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Review Max Payne (2008): Mark Wahlberg refused to watch or play the game to see what it was about. Good job egomaniac!

genre: action, crime, videogame adaptation







Mark Kermode an English film critic forced me to revisit this piece of crap since he said something that showed his ignorance on the source material. He automatically assumed because the film was based on a videogame that it was going to be awful. According to him all videogames don't have stories. Well, for a few games this might be true but the majority do have them and for a while now videogames have evolved a lot considerably especially when it comes to storytelling. Also in this case Max Payne was one of the first action games that had quite a lot of story that was quite dark and grim. In fact the whole videogame is one big tribute to cinematic genres like film noir and heroic bloodshed. I can't stand this type of bias since it bashes the source material more than the film itself and I simply think that is not fair. It's the film makers who failed to translate videogames to film. Is it always their fault? Well, no. I do believe it's hard to capture the essence of gameplay. You always will detract the experience if you try to convert gameplay which is an active element into something passive. However Max Payne overall is incredibly cinematic and all they had to do was recreate scenes from the games and make it work for film. Basically they could have made a John Woo type film a la Hard Boiled featuring Mark Wahlberg. I am not his biggest fan but I probably would have liked it anyway providing it would contain at least half of the high octane action extravaganza that was Hard Boiled. 

Now to my review that I had written in 2008:

Who cares if the plot is different from the game. This being an adaptation it is to be expected. What I do want to see is that the essence of a game is captured. And without any hesitation I can say that is not the case. Max Payne the game was a tribute to classic John Woo movies starring "Chow Yun Fat" like Hard Boiled and The Killer which contained beautifully choreographed action scenes filmed in slow motion. Everyone who had seen one of those movies wanted to be the gun blazing Chow Yun Fat. The game made that possible. This was long before Stranglehold. The good plot is one of the key elements that provided the special ambiance that made the game stand out from other shooters. However it was not the reason why people played the game. And somehow a lot of people including the ones who made this awful movie missed that point. Bullet Time was the main character in Max Payne the game. Without it Max Payne would never had been as popular as it is now. In the movie there are maybe two and a half scenes where events are slowed down. I know that we are spoiled after The Matrix Trilogy and several other movies. But how can you exclude it like they did if it plays such an important role. And even if I can forgive them for not using the bullet time effect as much as I wanted to. Why not offering action scenes a la Shoot em up. At least then I would have gotten a fraction of what this movie supposed to show. There are many other topics and flaws I could mention and discuss. But since the action element was the most important one I see no point in going deeper! 

So now in 2016. Do I need to add something to this? Well, a while after I had written above review I read that Mark Wahlberg refused to look into and play the game. Supposedly because of his addictive personality and busy family life. All he had to do was take one hour from his time. Hell, even ten minutes would have been enough. The fact that he simply did not want to get a taste of what the source material is about is one of the many factors this film failed. Max Payne might not have been a fully fledged character yet. But at least they had bothered to give him a good motivation why he was on this killing rampage. He didn't do it for the fun of it. He was deeply grief stricken and damaged and he felt compelled to seek justice and revenge. Of course this does not justify his actions but see Max Payne is not quite sane. The dream sequences in the game show you this. Although within this insanity he would not hurt or kill innocents. Max Payne was and is an interesting character and had Mark Wahlberg bothered his Max Payne would be also. 

So yes, Max Payne is absolutely terrible. But not only because it fails to adapt the videogame properly. It simply has no cinematic merit of it's own. Apart from some of the visuals it's boring as hell. And there was no need for it to be. 



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