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Max Payne
Reviewed by Matthew Bey, © 2008

Format: Movie
By:   John Moore
Genre:   Video Game
Review Date:   October 22, 2008
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   2/10 (What Is This?)

Max Payne is every bit as awful as every other computer game turned movie. So rather than waste our time by talking about the movie itself, I'm going to share with you the little games I played to keep my mind occupied. That way, if you're ever trapped into watching this abomination you have something to do between gun battles.

What's that wonky set design? -- In this game you pick out all the techniques they use to make Toronto and various Toronto-based sets look like a snow-covered New York. Even though, to my knowledge, it actually snows in Toronto, none of the snow is real. Piles of snow are wads of cotton. And thanks to the wonders of digital technology, in some scenes you can actually see the tiny balls of Styrofoam that are supposed to be falling snowflakes! And even though every alley has at least three "steam" belching pipes, you never see steam in the actors' breath. Also keep an eye out for the fake graffiti and the "weathered" reams of fliers glued to the set by some poor underpaid Canadian.

What's that wonky sound design? -- There is no live sound in Max Payne. Everything you hear was added by hand by some underpaid Canadian foley artist. So what sounds did they stuff into the movie? The creak of Mark Wahlberg's leather jacket. Maybe if there was something else to pay attention to, it wouldn't be so noticeable. But even when he's offscreen: *crrrrrrek* *crrrrrrek* *crrrrrrek*! See if you can count how many times the leather makes noise.

Where have we seen that cliche before? -- Where have we seen the government super-soldier run amok? How about the mammoth corporation dealing in shady scientific research? Has there ever been a hardboiled cop out to revenge the tragic murder of his family? You get extra points for naming a cliche that appeared in a movie from earlier in the season.

What's Mark Wahlberg's facial expression? -- His jaw is clenched and his brow is furrowed. Is he confused? Constipated? Nobody knows.

What's with Kelso's girl? -- Mila Kunis breaks from her onscreen persona by playing a character who is essentially Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. How does she affect this transformation? Well, in some scenes she dresses in dominatrix-stiletto boots and in others she dresses like Patty Hearst. And she scowls a lot. The actors' art is neat, huh?

What dialogue is cribbed from the game? -- You have to figure that some of this dialogue is so awful it could only have been cut-and-pasted from a computer game originally translated from Finnish:

"I don't believe in heaven. I believe in pain."


"I'll follow you anywhere. But not there."


"You said it was for protection."

"What do you mean, 'huh'?"
What do the Aesir have to do with anything? -- There is no surer sign of creative bankruptcy than naming random things after the Norse pantheon. If you have to make your own story seem better by referencing far more interesting stories, then you know you're completely wasting everyone's time.

Matthew Bey has been playing the part of Boris for years.

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