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Max Payne - action adventure DVD review
MAX PAYNE Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Chris O'Donnell, Donal Logue
Director: John Moore   Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 20 January 2009   Runtime: 103 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 - English; Dolby Surround Spanish, French), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French), Theatrical and unrated extended cut versions, Commentary w/ dir. John Moore and crew

How do you judge a movie that is based on a videogame that is based on a genre of film? You watch it; easy enough to do. Though it was up for - and snubbed for - a Razzie award, Max Payne does have positive elements, and will entertain its intended audience. Part dark fantasy, part revenge film, and kind-of-sort-of police procedural, Max Payne stars Mark Wahlberg as Max, a man hell-bent on finding out who murdered his family.

For those who played the video game and expect a John Woo-like shoot-'em-up action film. well, you get a few scenes like that. Understanding that movies are entirely different animals than videogames, the director chose to go with a quieter, more introspective approach. What it lacks in balls-out gaming-style action it makes up for in atmosphere. The cinematography of this film nails the dark, brooding nature of the the game, although Max's inner monologue is missing - and for hardcore fans, this will be a bitter disappointment.

If you didn't play the game or aren't familiar with it at all, then it's an entirely different story. Though still visually stunning, the credulity of the plot falls apart since it never establishes what it wants to be. It sometimes feels like a real-world procedural, then quickly (due to the character's use of a hallucinogenic drug) seems like an alternate reality or dark fantasy realm. It's a quirky mix that works in a videogame platform, but as a movie, it's hard to span believability as a real-world mystery while maintaining the surrealist aspects of its videogame genesis.

Hollywood has tackled multiple video game adaptations, such as Hitman, Resident Evil and Silent Hill, all with their own weak and strong points. Max Payne does, too, but it shouldn't stop you from giving it a chance.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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