New on DVD: Max Payne

New on DVD: Max Payne

Studios tapped the video game pool again, this time giving Max Payne new life. Payne (Mark Wahlberg) walks the dark, gritty streets of New York seeking justice by any means. He is hunting the person who brutally killed his wife and child but so far no leads. However, his search crosses paths with a series […]


Studios tapped the video game pool again, this time giving Max Payne new life.

Payne (Mark Wahlberg) walks the dark, gritty streets of New York seeking justice by any means. He is hunting the person who brutally killed his wife and child but so far no leads. However, his search crosses paths with a series of murders linked to a dangerous narcotic. He teams with a leather-clad woman (Mila Kunis) with her own agenda to find the truth but discovers a conspiracy that hits closer to home than expected.

The picture is highly stylized, somewhat resembling the neo-noir style achieved in Sin City. Shadows are a character in themselves and most of the film is nearly monochromatic. This aesthetic really draws attention to the stunning scenes of bright flames, which also signal an unnatural interference.

Wahlberg tends to do very well when his dialogue is minimal and he’s mostly required to deliver hard, troubled stares. Kunis’ Russian is surprisingly decent, although her “don’t mess with me” attitude could use some work. Beau Bridges is a villain but the menace of his character is not conveyed well. And even though there are other recognizable names in this flick (Olga Kurylenko, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges and Chris O’Donnell), their roles are comparatively so small it’s difficult to remember them.

The special edition DVD contains both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film but with only three minutes between them, the difference is negligible. Part one of a featurette does some exploring of filming in Toronto; while an animated short further explains Payne’s wife’s role in the events of the narrative. There is also feature commentary and a digital copy of the unrated version.