Max Payne Review

Published 7 years ago by , Updated October 17th, 2008 at 6:09 pm,

Short version: Max Payne starts out promising but eventually begins to unravel, only to end in an awful mess.

max payne review Max Payne Review
Screen Rant reviews Max Payne

Mark Wahlberg plays Max Payne, a cop who’s wife and child were murdered and who subsequently becomes an obsessed outcast in the police department. Eventually he teams up with Mona Sax (played by Mila Kunis) in a quest to track down the killer.

Caveat: I know nothing about the video game. Not only have I never played it, I’ve never seen so much as a screen grab from it. So, I can’t speak to the authenticity of the movie in regards to the character and/or plot line of the game.

The movie opens with what we’ve seen in the trailer: Max floating underwater, apparently unconscious. We are then kicked back to “One Week Earlier,” indicated in the current fad of making on-screen text look like it’s part of the actual scene. We soon meet Max, a somber and unsociable guy who has been downgraded to the Cold Case department at the local police precinct.

His wife and child were murdered three years ago and he’s been on an off-duty quest to find one of the killers. Soon we get a taste of his search as he gives three drug addicts in the subway an invitation to mug him, and in a pretty damned cool scene he puts them down very easily.

Soon thereafter at a party thrown by one of Payne’s snitches he meets Natasha, a super-sexy hottie played by Olga Kurylenko. I’ll give you one guess as to her nationality based on that tricky name. Her sister Mona appears at the party and there is some conflict between them that is not clear.

In the meantime there is an addictive drug that is taken orally which seems will be a focal point of the movie. At first it is quite confusing why anyone would even take this drug because it causes terrifying hallucinations in the form of winged creatures.

One thing leads to another and Max ends up teaming up with Mona and the trail leads them to a mysterious bald, shirtless guy who carries a VERY big knife and knows how to use it (much to the chagrin of his victims).

One of the only people on Max’s side is B.B. Hensley (played by Beau Bridges), an ex-cop now head of security at the same pharmaceutical company that Max’s wife worked for.

olga kurylenko Max Payne ReviewSo what’s good… I’d say in the first third of the movie, everything was pretty good. Wahlberg, while not great, certainly redeems himself from his performance in The Happening. Then again, how hard can it be to play somber and morose. Beau Bridges – just love the guy no matter what he does. He just has a great way about him that’s a pleasure to watch. Olga Kurylenko, well… let’s just say she’s really easy on the eyes.

The story and action are pretty solid at the start of the film as well.

So what’s not so good… well, as the film moves on it gets pretty ridiculous, and for some reason even the action scenes suffer. Director John Moore makes use of slow motion in a couple of scenes, and in one particular scene it’s not just slo-mo – it’s super-excruciatingly-painful slo-mo. I mean seriously, I might have had time to take a bathroom break and still return in time to see the scene (which in real-time would have taken two seconds) end.

The film gets more bizarre as it goes on (which for all I know is how the game progresses) and gets harder to believe. By the end with visions of fiery skies, circling winged-demons and lame dialog (among other things), I was ready to get the heck out of the theater.

I gave it 2 1/2 stars only because of the early part of the movie, and that overall it does look cool – but that doesn’t make up for the rest.

Keep in mind that Max Payne is barely PG-13, with sexual imagery and tons of pretty nasty violence missing only the blood which would have made it R.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. BTW, I didn’t stay through the credits because by the end it was so awful I just wanted to get the heck out of the theater.


  2. Saw the movie today, its bad. Who is picking Wahlberg’s movies for him? It had some promise in the beginning but goes flat and eventually gets to the point where you don’t know whats going on. No character development, no buildup to any climatic scene, its just bad. Don’t waste the money on this one.

  3. i suspect the storyline for Max Payne is a lot more exciting when it’s happening in the form of a video game… except for those few exciting parts that i already saw in the preview, it was a snoozefest

  4. ( Spoilers )
    Okay, the movie is NOT that bad. I went into this movie ready to hack and slash everything I saw wrong.

    That being said, I was able to pin point some problems;

    1) The screen writers were unsure if this was a detective story or an action flick; the flow was all wrong. Way to many stop and go hang-up’s. This is responsible for making the movie seem longer than it is.

    2) Wrong cast for the parts.

    Example Bridges as BB? Everyone loves this guy and to believe that he is a converted follower of the Douche Bag faith. That was just a little beyond me.

    All the actors are good, they are not right for this movie. Hey, I even have to give props to Luda for making me (even if it was only a split second) think he was his character. Well done Luda.

    For film junkies who actually get into shot sequencing and direction there are some gems for you in this film.

    AGAIN, That said, Just when I am thinking “hey this movie is decent,” Walhberg comes busting into an empty room shooting and shouts “BEE-BEEEEEE” in a Stallone’ish voice that was good for a audience laugh.

    This movie was by no means “over directed.” If anything it was under-directed and over Edited. There were times in the movie I had the thought of “uh-oh some editior is never working in the industy again.”

    FYI ” I don’t care if your wife died a violent death or what not, but If a hot slutty Russian walks into your house begging to be corn-holed to china, YOU DO IT! A real Detective bangs the hot chick then asks her questions, not the other way around.

  5. @JonInTulsa

    Regarding your closing comment. You are obviously NOT married nor ever have been. If his wife died and he was so affected by it that he’s been obsessively following every single lead for three years straight, and then a woman lays in bed and starts pretending she’s his wife, I would have kicked her the hell out as well. Regardless of how “hot” she was.


  6. Vic, I am married and I understand your point. Fact is most of the target audience for this movie is not married and when writing a script these things need to be accounted for. You ARE right, if she started in with the whole call me her name business I too would have done that BUT…

    I wouldn’t have taken her to my house unless I wanted to shag her brains out,

    I wouldn’t have let her even get to the point that we needed to be somewhere for that to happen.

    If you want to build character and develop a particular emotional pull, you don’t do it by bringing a hot chick back to your home when you could have had that conversation in a coffee shop or fifteen other ways I could have got that point across.

    Main Point being, you shag the Russian (or at lest I wanted to see it)

    Cheers: )

  7. @JonIntulsa

    Excellent point and it just speaks to how poorly this movie was written.


  8. The Max Payne movie was so damn good , It was the best movie i ever have seen … i give this movie 5/5 Great Movie !!!!

  9. Like I called it in the DB rant, MEDIOCRE. Ok Wahlberg looked somewhat like Max Payne, Mila was almost dead on as Mona Sax. Olga Kurylenko was the best part of the movie. The whole Valkyrie thing was a total rip off of Indigo Prophecy, and they should have stuck to game more. The garage scene was terrible towards the end when he was drugged up and “focusing”. The “Bullet TIme” scene was ok, but they needed more of them instead of just slow mo deaths. Hopefully there will be an unrated dvd with scenes actually added abck into the movie instead of as stand alone deleted scenes.

  10. I think if you’re a fan of the videogame you might not like MAX PAYNE the movie. I knew nothing about it other than what I read online. I loved the trailer, then I love Mark Wahlberg’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie [saw it last night], in fact, it was better than I expected. Visually it was terrific. I don’t remember a very slo-mo scene as has been described above. I think you’re exaggerating! I didn’t care for Mila Kunis. Honestly, she was way too young to be believable as an assassin! Great bonus scene after the credits. It was an entertaining movie & Mark was terrific in it!

  11. Signed Max Payne Poster Contest: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and cast signed an official one sheet at There’s only a few entrees so great chances of winning.

  12. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Let’s take a look at the preview. Mark Wahlberg – BADASS, Mark Wahlberg shooting stuff, and blowin stuff up – Even More BADASS. The film Max Payne – Waste of 9$.

  13. What the f@#k was that? He didnt even start killing people till an hour in the movie like come on? No famous one liners from the game! They should of used “Tell the devil that dime sent you”! And its the fleash of fallin angels! The guy in that penzoil comercial looked more like max payne. The best part was the grin when he blew away the 2 guys with the shot gun an HOUR IN THE MOVIE! He could of also said “so much for being subtle”. And whats with all the black guys? Ludacris come on just rediculas.

  14. The Game Kicks Ass This Movie Can Suck my Ball (they better not make another one)

  15. He Should of started killing people in the subway right to the top like the game and realese his finger from the trigger than its over. Just for S@#ts and giggles The resident evil movies sucked to! The only movie remake from a game that was any good was silent hill Exacally like the game I recomend that movie!