Saturday, July 16, 2011
HEAVEN, HELL AND MAX PAYNE
2 HOURS LATER
I feel like I just read an entire phone book TWICE! Could the trailers be more dishonest? They make this movie look like its LORD OF THE RINGS or something.
In all honesty I am a big fan of the original MAX PAYNE video game (except the dream sequence parts). I was really hoping that the movie would be good. I wanted a high energy action packed Hong Kong inspired shoot'em up that would rival anything John Woo had done in his Chow-Yun Fat days. But this is an American made action movie so you have to throw out all the action scenes and convoluted the simple story to make it more complex with lots of characters and talking. That means the movie is smart. When I first saw the trailers I could see that they were focusing the action element of MAX PAYNE on the visuals of CGI angels and fiery skies. I knew there wasn't going to be much action or anything resembling the game. In the game drugged out freaks kept speaking about "the flesh of angels". So that means we get to see a bunch of CGI angels that aren't even real and have nothing to do with what is happening in the film. All I am saying is that when it came out in theaters I stayed home and watched porn. Hi, mom!
Like almost every video game movie adaptation, MAX PAYNE completely misses the point of what the game was. The MP video game was about delivering a John Woo action experience. The game play was molded around John Woo's directing style. In the game when you slowed down time to jump in the air and kill bad guys you were actually directing your own action movie with your controller. You could change the camera angles to the right moment to show how badass your character looked shooting that mobster in the face. How cool is that? The movie, however, is a forgettable cliched riddled wannabe tough cop movie that can't even do that right. The action has been completely replaced with long periods of Max Payne walking and or just standing there with that blank "I'm Mark Walberg. I'm in this movie" look on his face.
Forget about the lack of action. As a tough-cop-out-to-get-answers movie MAX PAYNE fails in every aspect. Take for example Max's character. He is suppose to be a burned out cop obsessed with finding his family's killer. He is so destroyed by his loss that he wears nice clothes under an expensive leather coat. He is clean shaven with a perfect hair cut and he has perfect posture. I assume he works out too. I don't think he takes any pain medication like he does in the game. Just the way the character looks contradicts the character's motivation. He looks more like a guy out on the town looking to "hook up" than a homicide detective solving his own wife's murder. Also isn't it a little too obvious to make Beau Bridges the killer of Max's wife and child. Why do these movies go in circles to come around again to "the person we least suspect". I didn't least suspect him. The lack of story creativity lead me to the conclusion that he did it.
Every scene happens too fast or too slow. You are not sure what is happening or why. In film, scenes have "beats". There is rhythm to scenes that are moved by dialogue, music or camera work. This is done to stress emotion or the point of a moment. If done well a movie will never get boring or tedious. In MP there is none of this. Scenes plod along with almost no point and then quickly cut to another scene with no imprint on your mind as to what is happening and then quickly cut to another. No time is spent on development. Characters have dramatic conversations with one another almost right away as if we knew their relationships already. The whole story seems pointless with weak coincidences occurring or fast edits to propel the movie forward. How many tattoo artists do you know that happen to not only know about Viking history but have a book on the counter to illustrate the point?
MAX PAYNE the movie is full of visual boringness. They filmed this thing with the latest technologically advanced cameras with expensive special effects with different camera angles yet nothing stands out. Nothing leaves an impression on your mind. The whole movie is one big grey blotch in your memory. I can't remember half the stuff that happens in this movie. Actually MAX PAYNE reminds me of DOOM the movie. Both have that drug (or whatever) that turns people crazy or turns that one percent into invincible killers. I wonder if the makers of that movie made MAX PAYNE too. They both feel like the same damn movie. The director apparently thinks he is remaking THE MATRIX with those irritatingly slow motion action moments where it takes five minutes to shoot some idiot that can't use a scoped machine gun behind you.
In the games there were these horrible drugged fuel nightmare levels where you had to follow long trails of blood that maze over total darkness. These levels were horrible and didn't fit with the rest of the game. In my opinion the creators of the movie basically made the movie about those levels. That is the exact opposite of what we wanted in a MAX PAYNE movie. Congratulations, movie makers. You suck. It's one long bad music video, folks. It's sleek. It's stale. And it sucks. Buy it for someone you hate.