After many disappointing videogame-to-movie adaptations, including “Mario Brothers,” “Resident Evil,” and “Doom,” I was quite wary of a “Max Payne” movie. After playing the game “Max Payne,” I became a very big fan since the experience was unlike other games. Playing this game was almost like playing a movie.
It’s been a long time since a video game has had such good action sequences that weren’t overtly difficult or became repetitive as the game goes on. With its film-noir style and big shootouts, a lot of people in the gaming community knew that “Max Payne” would make a great movie.
And it did.
They choose just the right actor to play Max (Mark Wahlberg) and it was shot beautifully. The movie took place in modern day but looked like a classic noir film from the 1940’s (except it was in color). The cinematography didn’t have huge crazy shots or an over-abundance of the “shaky cam” shots, which I was worried about after watching “Death Race.” It was included in some scenes, but the superbly shot fights made up for it.
The game had “Matrix-style” shootouts, so you could say it was a “noir-Matrix” (without all of the computers and internet mumbo jumbo). I was worried that the movie would look too much like the “Matrix” but it doesn’t. The slow-mo was used throughout the action scenes and when it was used, it looked and sounded amazing. Particularly one scene, where Max is diving backwards and firing a shotgun over his head. It was so slow it made what would have been a 10 second scene with three shots fired into a slow, John Woo gun battle.
It has been said that the Max Payne game was like playing a John Woo action movie. Well unfortunately, watching the movie wasn’t like a John Woo movie. The action scenes were sparse but it made up for it with the story. The story wasn’t as complex as the video game (isn’t it usually the other way around?) but they did do a good job making it a much tighter story.
With a video game you’re spending 20-30 hours playing through it, but with a movie you only have 90-120 minutes. So the writers had to combine a lot of elements and delete a lot of scenes. With that, the “Max Payne” movie storyline was tight but not condensed like powdered milk. They also stayed true to the game by sticking to the core characters and the basic elements that made the game such a thrill to play.
Even if you have never played the game you should still see this movie. If you’re an action fan you’ll love it. If you’re a noir fan you’ll love it. If you don’t like violence in movies you’ll hate it. Don’t think that the PG-13 rating took anything away, it didn’t. I myself was a little bit skeptical but everything you would want in a “Max Payne” movie adaptation is there.