Plot: What’s it about?
Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a veteran police detective who not only battles crime, but his own inner demons and his dark past. Payne lost his wife and child in a horrific murder, forced to watch as three criminals slaughtered his loved ones. He was able to track down two of the attackers, but the third has eluded his reach. His life has become consumed with vengeance, making him blind to the rest of what goes on around him. Because of this, he is soon framed for the murder of a young girl, which has him on the run from the cops, an assassin, and still other forces. Can Payne somehow clear his name, find the final attacker, and remain sane, or will this be his final stand?
Max Payne was a fun video game, so when a movie was announced, I was kind of excited. That excitement drained in total the second I learned the title role would be played by Mark Wahlberg. But I still forced myself to check it out and as expected, the lead role was a total miscast. Wahlberg doesn’t fit as the dark, brooding anti-hero, instead coming off like a douche and a douche that can’t act, to top it off. His awful performance aside, the filmmakers veer from the video game too much to make a faithful adaptation, but don’t deliver enough generic action movie thrills either. We’re left with both a terrible video game adaptation and a terrible action movie, neither a welcome choice. I wanted this to be good, as the game is great and there is potential here, but Wahlberg was a stone around the film’s neck, not to mention inconsistent writing. So even if you loved the games, best to just leave Max Payne on the shelf.
Video: How does it look?
Max Payne is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a great visual treatment. The image has the kind of detail we expect from high definition, with great depth and subtle visible touches. Not always eye popping per se, but very detailed and a sizable step up over the DVD. The colors perform well also, while contrast is rock solid. A few minor issues do crop up, including some minor edge enhancement, but this is still an impressive effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is even more impressive, thanks to a dynamic DTS HD 5.1 option. This one is loud and powerful, especially when the action heats up. The surrounds are used to creative and effective ends, putting you right in the middle of it all. This adds so much to those scenes, adding impact and immersive atmosphere. Also in terms of atmosphere, more reserved scenes have great overall presence. So it isn’t just the bombastic scenes that benefit. This release also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You can listen to audio comments from director John Moore, who is joined by a couple other crew members. This is a decent track, as the filmmaker even admits the film is cliched and not to be taken seriously. A lot of good insight in this one, but given how bad the movie is, you might not want to sit through it a second time. A BonusView mode adds in clips from behind the scenes and interviews, but again, not the kind of movie that warrants multiple sessions. This release also includes a half hour featurette, an animated graphic novel, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a digital copy for use on portable devices.