Max Payne is based upon the game franchise of the same name. I was sceptical when I heard of a film adaptation of the homicide detective's exploits, partly for two reasons. Firstly, I am a big fan of Max Payne, and thus wouldn't take kindly to a massacring of one of my personal heroes! Second, the distinguishing feature of the Max Payne series is bullet time, which has already been showcased in several other films with remarkably bigger budgets.
The film posters managed to enhance my anticipation. It looked like the potent noir theme of the games had been transferred across to the film. I was quietly confident about the casting of Mark Wahlberg as Max Payne, but other casting decisions weren't so easy to swallow. The transfer of Jim Bravura from an old white guy who fills a role as your boss, to a young black Internal Affairs detective seemed extremely bizarre. Maybe they were trying to fill a race quota or something. The character of Mona Sax lacked any dimension and didn't do any justice to her prominent femme fatale role in the game.
I counted a single scene that was supposed to do bullet time justice and it wasn't that remarkable. What is unforgivable about the film is the finale in which Max embarks on a drug induced frenzy. The editing and filming of these scenes was abysmal. At one point, Max's face is illuminated solely by automatic muzzle fire, but it looked more like a scene from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video. For the rest of the finale he was running around emptying clips of ammo into empty spaces. What was that all about?
Mark Wahlberg and (despite his miscasting) Ludacris, were adept in their roles, I couldn't complain there, but the film in general was a forgettable and generic affair. I can't see a sequel being planned, which is a shame, as Max Payne 2 is a much better game!