Seven years after seeing his original vision butchered under studio interference as well as his star's, director Brian Helgeland finally was given the chance to piece together his director's cut under the name Payback: Straight Up. Along with reinstating the original third act, this version represents a return to the gritty world of '70s filmmaking that was the groundwork of the production up until Paramount got cold feet and ordered extensive reshoots. The story centers on Porter (Mel Gibson), a thief that is pulled into a heist by his old friend, Val (Brian De Palma regular Gregg Henry), who plans a double cross with Porter's wife, Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger) after showing her a photo of her husband in the arms of another girl (Maria Bello). As they're stealing $130,000 in laundered drug money from Chinese Triads, Lynn shoots Porter in the back and speeds away with Val and money in tow. What they didn't know is that Porter would come back looking for his cut, which has been used to pay off Val's mob debts so he could return to "The Syndicate." Helgeland, the screenwriter for L.A. Confidential and Mystic River, made his directing debut with this adaptation of the novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake writing under the pseudonym, Richard Stark. The same novel served as the basis for John Boorman's Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. This version excises Kris Kristofferson's performance entirely and features a new score by Scott Stambler.
by Jeremy Wheeler synopsis