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Laramie Movie Scope:
Max Payne

Another adaptation of a video game

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 15, 2009 -- Max Payne is another one of those movies based on a video game. Most of these are terrible, but this one made it to the local discount theater (Wyo Theatre) and I had to drop off some flyers there anyway, so I stopped in to have a look. It had decent action, some capable actors, some decent special effects and a decent story. It isn't a great film, but it is an O.K. action film, it held my attention, which is more than I can say for some of the so-called “art films” that come out at the end of every year.

Speaking of capable actors, Mark Wahlberg of “The Departed” plays Max Payne and veteran actor Beau Bridges (“Charlotte's Web”) is also in the cast. Payne is a detective relegated to the sub-basement of the police department where he works on cold cases. His favorite is a case very personal to him, the killer of his wife and child. Everyone at the police department knows that Payne is on a vendetta, but nobody seems to want to reign him in. It should not come to a surprise that Payne eventually goes off the deep end. Payne's old partner, Det. Alex Balder (played by Donal Logue of “Zodiac”) unexpectedly comes across a clue which vaguely connects Payne's favorite case with a current case about a girl murdered in an alley. The connection involves some Russians. Soon Payne is right in the middle of a shooting war.

Payne finds himself teamed with Mona Sax (Mila Kunis) who is the sister of the murdered girl, a Russian beauty. Sax wants revenge and is tough enough to get it. Payne and Sax find themselves up against a bunch of mutant thugs, fueled by a super powered chemical stimulant and backed by powerful conspirators. There are also supernatural trappings to this story. Giant winged creatures flit through the night, attacking and killing people. However, it is not clear if these shadowy Valkyries (demons from Norse mythology) are real or if they are just the result of chemical-induced hallucinations. Whatever they are, the Valkyries do add an interesting element to the movie. It is not too hard to guess the mystery that Payne and Sax are trying to unravel. The ultimate showdown is about what you would expect. There aren't many surprises in this movie. It is by-the-numbers action right down the line with few exceptions. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)