Director: John Moore
Cast: Mark Walberg, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges & Mila Kunis
In 1993 Super Mario Bros was the first video game to be adapted in a motion picture and anybody who remembers watching it knows what a travesty it turned out to be. Since then the majority of game-inspired films have crashed and burned to cinders such as Street Fighter, House of the Dead and Silent Hill. But I have to disagree with many and suggest that not every film has turned out bad, I’m still a big fan of Resident Evil series, which I feel are the 3 best films in this category to be released thus far. Filmmakers have made vast improvements with how they’ve gone about creating video game-based films, but don’t get me wrong, there still much work to be done.
Now 15 years later Fox Studios unleashes Max Payne, based upon the hit Rockstar Games release that tells the story of a New York City DEA agent whose wife and newborn are murdered by drugged-up junkies and his obsession to bring everyone involved to justice one way or the other. The game itself was ground breaking; it was the first game to utilize the art of bullet time, a sort of slow motion that allows someone to see that path of fired bullets (the Wachowski Bros milked this for all it was worth in Matrix trilogy). So would the film have as much success as the game did? The answer is not surprising: “Not really”.
Being a fan of the game I wanted to love this film, but I couldn’t help but be nonresponsive to almost everything that was happening onscreen due to how dull it was. I just sat and hoped that something would happen that would kick start my excitement. Every now or then an great action sequence would pop-up filled with lot of gunfire and bullet time effects, but it feels more like tease afterwards when the film returns to it’s dark yet boring tone. The acting doesn’t help much to make the film exciting either. The presence of a solid strong performance is non-existent and that includes Mark Walberg’s portrayal of Max Payne who looks like he’s trying too hard to fit into the role.
The film is very rough and doesn’t flow as well as a film should. The editing is very choppy causes the story to jump around when it should be trying to make smooth transitions from one scene to the other. Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges and Mila Kunis co-star but I could’ve cared less about their characters because they didn’t have a profound presence in the film and at one point I totally forgot Kunis was even in the film because she gone for almost 20 minutes.
Even with the addition of Norse mythology to story (sadly, my favorite part of the film) Max Payne becomes yet another example of how adapting a game into a film can be a cinematic disaster. At least I can say it’s better than any film Uwe Boll has made. If you intend on seeing it I suggest waiting until it’s released on DVD and rent or Netfilx it.