -- it's more of a top-of-the-Dumpster movie -- is the presence of Mark Wahlberg, who really ought
to line himself up a good project soon, to mitigate the grief inflicted by "The Happening" and now this joyless,
joystickless adaptation of the 2001 video game.
I admit it: If an action film strains to impress an audience, over and over, with slow-motion first-person
kill shots, I am not likely to be impressed. But even the target demographic for "Max Payne," the ones who spent
untold hours working their way through the game, may well resist director John Moore's film.
It's sluggish as well as hard on the eyes (interiors and exteriors share the same hot, flat, blue-gray schmutzy
lighting -- stylized in the least imaginative ways).
"I don't believe in heaven," Wahlberg says in voice-over in the opening seconds, audibly scowling the scowl he wears
throughout. "I believe in pain." Let the games begin!
The plot is essentially a series of "rooms" to be entered so that Payne can lock, load, kill and relock and reload and
kill again, and then go back to searching for the scumbag who murdered his wife and daughter. The back story relates to a
military experiment gone wrong (first time in the history of cinema!) involving a bright-blue liquid drug, Valkyrie, which
gives the user/instant addict the sensation of invincibility and the fierce fighting spirit of the meanest Norse
mythological gods around.
The movie "Max Payne" climaxes with Mark Wahlberg taking the drug in order to clean up the mess and take out the
trash, and the message is pretty simple: Cool drug, no? Honestly, you find yourself rooting against Payne's survival,
even with a good actor in the hollow role. There's nothing inside the film's sour, slovenly spirit of vengeance. It's
as not-there as the fake digital snow falling all over Manhattan.
Initially, "Max Payne" was rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. Director Moore, whose film may be more
dull than offensive but is offensive nonetheless, won the appeal, and presto: PG-13, and now 8-year-olds can check it out,
or else wait for the "gamer dedicated cut" (hard R, most likely) due in a few months on DVD.
"I'm surprised we eventually did get away with what we did get away with," Moore told gamedaily.com. Meantime,
"Rachel Getting Married" snags an R for a handful of harsh words. The clowns at the MPAA continue to put the bull
in "double standard."
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for violence including intense shooting sequences, drug content, some sexuality and brief strong language).
Running time: 1:40.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg (Max Payne); Mila Kunis (Mona Sax); Olga Kurylenko (Natasha); Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (Jim Bravura); Beau Bridges (B.B.).
Directed by John Moore; written by Beau Thorne, based on the video game; photographed by Jonathan Sela; edited by Dan Zimmerman; music by Marco Beltrami; production design by Daniel Dorrance; produced by Moore, Julie Yorn and Scott Faye. A 20th Century Fox release.
Max Payne Movie Trailer
About the Movie "Max Payne"
Based on the legendary, hard-hitting interactive video game, the movie Max Payne tells the story of a maverick cop
determined to track down those responsible for the brutal murder of his family and partner. Hell-bent on
revenge, his obsessive investigation takes him on a nightmare journey into a dark underworld. As the mystery
deepens, Max (Mark Wahlberg) is forced to battle enemies beyond the natural world and face an unthinkable
Max Payne is a maverick cop - a mythic anti-hero - determined to track down those responsible for the brutal murders of his family and partner. Hell-bent on revenge, his obsessive investigation takes him on a nightmare journey into a dark underworld. As the mystery deepens, Max is forced to battle enemies beyond the natural world and face an unthinkable betrayal.
Oscar« nominee Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) stars as Max Payne, a man who has little regard for rules - and nothing to lose - as he investigates a series of mysterious murders that could be tied to the death of his wife and child. But there are massive forces, both real and beyond imagination, that are conspiring to keep the devastating truth hidden - and Max forever silenced.
Joining Wahlberg in MAX PAYNE are Mila Kunis as Mona Sax, a beautiful Russian mobster and assassin; Olga Kurylenko (who stars in the upcoming James Bond film Quantum of Solace) as Natasha, Mona's thrill-seeking younger sister; Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as Internal Affairs Detective Jim Bravura; and Beau Bridges as Max's mentor, B.B.
MAX PAYNE is directed by John Moore (The Omen, Behind Enemy Lines) from a screenplay by Beau Thorne, a recent graduate of the University of Texas film program. The film is produced by Julie Yorn (Bride Wars), Scott Faye and John Moore.
"This film is not 'Minimum Payne. And it's not 'Medium Payne'. It's Max Payne," sums up director John Moore, of his new motion picture, which Moore envisioned as a neo noir action-thriller that straddles a knife-edge between reality and the unreal. And Moore, a gifted visual stylist, should know. His use of subjective camera in the film - putting us directly in Max's world and in his head, as well as the use of state-of-the-art slow-motion cameras - hurtles audiences, along with Max, on a roller-coaster ride of action, thrills, mystery and startling, supernatural-tinged imagery.
But long before Moore started pushing things to the "max," the videogame "Max Payne" had its global debut in 2001; a sequel game, "Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne," followed in 2003. Critics and fans lauded the game's stylish choreography and cinematic nature; the game's dark, edgy scenes and slow-motion gunfights played out like a graphic novel with film noir influences. Few games translate well to the big screen, but from its inception it seemed as though the story of the hard-boiled cop out for revenge was destined to be played out on the big screen.
Says producer Julie Yorn: "The 'Max Payne' videogame was developed by people who were passionate about film. From the noir-style cinematography to its characters and dialogue, the game had major cinematic influences and the material transcended the typical videogame experience."
Nevertheless, the filmmakers faced formidable challenges in bringing MAX PAYNE to the big screen. "You think the adaptation process is going to be really straightforward when there's such a clear story and back story in the game," says Yorn. "But when you get into it you realize that you have to find a way to make the film distinct and different from the game while still respecting its unique style and spirit."
About the Cast "Max Payne"
MARK WAHLBERG (Max Payne)
MARK WAHLBERG (Max Payne) was most recently seen in The Happening, a thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan, released by Twentieth Century Fox. Earlier this year, he starred in We Own the Night, also serving as a producer. Wahlberg also recently appeared in director Martin Scorsese's The Departed for which he received Best Supporting Actor nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hollywood Foreign Press. He also starred in Antoine Fuqua's thriller Shooter, the football biopic Invincible with Greg Kinnear, and John Singleton's Four Brothers.
Upcoming is The Lovely Bones, based on the acclaimed best-selling novel, directed by Peter Jackson.
Wahlberg has also enjoyed playing diverse characters for such visionary filmmakers as David O. Russell, Tim Burton, and Paul Thomas Anderson. His remarkable career began with Penny Marshall's Renaissance Man and The Basketball Diaries, followed by a star turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in Fear. His breakout performance in Boogie Nights established Wahlberg as one of Hollywood's most sought after talents. He later headlined Three Kings and The Perfect Storm with George Clooney, and The Italian Job with Charlize Theron.
In addition Wahlberg is the executive producer of HBO's Entourage for which he received three Golden Globe┬« nominations, and most recently garnered seven Emmy┬« nominations.
A committed philanthropist, he founded the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, which benefits inner-city youth.
Emerging as one of Hollywood's most sought after and engaging young actresses, Russian-born MILA KUNIS (Mona Sax) has rapidly ascended into major television and motion picture roles.
Kunis was most recently seen on the big screen in Judd Apatow's hit comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, playing Rachael opposite Jason Segal, Kirsten Bell and Jonah Hill.
After learning to speak English at the age of seven, Kunis started her career in entertainment by landing several television commercials. She is best known for her roles on two of Fox's most successful shows, one of which is That '70s Show, playing Jackie Burkhardt, which earned her two Young Star Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series.
Additionally, she recently earned a Young Hollywood Award from Movieline magazine for the "One to Watch." She is also the voice of Meg on the hit Fox show Family Guy. Her other television credits include Seventh Heaven and Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher. Kunis starred as the young Gia on HBO's critically acclaimed and award-winning film, Gia.
Kunis' feature film credits include: American Psycho II: All American Girl; Get Over It; Krippendorf's Tribe; Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves; Boot Camp; Tony N' Tina's Wedding; After Sex; Tom 51; Santa with Muscles; and Make a Wish, Molly.
BEAU BRIDGES (B. B. Hensley)
BEAU BRIDGES (B. B. Hensley) is an award-winning actor who has portrayed a myriad of characters during his successful career spanning more than four decades. Part of a preeminent Hollywood acting dynasty, he started at a young age and has worked virtually non-stop in his profession ever since.
Bridges lent his voice for the documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which received a 2008 Academy Award┬« nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Last year, he completed work on the films Stargate: The Arc of Truth and Stargate: Continuum, based on the popular SciFi Channel drama Stargate SG1, in which he played General Hank Landry.
Also last year, he guest starred on NBC's hit comedy My Name is Earl as Carl, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. In addition, Bridges filmed the independent features Don't Fade Away, Americanizing Shelley, and Spinning into Butter.
In 2006, he appeared in the feature films The Good German from director Steven Soderbergh, and in the live action/animated remake of Charlotte's Web. In 2005, Bridges co-starred in the Steven Spielberg-produced mini-series Into the West, which was nominated for a Golden Globe award; in the critically hailed independent films The Ballad of Jack and Rose, written and directed by Rebecca Miller, and Smile written and directed by Jeff Kramer.
In 2004, Bridges appeared in the biopic Evel Knievel for TNT, and as the U.S. president in the NBC mini-series 10.5 about a deadly earthquake that hit the West Coast. Bridges reprised his role in the sequel 10.5: Apocalypse, which aired on NBC in 2006.
In 2003, Bridges starred in Showtime's Out of the Ashes, based on Gisella Perl's autobiographical novel, I Was a Doctor at Auschwitz. He was also seen on the popular WB series Everwood. Bridges joined the CBS series The Agency when it premiered in the fall of 2001 and returned to star in the second season in 2002 and 2003.
Bridges earned a 2002 Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role as Michael Mulvaney in the Lifetime original movie We Were the Mulvaneys.
In 1999, he starred as Phineas Taylor Barnum, the legendary showman who transformed the circus from a one-ring juggling act to a three-ring spectacle in A&E's original production P.T. Barnum. Beau's son Jordan portrayed young P.T. Barnum, marking the first time father and son have played the same character in a film. The biopic garnered Bridges a 2000 Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Also in 1999, Bridges received and Emmy nomination for his work in Showtime's new production of Inherit the Wind, opposite Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott.
In 1997, Bridges received his third Emmy Award for his portrayal of Governor Farley of Idaho in HBO's The Second Civil War, a black comedy about race relations, rebellion, and the American dream run amok. In 1996, Bridges starred in a hard-hitting drama for Showtime, Hidden in America. He received lead actor nominations for both the Emmy Award and SAG Award(tm) for his portrayal of a family man who finds himself without a job and struggling to feed his children after his company downsizes and his wife's untimely death leaves the family penniless. Also in 1996, Bridges starred as Richard Nixon in TNT's Kissinger & Nixon for which he received an Emmy nomination as Best Actor in a Miniseries or Special. He also starred in Showtime's Losing Chase, which earned him a 1996 Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Made-For-Television.
In 1993, Bridges won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his supporting role opposite Holly Hunter in the HBO project The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom. He also starred in CBS' The Man with Three Wives, the highest rated television movie of the season.
Bridges starred in the critically acclaimed HBO film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, for which he won the Emmy, Golden Globe and Cable ACE Awards in 1991.
Bridges made his feature film debut in The Red Pony with Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy. In 1967 Bridges played his first adult role in The Incident. He next costarred with Sidney Poitier in For Love of Ivy, and portrayed a cub reporter in Norman Jewison's Gaily, Gaily. Bridges starred in the late Hal Ashby's first film, The Landlord, and then teamed with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Hammersmith is Out.
He also had major roles in the features Child's Play, The Other Side of the Mountain, Greased Lightning, and Norma Rae.
His film work also includes the independent features Sordid Lives, Meeting Daddy with Lloyd Bridges, Honky-tonk Freeway, Night Crossing, Heart Like a Wheel, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Killing Time, Iron Triangle, Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will?, Married to It and The Fabulous Baker Boys, for which he was named Best Supporting Actor by the National Society of Film Critics in 1989.
Bridges' eighty-plus television credits include The Fugitive, an Amazing Stories episode directed by Clint Eastwood, a Sea Hunt with his father, Lloyd Bridges, Harts of the West, Beggars and Choosers and Maximum Bob. He also starred with his father and son Dylan in The Sand Kings, the debut episode of the Showtime series, Outer Limits. For his performance, Bridges received Emmy and CableAce nominations for Best Actor.
His television films and specials include Sightings: Heartland Ghost, Voyage of the Unicorn, The Christmas Secret, Songs In Ordinary Time, The Haunting of Patricia Johnson, A Stranger to Love, Nightjohn, Million Dollar Babies, Wildflower, Elvis & the Colonel: The Untold Story, UFO Cafe, The Four Feathers, The Man Without a Country, The President's Mistress, Behind the Iron Mask, Witness for the Prosecution, The Child Stealers, Stubby Pringle's Christmas, James A. Michener's Space, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt, and he acted in and executive produced three installments of Showtime's The Defenders, a series of telefilms based on the original 1960s CBS series.
Bridges directed the films The Wild Pair and Seven Hours to Judgment, and the TV film Secret Sins of the Father, starring Lloyd Bridges and Beau's son Jordan. He also directed Jordan in Thanksgiving Promise, the highest-rated Disney television film ever broadcast at that time. His after-school special Don't Touch was nominated for an Emmy.
Bridges appeared on Broadway in Where's Daddy? by William Inge, and Who's Who in Hell by Peter Ustinov. His most recent theater work was in Ron Lagomarsino's play Looking for Normal at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Bridges also appeared in the original production of The Trial of the Catonsville Nine at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
CHRIS 'LUDACRIS' BRIDGES
CHRIS 'LUDACRIS' BRIDGES (Jim Bravura) earned the acclaim of both critics and audiences for his performance in the Oscar-winning Best Picture Crash, also sharing in both Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics' Choice Awards as part of the ensemble cast. In the following year, he co-starred in the breakout hit Hustle & Flow and shared a SAG Award nomination with the cast, for Best Ensemble. Bridges made his feature film acting debut in 2003 with the action film 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Upcoming for Bridges is the sci-fi thriller Game, which reunites him with Gerard Butler, with whom Bridges starred in the recent film RockNRolla.
On television, Bridges guest-starred in a special two-part episode of NBC's hit drama series Law & Order: SVU. The critically acclaimed episode drew rave reviews and such a huge audience that his character was brought back the following year for the season finale.
In addition, Bridges is a Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum recording artist and one of the most recognized names in popular music today. His music has been featured in several movie and television soundtracks, including ATL, The Longest Yard, Hitch, Taxi, Shark Tale, You Got Served, Hollywood Homicide, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Cradle 2 the Grave, Rush Hour 2, The Fast and the Furious, The Wire and One Tree Hill.
As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bridges is CEO of Disturbing Tha Peace Records, a label that is home to some of the top-selling artists in R&B and Hip Hop, and is founder of The Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to connecting with young people and helping them build economic development within their local areas while strategically building alliances with nationally recognized charitable organizations (such as his work with National Teenage Runaway Switchboard and The Motion Picture & Television Fund).
OLGA KURYLENKO (Natasha)
OLGA KURYLENKO (Natasha) was born in the Ukraine. At the age of 16, she moved to Paris to pursue a career in acting which ran alongside a very successful career as a model in Paris, Milan, New York and London.
Last year, Kurylenko had a starring role in the Twentieth Century Fox release Hitman, opposite Timothy Olyphant. In January 2008, Kurylenko was cast as the female lead in the latest James Bond, Quantum of Solace, which is directed by Marc Forster. Kurylenko stars alongside Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench and Mathieu Almaric.
Her feature film debut came in Diane Bertrand's L'Annulaire, in which she played the lead role of Iris. She followed this with a role in Paris Je T'aime, the high-profile independent film in which a cooperative of acclaimed international directors told their own short stories about each district of Paris. Paris Je T'aime premiered in Cannes in the summer of 2006.
Also in 2006, Kurylenko played Sofia in Eric Barbier's acclaimed thriller Le Serpent in which she co-starred with French luminaries Yvan Attal, Clovis Cornillac and Pierre Richard.
On French television, multi-lingual Kurylenko appeared in the mini-series Suspectes and the drama The Good Luck Charm.
AMAURY NOLASCO (Jack Lupino)
AMAURY NOLASCO (Jack Lupino) is best known to audiences as Sucre on the hit Fox television series Prison Break. He was last seen on the big screen in the 2007 blockbuster Transformers, in Street Kings opposite Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker, and in Armored, opposite Matt Dillon along with Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno.
Nolasco, a native of Puerto Rico, studied biology at the University of Puerto Rico. Initially, he intended to enroll in medical school and become a doctor, but he was approached by a director and immediately cast in his first television commercial. After several acting gigs, Nolasco moved to New York, where he trained at the American British Dramatic Arts School. Classically trained in Shakespearean drama, the young actor focused on dialect technique, character work and stage presence.
Shortly thereafter, Nolasco began guest-starring on such television shows as Arli$$, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and E.R. He garnered his first supporting role in a studio film as Orange Julius in 2 Fast 2 Furious. He went on to co-star opposite Bernie Mac in Mr. 3000, and opposite Rob Schneider and David Spade in The Benchwarmers.
Nolasco's additional television credits include guest-starring roles on George Lopez, Eve, and CSI: NY.
CHRIS O'DONNELL (Jason Colvin)
CHRIS O'DONNELL (Jason Colvin) was most recently seen in HBO Films' acclaimed family drama, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Previous to this, he starred in the Golden Globe and Critic's Choice nominated TNT mini series, The Company. O'Donnell also recently starred as veterinarian Dr. Finn Dandridge aka "Dr. McVet" in the Golden Globe-winning drama Grey's Anatomy.
O' Donnell made his motion picture debut with a critically acclaimed performance as Jessica Lange's rebellious son in the Paul Brickman feature, Men Don't Leave, followed by a memorable cameo in Jon Avnet's Academy Award nominated Fried Green Tomatoes, and the romantic drama Mad Love opposite Drew Barrymore.
In 1993, O' Donnell was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Chicago Film Critics Award for his starring role opposite Al Pacino in the multiple Academy Award-winning Scent of a Woman, directed by Marty Brest. He then played swashbuckling D'Artagan in The Three Musketeers, for which he was named the NATO/ShoWest Male Star of Tomorrow in 1994.
O' Donnell adopted an Irish dialect to star in the romantic comedy sleeper, Circle Of Friends, and won over audiences world wide with his stand-out performance as Robin in the highest grossing film of 1995, Batman Forever.
Other film credits include the independent drama The Sisters, the Golden Globe nominated film Kinsey, the action thriller Vertical Limit, and the romantic comedy The Bachelor. Additional film work includes the legal thriller The Chamber, the period romance In Love and War, and Robert Altman's critically acclaimed comedy Cookie's Fortune.
Broadway credits include a staring role in Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck, opposite Samantha Mathis.
Max Payne Movie Review Film Critic Michael Phillips Tasha Robinson Robert Abele Reviews Max Payne Max Payne Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Olga Kurylenko, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Beau Bridges
Max Payne Movie Review, Movie Trailer, Movie Production Notes, Synopsis, About the Movie, About the Cast