Mark Wahlberg is game in Max Payne.
MAX PAYNE (D: John Moore, 99 min)open Friday (October 17). Screened after press time – see reviews October 17. Rating: NN
Max Payne is just plain painful to watch.
Based on the hyper-violent video game, it stars Mark Wahlberg as a disgraced and disgruntled cop trying to uncover who murdered his family. Was it the Russian Mafia gunslinger played by That 70s Show's Mila Kunis? The affable ex-cop and family friend played by Beau Bridges? The sweaty pharmaceutical rep played by Chris O'Donnell? Maybe it was the internal affairs detective in the Inspector Clousseau outfit played by rapper Ludacris, or perhaps Nelly Furtado, who pops up for half a second as some character I can't quite recall.
The prime suspects, though, are the creepy black-winged angels everybody keeps seeing and the muscle-y bald guy with the big knives who looks like Kratos from God Of War. Doesn't matter. The story's really about the suffering of Payne, whose demons can only be exorcised through the spending of thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Wahlberg, who gave off good vibrations in Boogie Nights and The Departed, turns in his second-most-plastic performance this year (after the not-so-happening The Happening).
But it's not all his fault. If the filmmakers had paid as much attention to the script as they did to the cinematography, which is all stylishly Sin City-ish and suitably apocalyptic, this could have been a fun ride.
Eventually, Hollywood will discover the secret to the video game formula. Or maybe it will give up altogether and start adapting infomercials. Then Marky Mark can strip to his Calvins for Bowflex: The Motion Picture.