Sunday, November 15, 2009

Max Payne

Video game movie adaptations are always questionable, in my mind. I remember reading in a movie review, maybe it was for a Tomb Raider movie, that watching the movie was like watching someone play the video game. I have never played the Max Payne video game; I don't guess I ever heard of it before this movie came out. (Not much of a gamer am I.) But if playing the game is anything like watching this movie, I'm sure I'd just as soon not play it. On the other hand, maybe watching someone play Max Payne would be more fun than watching this movie.

On the positive side, this movie is very visually interesting. The settings and backdrops seemed consistently simple and uncluttered, yet purposeful in the details. The action sequences were cool, too. Also on the positive, Marky Mark Wahlberg has turned into a decent actor. This role was a little one-dimensional, so he came across as wooden, but he fit the role and performed it well.

Wahlberg plays a policeman in the cold case division. He obsesses over finding the killers of his wife and child, and stumbles onto a secret military development program that produced a potent street drug with terrifying side effects. He shoots lots and lots of people.

I feel inadequate to discuss Max Payne, having never played or seen the video game. I have no idea whether it is faithful to the game or strays far from it. I would assume that the movie provides the back story for the video game, so fans of the game might like it. But the movie was not compelling enough for me to want to pick up the game or explore Max's story further.

Bottom line, 1 and a 1/2 stars.

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