out of Five
Running time: 100
Badly written, poorly acted and surprisingly dull action thriller that substitutes loud gunfire for thrills and doesn't bother to develop the characters beyond their video game origins.
What's it all about?
Based on the popular video game, Max Payne stars Mark Wahlberg as trigger-happy supercop Max Payne, who's hell-bent on revenge after his wife and child are brutally murdered. His obsessive investigation leads him into a dark, drug-infested underworld where supernatural forces may be at work.
Along the way, Max meets an assortment of characters to help or hinder him in his quest, including: Russian assassin Mona Sax (Mila Kunis); Mona's thrill-seeking younger sister Natasha (Olga Kurylenko); Internal Affairs Detective Jim Bravura (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges); shifty pharmaceuticals exec Jason Colvin (Chris O'Donnell, out of the career cupboard); combat vet turned drug kingpin Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco) and Max's mentor BB (Beau Bridges).
The only interesting thing about Max Payne is the cast, given that it's mostly comprised of Bond girls, beloved TV character actors (Prison Break's Nolasco), babes du jour (Kurylenko, Kunis), rappers-turned-actors and people that you could be forgiven for thinking had retired from acting altogether (O'Donnell). Unfortunately, none of them are given anything remotely interesting to do, especially Kurylenko, whose character disappears almost immediately.
The script is appalling, with atrocious dialogue and a plot that's utterly ludicrous, even for a film based on a video game. Similarly, Wahlberg delivers a painfully wooden performance throughout and somehow manages to make fewer facial expressions than his video game counterpart.
However, the film's biggest problem is the action sequences, which just consist of noisy, badly-staged shoot-outs where nothing happens – indeed, there are several scenes where characters burst into empty rooms, firing their guns at nothing. It also has one of those running-down-a-corridor-of-shattering-glass scenes that is just plain laughable, as well as several sequences that are poorly paced and extremely boring to sit through.
Max Payne is a disappointing action thriller, let down by poor performances, dismal direction and a tedious script. One to avoid.