(2008)2.5Cammila CollarVideo-game adaptations have a deservedly bad reputation, probably because most of them suck. The heart of the problem is probably the fact that you're basing your screen-story on something created in a medium where story isn't really necessary. Max Payne, however, finds a loophole in this conundrum, because it's a movie based on a game that was already sort of based on movies.
The video game of Max Payne is mostly just your basic third-person shooter -- the way it defines itself is through its modern-noir style. That's the key element that the movie ran with, and as a result, it isn't half bad. It's your basic hardboiled detective story, in which the titular hero strives tirelessly to solve the mystery of why his wife and child were murdered years before. The past is shown in golden-hued images of happy sunlight, while everything pictured in the present day is depicted in blue-filtered New York winter bleakness. Mark Wahlberg is more or less perfect for the role of a tough-guy rogue cop, and over the course of his super-gritty two-hour adventure, he gets to stoically stare down the barrel of a drug ring, the Russian Bond girl from Quantum of Solace, a big pharmaceutical conspiracy, and Mila Kunis pointing a gun at his head in a dark alley (imagine the voice of Meg Griffin telling you to put your hands above your head).
For a movie of its type, Max Payne is a little short on excitement and heavy on pathos, and there are lots of scenes where you can't believe people (namely Beau Bridges) are still talking. But when the action sequences happen, things get flat-out ridiculous, with fantastically crazy scenes where Wahlberg takes out fully armored, machine-gun-toting SWAT team members with nothing but a handgun and a European-style leather jacket. In the end, you can't really discount the fact that as action movies, neo-noir films, and video-game adaptations go, Max Payne is pretty cool -- and definitely not like anything else. It's not exactly an amazing movie, but it unquestionably breaks the curse laid down by its predecessors (okay, mostly by Uwe Boll).
Rockstar Games' double-gunned action franchise comes to the big screen thanks to director John Moore (The Omen) and Mark Wahlberg, who embodies the title character of Max Payne, a widowed cop hell-bent on delivering justice no matter what the cost as he investigates a string of killings in his city. Mila Kunis and Chris O'Donnell head up the supporting cast, with Beau Thorne adapting the screenplay for the 20th Century Fox production.