Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Things you’ll learn from watching Max Payne:

leading man Mark Wahlberg is part of the 10% of the adult population that’s left-handed, suggesting that he’s a more-than-normally-creative person. Witness his rather novel ‘overhead’ handling of a pump-action shotgun.

Unfortunately, when it comes to originality, ballistic gymnastics is pretty much the movie’s only ticket. No surprises there – this is an action film based on a shoot-em-up computer game that wants to be an action film – but it’s always nice to have a few fleshed-out characters to dispatch and receive the bullets, and a few coherent story strands to connect them.

As it is, the film propels its various two-dimensional personalities using a series of narrative non sequiturs; whenever it seems like the trail’s gone cold, somebody will randomly check a previously unmentioned lead, or an entirely new character will make a cameo appearance in order to dispense vital information.

If only the destination was worth the effort, this would be excusable, but the fact is that Max Payne fails to deliver even in the senseless-violence stakes. There are only two or three action sequences worthy of the name, and they’re pretty forgettable.

Max’s main weapon is his lack of social skills, and here at least he is wanton – alienating colleagues and rejecting the advances of outrageously nubile femme fatales with a sullen perseverance that looks just a little bit like boredom. After 100 minutes of stock characters, unintelligible plot twists and gloomy cinematography, you’ll be able to empathise. At least it was educational.

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