Saturday, October 18, 2008

Max Payne


Max Payne is a video game inspired movie (so I read) about a cop grappling with personal ghosts prowling the streets at night in search of the murderers of his wife. On the onset it really sounded and looked like many a cop movie I have seen.

Mark Wahlberg is in his element now unlike his science teacher persona in The Happening. He has the physical quality required of cops but, perhaps ironically, I liked him best as a street thug in Four Brothers.

In Max Payne the physical qualities went only so far. Detective Max Payne (Wahlberg) carries enormous baggage chief of which is the hunt for the murderers of his wife. His obsession has cost him his credibility with the force. While relegated as a custodian of the cold case unit (unsolved crimes) he prowls the streets at night with a virtual death wish wondering if the next junky or the next thug he encounters is THE one. He is lost; his soul trapped in the past. And, Wahlberg didn’t pull it off.

While I never thought Wahlberg was a quality actor I am not willing as of yet to put all blame on him for this film. The blame should fall also on the Director and maybe to the scriptwriter too because this movie really sucked.

The scenes feel out of joint if that is the appropriate term. Though arranged chronologically it feels as if actors were placed in different scenes to act out and then were just edited together. Watching feels like riding off road; there’s a discernable direction but it’s a really bumpy road. You’re going somewhere for your ride but obviously it is not enjoyable.

Beau Bridges accompanies Wahlberg as BB Hensley an ex cop, the former partner of Payne’s father. BB many others in this film he came off weak and predictable. Another in the long list of disappointments is Amaury Nolasco as Jack Lupino. I am guessing the lack of dialogue aims to make him look more sinister but instead it made his character more underdeveloped. He looked sinister alright but a sinister Fernando Sucre of the TV series Prisonbreak – a role Amaury is famous for.

But the worst thing in this film by far is the attempt to put a supernatural angle to the story. Producers may rationalize it as misdirection to give the film an added twist unfortunately it looked more like false advertising. The supernatural thing was what attracted me to watch the film you see having seen cop movies before.

The scenes were there; black angels, some sign of hell, but what happened was it added to the ‘loose joints’ I have always felt about the film. Maybe you could say it was worse than a loose joint because it felt like a different theme all together. There is a cop and there are angels and a third theme hidden in between.

Nothing in this film was ever in a perfect mesh. Most likely the game is better.