[ScreenRant] 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.
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…full story[Colider] Moore treats “Payne” as another polished cinematographic playing field, imagining a world where the snow never stops falling (a noticeable continuity nightmare), the locations are ripe with noirish lighting, and the streets are guarded by psychological demons of the night. Moore demonstrates outstanding control over his environments, but holds no fundamental storytelling instincts, spending all of his time perfecting the shots while an entire film leisurely strolls past him with almost nothing to do but stand around and look confused. Moore fumbles “Payne” immediately, excessively clowning around with hackneyed camera and post-production technology, leading to a full mummification of the picture from the surplus of strained gimmickry…full story[HollyWood.com] Wahlberg is earnest and knows how to kickass, but the murders of his young wife and baby, which is meant to give emotional heft to the character, is really not enough to connect us to this guy. Still, he does quite nicely in the numerous action scenes and is at home playing a DEA agent. Mila Kunis, so appealing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, shows a saucier side here and has great potential as an action mama, perhaps the kind of ball-buster Aeon Flux should have been. Olga Kurylenko, who is also in the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace is well-used in the few scenes she has, and Prison Break’s Amaury Nolasco is convincing as a tough ex-vet who now has drifted into the drug underworld…full story[CinemaBlend] There’s actually a pretty cool shoot-out scene in an office building, and some buildings blow up near the end, but mostly Max Payne is grim and dark and brooding, and not in the good way. Bullets slow down for effect, beautiful women stroll in and out, and John Moore seems to be trying to amp up the production design rather than make a story worth watching. What ever happened to action movies that were fun, where you could get a little thrill out of watching explosions and someone cracked a joke once in a while? I guess Max’s psychological torment is supposed to make his character deep, but it makes the movie no fun at all. It’s probably more satisfying to play the video game yourself, since at least you’ll celebrate your victory, unlike mopey Max…full story[FutureMovies] Max Payne will not be aiming to shoot the bullseye of taste with the average movie fan: it’s most likely to fall into that limbo of gamers wanting to see how their hero has been presented on the big screen and those looking for a simple actioner. If it achieves any more, then it will be considered a huge success for all involved.…full story[RopeOfSilicon] The best way to describe Max Payne is to say that if it was a better movie it wouldn’t be called Max Payne and need a video game association to gain attention. Video game adaptations continue to prove they are not a viable option for a good movie, just a movie to be sold to 14-year-old gamers willing to leave their Playstation long enough to watch a movie that isn’t far from the digital world they spend the majority of their lives in; lifeless and without reason…full story[THR] The writer of this script is Beau Thorne, who is described simply as “a recent graduate of the University of Texas film program.” Which makes him perfect for such an assignment. He knows enough about cinema to borrow from here and there but not old enough to be embarrassed about how badly he does so…full story