Mark Wahlberg delivers an explosive performance in this action-packed thriller based on the legendary, hard-hitting video game. Max Payne (Wahlberg) is a maverick cop with little regard for rules and nothing left to lose. Hell-bent on revenge, he's determined to track down those responsible for the brutal murder of his family, but his obsessive investigation takes him on a nightmarish journey where dark fantasy collides with stark reality. As the mystery deepens, Max is forced to battle enemies beyond the natural world...and face an unthinkable betrayal that will drive him to the edge of his own sanity.
Any film based on a first-person shooter video game should, as a rule of thumb, be full of epic shootouts on a level equal to Sergio Leone or the Wachowski Brothers, and in that regard, Max Payne
is an unqualified success. Mark Wahlberg also lives up to the game's pedigree by brooding mightily as the title hero, a big city detective mourning the murder of his wife and child. Revenge is, of course, Payne's ultimate goal, and with the assistance of slinky Russian hitwoman Mila Kunis, he dishes it out in elaborate set pieces overflowing with gymnastic gun play. Viewers seeking just that and nothing more will get their money's worth from John Moore's film adaptation, and most likely be impressed by its fashionably gloomy art direction and cinematography. Those seeking a bit more than gunpowder and gristle will find Max Payne utterly derivative of a half-dozen better films (Christopher Nolan's Batman
films, most notably) and violent to the point of cartoon absurdity. They may find some refuge in appealing supporting turns by Donal Logue and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as diametrically opposed cops and Beau Bridges, who offers his usual roguish charm as Payne's former superior. --Paul Gaita
Beyond Max Payne on DVD Stills from Max Payne (Click for larger image)