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Payback - Straight Up - The Director's Cut [HD DVD]
• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a standard-definition DVD player, Blu-ray player, or PS3.
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Kudos to Gibson and Icon for giving Helgeland a chance to restore his film and get it out on this DVD. But a look at both versions (this disc does not include the theatrical cut) back-to-back can certainly make one's head spin. Icons revisions in the original release show little faith in a contemporary audiences ability to discern much about a story or mood or character from spare but telling details. That film relies on crass swatches of voiceover narration, cute inserts, added scenes, and hipster tunes on the soundtrack. All of that was designed to tell an audience how to feel rather than encourage a cinematic experience encountered with an open heart and mind. Worst of all is a specious third act nakedly built around an obligatory Gibson-gets-tortured sequence, leading the film to a lazy, comforting conclusion. The Directors Cut eschews all of that. Gibsons character, Porter (based on the central character in the novel "The Hunter," written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark), is a man returning from the brink of death with nothing but his identity and the memory of something (an almost-nominal amount of money) taken from him. His iron determination, his capacity for brutality and inducing fear, and his survival instinct make him anything but warm and cuddly. It's his few ties to the past--especially an interrupted relationship with a call girl (Maria Bello)--that humanize him. One doesn't have to like Porter; one just accepts him and follows his journey in an honest, unmitigated fashion. Thats exactly what Helgeland does, and his cleaner, leaner, smarter cut is instantly rewarding for its uncompromising, undistracted toughness. Special features include a documentary about the films history, and a wonderful interview with Westlake. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
From the very beginning, you know you're in different waters when the tone of the film settles in. They do away with the voice over and there is far less humor in this version. Instead of the blue tinted palatte of the original, this film has a more lush and natural quality to it. The character of Porter (Mel Gibson) in this version is even more brutal and cold blooded, which is a big reason as to why the film was asked to be recut by the studio. I watched both versions back to back and I think I can say that this new version is almost like watching an entirely different movie. I like them both equally and this new version really adds to the experience.
That being said, this HD-DVD has several great supplementary features that should make your day. One in particular is a half hour doc that goes into why Brian Helgeland's original cut was rejected by the studio and contains insightful comments by key members of the cast and crew, including Mel Gibson himself who I have to give credit to for being involved with restoring this version and giving a genuinely humbling interview. The picture on this disc looks great and the sound really kicks in during scenes of gunfire and general action. I strongly recommend it, especially if you like the original cut!
Same old story about artists and Hollywood, but this time came a happier ending. In 2005, Paramount and Gibson gave Helgeland another shot at the film, eight years after its release. The tapes turned up missing, so Helgeland and his editor recut the film using film. And so we have "Payback: Straight Up -- the Director's Cut."
Now, this is one hard-boiled movie. Gibson plays a criminal who comes back to town looking for the partner who stole half his loot, and his wife, following a heist. Along the way he single-handedly takes on both the syndicate and Asian drug dealers, slugs a woman (a scene the studios cut), and stirs up a John Woo-like shootout as the bloody finale. Supporting actors Lucy Liu, Gregg Henry and Maria Bello all do fine work.
There are multiple DVD extras, including a director's commentary, but the one to catch is the half-hour "Same Story -- Different Movie," all about the film's resurrection. Audio and video are sharp on the DVD -- and better on high definition discs, although in places the colors seem a bit too jacked up for a gritty, bleach-bypass film. "Payback" comes from the same book as "Point Blank" with Lee Marvin, an even better film from 1969.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The original payback was a 5 star. The directors cut almost dropped payback to a 2 star. They ruined the movie. Read morePublished 20 days ago by G. Williams
DIRECTOR'S CUT ... It's not the movie I remember. It was but yet it wasn't! The ending was definitely different! It wasn't until I viewed the bonus features that I understood. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J.L. Morgan
Mel Gibson's best forgotten movie. It's just a good old fashioned gangster movie and Gibson is great in it along with most of the cast except for
the stupid Lucy Lu sex... Read more
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