Max Payne: Unrated [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (17th March 2009).
The Film

Have you ever watched a film and just as it ended you had trouble remembering anything about it? I’ve had this strange occurrence happen to me before, in this case it was with “Max Payne” a film so painfully terrible I’m pretty certain my brain chose to shut down completely as to not be permanently damaged by the dreadful film I subjected myself to. I’m not familiar with the video game in which this film is based but I doubt it was as boring or unmemorable as the film was. I’m also surprised that director John Moore continues to get work, his previous films aren’t anything to write home about, he can be considered on par with filmmakers like Rob Cohen, Stephen Sommers or Paul W.S. Anderson. Hopefully studio executives will finally put a final nail in the coffin that is Moore’s career and we won’t have to be subjected to any more films like this.

The basic premise of this film follows Detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) investigating the deaths of his wife and daughter, while on the trail of the killer he falls into a dark underworld and uncovers a conspiracy and the involvement of a company… or something like that, considering the amount of inane exposition, it’ll make your head spin. Somewhere in there people also take drugs and see creepy flying creatures called Valkyries.

There’s so much about this film that truly sucks that it’s hard to determine exactly where to start! But I’ll try… to being with I’m pretty sure someone injected Wahlberg with some sort of relaxant because his performance is monotone at best. He virtually walks right through this film as if a zombie, the last time audiences witnessed such terrible acting from Wahlberg it was in a film called “The Happening” (2008) and that was painful for all involved, especially the audience. So he repeats said style of performance here and basically hammers audiences over the head with his boring and lazy delivery. The film also features uninteresting and forgettable performances from co-stars Mila Kunis (seriously whose idea was this? Does anyone seriously think Mila can actually act?), Beau Bridges (Who continues to prove his brother is the better one), Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and Robin himself, Chris O’Donnell, who frankly looks old and tired (maybe he got that way from being in this film?).

Furthermore, the film’s plot is hard to follow, terribly constructed and simply leaves viewers with a giant headache, after 30 minutes I simply could not take anymore scenes of people talk endlessly either in the rain or the snow or in a dark but grizzly location, or Wahlberg getting information from various lowlifes and scumbags. In fact the only good thing about this film is its aesthetic, Moore may not be able to construct a decent movie, or direct passionate performances from his cast but he does know who to direct a cinematographer into delivering a striking image. He’s also pretty adept at designing a fairly decent production with striking sets and effects.

Sadly the production design and photography are the only things that this film has going for it, and frankly that’s just not enough to warrant viewership. If the filmmaker’s spent the same amount of time they developing the look (The production spent eight weeks building the Aesir Headquarters) into developing the script and hiring a more competent director then “Max Payne” could have been a better film… but instead we get a badly acted forgettable action-thriller that barely passes as a film.

This disc comes equipped with both the original "Theatrical Cut" version of the film as well as an "Unrated Director's Cut" version that features an additional 3 minutes of footage and added CGI blood for intensity.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 this high-definition transfer is 1080p 24/fps and has been mastered with AVC MPEG-4 compression. While the film itself maybe absolute rubbish, the transfer is simply first rate. This reference quality image is striking in all the right places, the sharpness is immaculate, detail is incredible from the subtle costume details to the grand sets, cityscapes and other aspects of the production design shine through. The colors are dark and deep, black levels are impressive and grain is minimal. This is a pristine image without any visible flaws.

Audio

Three audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as standard Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in both French and Spanish. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD and much like the image itself the audio delivers in spades. Dialogue is crisp, clear and distortion free, but the real treat here is the aggressive nature of this surround, with deep bass that rumbles your sub woofer to the action scenes that envelope the viewer into the scene. You'll swear that bullets are flying across your living room, music is moody and well placed, as are the ambient and environmental surrounds. Overall the sound mix is top notch.
Optional subtitles are included in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Spanish.

Extras

Fox has released this film with an audio commentary, two featurettes, an animated graphic novel, some picture-in-picture extras and bonus trailers as well as a digital copy of the film. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE:

First up we've got a feature-length audio commentary by director John Moore, production designer Daniel Dorrance and visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell, as you might be able to guess from those participating in the track this mainly focuses on the look of the film, the tone and creative process they underwent to create the aesthetic of the feature. They chat non-stop throughout the film and provide viewers with a closer look at the technical aspects. It's a fairly dry track that's lacking in any character and will only interest a select group of people that are genuinely curious about the post-production process. Otherwise skip it, as it will bore you.

"Picture: Part 1" featurette runs for 29 minutes 1 seconds and is the first in a 2-part behind-the-scenes special that takes through the first stages of production. Featured here are ample amounts of production footage, interviews with key cast and crew and provides a decent look at the making of the film.

"Picture: Part 2" is the next featurette which runs for 29 minutes 39 seconds and picks up where the last clip left off, and takes through to the end of the production as it features more of the same as before, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. We get a cool insight into the production and the challenges faced by the cast and crew, as there's plenty of candid moments on set. As far as making-of's go these clips are pretty good, but they only cover the production, it would have been good to explore the post-production as well.

"Michele Payne: Graphic Novel" is an animated graphic novel that runs for 13 minutes 39 seconds, the purpose of which is to provide a prequel to the film in animated form and leading up to her death.

Next up are a collection of bonus trailers for:

- "Valkyrie" which runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds.
- "Babylon A.D." which runs for 2 minutes.
- "Mirrors" which runs for 2 minutes 25 seconds.

The disc also features some Blu-ray exclusive extras with two "Bonus View" Picture-in-picture video commentaries for profile 1.1 players or greater, but for those without a player capable of playing this feature you can watch the clips separately:

- The first of the PiP features is "Walkthroughs and Cheats: Making Max Payne" which includes a series of 32 clips that play while you watch the film, the clips are fly-on-the-wall style behind-the-scenes videos that show the cast and crew shooting the various key scenes from the film. You'll get some cool footage from the production as well as the occasional interview from a cast member or crew. The total run time of these clips is 53 minutes 23 seconds and include:

-- "Cold Case Office"
-- "Subway Station"
-- "Trevor's Party"
-- "Max Looks For Olga"
-- "Olga Attacked"
-- "Tattoo Make-up"
-- "Mila Kunis Bar"
-- "Max's Guns"
-- "Funeral Reception"
-- "Ludacris Encounter
-- "Police Office"
-- "Alley"
-- "Green Screen Jump"
-- "Jump Pre-vis"
-- "Vile"
-- "Voodoo"
-- "Meeting Colvin"
-- "Shoot Out"
-- "Mila Kunis Gun"
-- "Raglan and Rock"
-- "Lupino & Payne"
-- "BB?"
-- "Frozen Bridge"
-- "Ice Water"
-- "Green Screen Bridge"
-- "Hallucinations"
-- "Attacking Aesir"
-- "Seeing Demons"
-- "Not Finished"
-- "Aesir Falls"
-- "One Last Bullet"
-- "Last Shot"

- The next PiP feature is "Behind-the-Scenes with Director John Moore" and is basically a video diary following the director around during the production as he shows us through the various props, sets and also in directing scenes from the film. There are a total of 15 clips that run for 29 minutes 12 seconds and include:

-- "Gun"
-- "Bitter Irony"
-- "Bloody Alley"
-- "Quiet Pieces"
-- "Tattoo Shop"
-- "Props"
-- "Max World"
-- "Parking Lot"
-- "Warehouse"
-- "Stunt Bridge"
-- "Monitor"
-- "Gun Shelf"
-- "Gun Shelf"
-- "Monitor II"
-- "Hallway"

Finally the film is D-Box enabled for those that have the equipment.

DISC TWO:

The only extra on this disc is the digital copy of the film.

Overall

The Film: F Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: B Overall: D+

 


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