Against the gritty, snow covered, and crime ridden streets of New York, one man is waging a battle for redemption and revenge. The man in Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), and following the murder of his wife and infant son, Payne has seen his life and career spin down an ever deepening black hole to the point where he is relegated to a basement office working on cold cases.
Max has become a creature of the night, and spends his off hours patrolling the grimy sections of the city looking for clues about the death of his wife and taking on all manner of the cities criminal elements to get to the truth which has so long eluded him.
While attempting to gain information from a former snitch, Max is introduced to the Natasha Sax (Olga Kurylenko), and her sister Mona (Mila Kunis). The fact that Mona is suspicious of Max from the start is of little concern to Natasha who follows Max back to his apartment and attempts to seduce him. Max quickly spurns her advances which causes Natasha to leave his apartment angry and unbeknownst to Max, steals his wallet in the process. Shortly after leaving Max’s apartment, Natasha is brutally murdered and when Max’s wallet is found at the scene, he becomes the lead suspect in the murder.
Soon after learning from his former partner that Natasha’s dead may be linked to the death of Max’s wife, Max becomes the subject of a city wide manhunt when his partner turns up dead which is attributed to Max going over the edge.
In a race against time, Max must get to the bottom of the deaths as well as solve his family’s murder and clear his good name. This will not be easy as Max must face the resources of a gigantic corporation as well as a crazed drug lord, and his colleagues on the police force.
Based on the popular video games series from Remedy Entertainment and 3D Realms, Max Payne takes some of the games more prominent characters and themes and creates a new storyline. The bullet time ability that Max had in the game has been omitted and replaced with a few gun battles that are shot at times in slow motion, such as a well staged battle in an office building.
While the storyline and character development may be lacking, the film does a decent job of capturing the look and tone of the games, and Wahlberg is solid as the tormented lead character.
Backed by a solid supporting cast which includes Beau Bridges, Chris O’Donnell, and Ludacris, “Max Payne” is an enjoyable if flawed movie experience that makes up for its shortcomings with solid visuals and some great gun battles that come late in the film.
The picture and sound quality of the movie are very crisp and if you have the chance to enjoy the film in surround sound and HDTV I would highly suggest it.
The bonus features are very good and there is a great graphic book feature that delves more into the character of Max Payne’s wife and the events leading up to her murder.
3.5 stars out of 5