The video game of the same name that "Max Payne" is based on is literally nothing but shooting thousands of people in slow motion. Slo-mo bullet porn, and that's it. Sure, there's a story, but it's just an excuse to get you from one slaughter to the next. I would have gladly donated my right testicle to science if there was any chance the movie had actually followed this exact same convention.
Make no mistake. There is a plot with the depth of a baby pool, and it exists solely to drag the audience to the next scene, but that next scene is almost never a shootout or a slaughter. Instead we get another noir or crime cliche that has somehow become more boring than it already was. Whenever it seems something mildly interesting and original is about to happen, director John Moore finds a way to slow the pace down to a crawl and make the worst possible choice. Admittedly, that takes some skill. There aren't many people who can get away with making a movie that aims to be style over substance who then subtract the style.
The few action scenes that exist are in keeping with the movie's theme of ultimate boredom. The slow motion used is about 20 times slower than any reasonable person would expect, and the movements chosen for the effect show a severe lack of judgement usually seen only in the halls of the United States Congress. Want to see Mark Wahlberg run toward a window in super slow motion? Maybe you'd like to see his face go from serene to suprised, the transition taking a full minute?
Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is the only actual character in this movie, although it's still a stretch to call it a character. Everyone else is nothing but a plot device to move Max to the next plot device. A sorority girl with ADD could have spent more time developing a cohesive plot. This is especially the case with the assassin, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), who you wouldn't know was an assassin, even after watching the movie, unless you read the plot synopsis on IMDB. And Mona is supposed to be a main character?
This highlights another problem: Max Payne is an over-edited nightmare. It makes no fucking sense. At the end of the movie, I had an idea as to the plot and who the bad guys were, but I couldn't point to a sensible progression of how I got to these conclusions. Many scenes are devoid of any context. There's one where a person in upper management (played by Chris O'Donnell) at a Pharmaceutical company is walking and talking with the CEO of the company in their office building. A few scenes later this manager is standing on a secluded street in drenching rain and the CEO drives up in a limo so that he can hand her a packet of information. The next time we see the manager, he's back in his high-rise pharmaceutical office building with the same packet of information. Why did he have to meet her on the street? The obvious answer is that "these kinds of movies are supposed to have clandestine meetings on rainy nights, and this one hasn't had one yet".
There are also numerous examples of people suddenly appearing at the right place and the right time, with no possible way of knowing they needed to be there. We don't even get the requisite throw-away line that explains their knowledge. It's like Moore and the post-production team had 10 hours of total footage to sort through, and then lost 7 hours of it before they even began.
If I wrote 100 of the most tired and over-used movie cliches on a huge 10x10 grid, had a group of drunken monkeys throw feces at this grid for a few days, then made a screenplay based on nothing but the most shit-stained contrivances, the resulting film would have a 95% chance of being better and far more coherent than "Max Payne."
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