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:: Max Payne

Barring the ‘Resident Evil’ series of films most films based on video-games end up being one-dimensional pieces of tripe. But that certainly can’t be said for ‘Max Payne’ which is also the best ‘you-killed-my-family-so-now-I’m-seeking-bloody-revenge’ style movie that has surfaced in a long time.

‘Max Payne’ tells the story of New York Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), a cop who has been on the trail of revenge ever since he returned home one night and found his wife and daughter murdered. Despite hiding himself away in the Cold Case Unit, Payne soon finds himself under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs police officer, Jim Bravura (Ludacris) after a model and a his ex-police partner are murdered after spending time with Payne. Soon Payne discovers a link between these murders, his wife’s murder and the company his wife used to work for. Gangster, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis) and retired cop BB Hensley (Beau Bridges) are soon helping Payne with the case, but can he trust all who are around him?

The film has a ‘Sin City’ meets ‘Constantine’ feel to it. Director, John Moore keeps a dark feel to the film by using dimly lit night sets and using rainfall to create ‘effect’ with certain scenes, while the hallucination scenes work frighteningly well and it is obvious why the film had to be re-cut so it didn’t have an R-Rating. The story also flows along nicely, and despite the odd clich√© thrown in here and there never becomes stale.

It was most likely the strength of the script that attracted seasoned actors like Mark Wahlberg and Beau Bridges to the project, while the casting team also took some big risks that worked beautifully. Mila Kunis (better known for her role in ‘That 70s Show’) is terrific in the role of gangster, Mona Sax. She pulls off this role with maturity and class and it is great to see her add a series role to her resume. Even the use of Ludacris as Bravura is a shock as he is nothing like the character in the video game, but to his credit Ludacris makes this role in his own, and shines. The fact that Chris O’Donnell and star-on-the-rise, Olga Kurylenko signed on for pretty small roles, also shows the strength with this project. And for those who like a challenge keep a key eye out for Nelly Furtado in this film.

‘Max Payne’ will raise the usual gripes from fans of the video game; ‘they didn’t do this, they didn’t do that’ or ‘he doesn’t look the way he should’, but when it is all boiled down this is actually quite a good film. The story works well, the acting is above average and John Moore brings a terrific ‘feel’ to what could have been a very pretty bad film in the wrong hands. All you action-thriller fans… just sit back and enjoy.