Max Payne movie review: Cold-case cop Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) longs to avenge the murder of his wife and child, for which he is the prime suspect. (Original, right?) When he's also suspected of killing a slinky Russian babe (Olga Kurylenko), Max teams up with the gal's sister (Mila Kunis) to find the killer, avoid the police, get the revenge they seek and figure out what's up with the giant winged creatures they see lurking in the shadows. Beau Bridges also stars as Max's dad's former partner, with Chris Ludacris Bridges as an internal affairs officer without much to do.
The buzz: Movies based on video games rarely achieve anything better than unintentional humor these days. (Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark is a modern comedy classic, though not on purpose.) At least Max Payne, which boasts a reasonably cool-looking trailer, isn't directed by Boll, but, well, helmer John Moore (The Omen) isn't exactly Tarantino either.
The verdict: Better for what it isn't than what it is, Max Payne is silly, harmless and the kind of movie that makes you wish you were 13 again. (Even if the movie probably should have cranked things up and stuck with the initial R-rated cut.) When it's creepy and cool, the film turns New York into a perpetually dark, snowy lair of the damned, and usefully incorporates slow motion into its shoot-em-ups. The story seems to be running on backup power, though, cribbing lots from other movies—hell, the plot's got very similar DNA to The Fugitive—while Moore's unable to really turn chilly menace into tough, action-packed fun. No performance rises to the top, and it's a judgment call if a hot babe here and a bullet-ridden sequence there are enough to warrant a post-movie high-five.
Box Office: Despite negative reviews from critics, Max Payne opened #1 in the box office with $17,639,849 on its first weekend. The film has grossed $40,689,393 in the United States and Canada, with $44,677,000 in foreign markets, making a worldwide total of $85,366,393.