REVIEW: MAX PAYNE

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Mila Kunis (That 70s Show)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Chris O’ Donnell (Batman & Robin)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break)
Kate Burton (127 Hours)
Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Brea Grant (Halloween II)

Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is a three-year veteran in the Cold Case Unit of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). He is consumed with investigating and finding the murderer of his wife Michelle and their infant child Rose. Max’s snitch, Trevor, supplies information that leads Max to three drug addicts in an empty train station. They attempt to rob Max in a bathroom; instead, Max interrogates one of them about his family’s murder, with no results. While one of the drug addicts runs away he is attacked by shadowy, winged man-creatures and is hit by a train. At Trevor’s apartment, Max meets Natasha Sax (Olga Kurylenko), who gets into an argument with her sister, Mona (Mila Kunis). When Natasha storms off, Max searches for her in the back where partiers are using the drug “Valkyr”. Max is silently confronted by Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco), but Natasha takes Max back to the party. Max notices Natasha’s tattoos and wants information about them, so he invites her back to his apartment. However, when Natasha tries to seduce Max, she makes insensitive comments about his wife, and Max kicks her out. Natasha leaves through an alley, and is attacked by the winged shadow creatures.The next morning Natasha is found dead, and Max’s wallet is discovered at the crime scene. Max becomes the prime suspect in the case, with his old partner, Alex Balder (Donal Logue), taking part in the investigation. Alex notices the tattoo on Natasha’s arm is similar to one found in the case file of Max’s wife. Alex tries to contact Max, but getting no response, he quickly leaves for Max’s apartment. When Max arrives home, he finds the door ajar and his place a mess. Alex lies dead inside, and as Max investigates, he is knocked unconscious from behind.Max wakes up in a hospital with his trusted friend BB Hensley (Beau Bridges), his father’s former partner in the NYPD, at his bedside. Hensley is now head of security of the pharmaceutical company Aesir Corporation. Max leaves the hospital early to pay his respects to Alex, but is kicked out by Alex’s upset wife Christa (Nelly Furtado). While being questioned by Lieutenant Jim Bravura (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) of Internal Affairs, Max storms out and searches Alex’s desk, finding Owen Green’s name in Natasha’s case file. Later, Max is confronted by Mona, who assumes Max killed her sister, but Max persuades her to help him find the actual killer. Max and Mona find Green (Joel Gordon) but cannot save him, as Owen was hallucinating and as a result falls out of a building to his death.Max and Mona visit Natasha’s tattoo parlor. The tattoo artist tells them Natasha’s tattoo represents the wings of a Valkyrie, which, in Norse mythology, are creatures that decide the fate of warriors in battle. Max then goes to take some of Michelle’s belongings out of storage and ends up discovering that documents from when she worked at the Aesir Corporation have gone missing. Max meets BB at a diner and demands the name of Michelle’s old supervisor.Max interrogates the supervisor, Jason Colvin (Chris O’Donnell), in his office at Aesir and learns that Michelle was associated with a military contract to create super-soldiers using the highly addictive drug Valkyr. Only a few subjects showed positive results; the rest saw hallucinations and eventually went insane, so the project was terminated. Jason agrees to testify, as long as Max protects him. When a skeptical Max asks Jason who he is supposed to be protecting him from, Jason answers: “The man that killed your wife!” Max agrees, and starts to escort Jason out of his office, but as they leave, armed Aesir security forces appear and kill Jason.

Max escapes with the evidence and shows the video to Mona. It explains the Valkyr project; Lupino is a former Marine and his testimony explains that, while taking the drug, Lupino feels invincible, with no side effects (unlike most other test subjects). Max goes to Lupino’s hideout, Ragna Rok. While fighting Lupino, Max’s defeat appears to be certain until BB arrives and kills Lupino. Max gets knocked unconscious after the brawl as he is leaving the hideout. BB explains that he is selling Valkyr and admits to killing Michelle because she inadvertently came across incriminating documents. BB plans to drown Max in the river, with a weight secured to his ankle and Valkyr in his pocket, hoping to make it look like a drug-induced suicide. But before he can be tied to the weight, Max escapes by jumping into the icy river. He swims to shore and, to prevent hypothermia, consumes both vials of Valkyr, transforming himself into a super-soldier with visions of Valkyries. Max follows BB back to the Aesir building. Assisted by Mona, he kills many Aesir security employees. Max eventually confronts BB on the building’s helipad and kills him. His vengeance complete, he falls to his knees, ready to die. He sees a vision of his daughter and wife, who tells him “Not yet, Max.” He comes to, as the sun cuts through the clouds and a SWAT team surrounds him. In a post-credits scene, Max meets with Mona at a bar, where she shows him a newspaper article about Aesir’s soaring stock price, with a picture of CEO Nicole Horne, presumably their next target.

All in all, I think it was beautifully done. It set out to capture Max Payne from every angle and did just that. It took ample time to make fanatics of the game go “holy crap, that scene was straight from the game”, but yet also write in some originality of it’s own that worked well within the plot. As far as some of the characters, I thought every one of them played their part to near-perfection. Mila Kunis actually did surprisingly well and it was fun to see her play the femme fatale badass. Chris O’ Donnell had a very short role, but I thought he played it amazingly. Not a perfect movie, but definitely a good one.

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