Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MAX PAYNE: Maximum Action, Minimum Logic

MAX PAYNE (action thriller)
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Chris O'Donnell, Donal Logue, Amaury Nolasco, Kate Burton, Olga Kurylenko (pic)
Director: John Moore

Time: 108 mins

Rating: * * 1/2
(out of 4)

Adapted from the videogame of the same title, 'Max Payne' the movie is visually exciting, sensuously cold and wet, technically well-made but surprisingly flat in terms of audience participation. Principally, it is because we feel nothing for its hero, Max Payne, or any of the characters.
The one cast member who stands out is the luscious Olga Kurylenko who plays a femme fatale here. Why am I mentioning Olga? Because she is the new Bond girl - of 'Quantum Of Solace'. In 'Max Payne', she provides the requisite sparkle and sizzle - and then the movie turns mundane.

THE SKINNY: Max Payne is a New York cop whose wife and baby are killed by thugs. Devastated by his loss, Max joins the Drug Enforcement Agency and teams up with an assassin, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis) who is out to avenge her sister's death. They are hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation. Max's probe leads him to a Sgt Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco) and a drug known as Valkyrie.

THE CRITIQUE: After the exit of the curvaceous Kurylenko in the first one-third of the film, our interest wanes pretty quickly. Yes, there are the usual blasts and shootouts, the requisite teaming up of Max and Mona, and even the mandatory plot twist at the end. However, one important thing that is missing is the stuff that a videogame-adapted film needs: audience involvement. Here, the characters are not developed enough to get our sympathy.

Mila Kunis, who gave a creditable account of herself in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', is largely wasted here. Chris O'Donnell has a minor role as a drug company executive and Beau Bridges as BB Hensley, head of security. They, too, fail to help improve the movie. Director John Moore loves to shoot in the rain, repeatedly having his characters chat in the downpour like idiots. And then there's the opening scene where our hero dives into the sea and spouting his life's philosophy...
Does he consider videogame players that dumb?

THE VERDICT: Mainly for gamesters and fans of the videogame.


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