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Max Payne

Hollywood currently seems to like their heroes portrayed as brooding vigilantes.  Furrowing brows and whispering deadly ideals with raspy voices, this new heroic breed has increased in popularity.  Mark Wahlberg does a good job as a scowling avenger battling evil-doers in this video game adaptation.  Sadly like most in the genre, Max Payne becomes yet another addition to the dark dreams of Nintendo nightmares.
Policeman Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is out for revenge. Still seething over the death of his wife and child six months previously, he roams the streets looking for their killers.  On his travels he meets Natasha (Olga Kurylenko) and her sister Mona (Mila Kunis).  Both women provide him with clues leading to a pharmaceutical company for which his wife used to work.  To his horror, Max discovers the company does more than cure people of their ills uncovering an almost supernatural conspiracy threatening to tip the world into an astral Armageddon.
Like a computer’s cut and paste function, Max Payne shamelessly pieces together a homage to more memorable films.  Starting as an urban Dirty Harry clone, events soon twist into Die Hard meets the Matrix.  This concoction of styles works against what on paper sounds like a good idea.  The hard-boiled detective investigation with a smattering of supernatural themes starts well although things gradually turn into a murky mess.  Once again another video to movie translation fails due to its inability to stick to one genre, with a story-line content in accommodating the gunplay instead of vice versa.
Bursting with far too many characters, it also suffers from unfocussed direction and poor plot construction.  Scenes potentially leading to bigger clues reach dead ends, with evidence actually discovered defying any reasonable logic. Whilst Max Payne is meant to be a fantasy, some element of realism has to be present in order for the viewer to be involved.  Despite the best efforts of the actors, who are all quite good, the multitude of personalities Max encounters puts too much pressure on a story needing to gain traction.  Its only saving graces are its amazing photography and pounding soundtrack putting audiences right in the thick of the well staged action sequences.
Video games have come a long way from the days of Space Invaders and Pacman.  Although one of the classic gaming pioneers, Space Invaders ironically has yet to be granted the celluloid treatment.  It would perhaps be better than this effort proving movies based on games have yet to rise above being Atari atrocities.
Rating out of 10:  2 

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