Based on early reviews, it sounded like Max Payne's movie adaptation was the worst thing to hit movie theaters since... what was the last Uwe Boll flick? Postal, right? Now that I've seen it, I can honestly say that it certainly isn't that awful. That being said, Max Payne is not the movie that will break the game-adaptation curse; it gets far more things wrong than it manages to get right.
Anyone who played through the original game and remembers its story will be disappointed by the hackjob done to it in order to fit things into a couple hours of screen time. There are a number of overlapping elements, but the plot in the movie is far less elegant than the games; too much time is spent trying to develop a pointless back story, and too many useless characters are randomly introduced and then discarded. Meanwhile, many major plot points are resolved extremely abruptly, only to have equally huge events take their place with no explanation.
Not only does Max Payne sport a rotten script, but it also seems incapable of delivering consistent action scenes. Some of the scenes are wonderfully shot, with both Max and his partner-in-vengeance Mona Sax looking appropriately amazing as they gun down their enemies. Sadly, most of the gunfights and combat simply feels clunky and amateurish, often making it difficult to follow what's going on. And no, before you ask, bullet time sequences do not make an appearance.
So what does the movie do well? Well, both Mark Walhberg and Mila Kunis do the best they can with the material. Not only that, but most of the actors in Max Payne are pretty decent: Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Nelly Furtado, even poor Chris O'Donnell with his five minutes of screen time comes across as believable. But where the movie shines–when it does rarely–is in the visuals department. There are several shots in the film which look fantastic, especially during the last half hour or so... the problem is that almost none of them feel like they fit into the plot. Yes, yes: the parts showing Max's apocalyptic hallucinations of winged Valkyries swarming about him during the final action sequences are lovely. No: none of us are entirely sure what purpose that serves.
Throughout the screening, I kept getting the feeling that I was actually watching parts of two entirely different different movies: the Max Payne that director John Moore wanted to make and the one that actually was made. The former, I think, would have resulted in something much more artistic, with some great comic book touches of style, and probably would have been a highly enjoyable viewing experience. What we have, instead, is a clumsy action movie with a nonsensical plot that teases us with glimpses at its unrealized potential.Original here