Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Max Payne *1/2
Director: John Moore
Cast: Mark Wahlberg
Mila Kunis, Olga Kurylenko, Amaury Nolasco
Chris O'Donnell, Nelly Furtado, Ludacris, Beau Bridges
Why is it that the hero survives a shower of bullets and the seemingly invincible villain only needs one to be done with?
Based on a famous video game "Max Payne" is a dull, often preposterous attempt at neo noir that seems to be in love with fulfilling comic book aesthetic clichés.
Wahlberg plays the title character, a New York City detective investigating the death of his wife and daughter more than three years before.
After what sounds like the longest cold case ever, he suddenly gets a lead that has him meet the mysterious Natasha Sax (Kurylenko) who is murdered soon after.
When Max becomes prime suspect he uncovers a network of underground crime and drug trafficking along with Sax's pissed off sister Mona (Kunis) and clues that might finally get him the redemption he seeks.
While the film is stunningly shot, there is so much invested into the dark look and "Matrix" like action sequences that everyone forgot that the things they are lighting and animating so attentively needed to spark a bit of interest in the audience.
You rarely care about Max finding his wife's murderer, because apparently neither did he until he found out a movie was being made about him.
Even more, the film's need to show off visually is taken to the x level when they include Nordic mythical creatures that part the heavens like jelly and plague the film with a creepy presence. If you think they serve a purpose in the plot, then the film has pulled off a magnificent job of sending the audience into the wrong direction.
In a mystery you might admire their tricks, but in here you realize it's just part of their extravagant need for attention. And apparently this film thrives when it lies indiscriminately to the audience (watch out for the disappearing tattoos in one character that suggest plot twist at times but end up being just continuity errors)
Wahlberg is robotic and the rest of the cast doesn't really help much.
Apparently this Max is all about giving the audience some pain.