Unless my tongue has ventured to a place the rest of my head prefers to avoid.
As Mark Wahlberg vehicles go, this one’s stuck at the intersection of “What?” Street and “Why?” Avenue.
The setting: New York City. Or at least the version of New York that’s virtually deserted – where the sun shines blue-green, snow is always swirling gently (but never collecting), and the only thing scarcer than a well-lit scene is an immigrant of non-Russian descent.
“Why are light bulbs on the endangered species list?” asked Beau Bridges.
“Light was a line item in the Jeff Bridges budget. This is the Beau Bridges budget, and it comes only with a box of candles and two sparklers,” said director John Moore.
All the bad guys in this movie have matching wing tattoos. “And shoes and handbags, too,” said one surly, burly scumbag fresh from the latest prison yard casting call.
What’s more, this wing tattoo happens to match the logo of a pharmaceutical company, and it’s related to the mysterious deaths of those who bear it. Hey, your tattoo is a pharmaceutical company logo! Side effects include nausea, vomiting, headaches, heartburn, hair loss, diarrhea, dry mouth, death, tickets to Barbra Streisand in concert, and spontaneous human combustion – which would make a Streisand show a lot more interesting, if you ask me. If you have an erection lasting for more than four hours call your doctor’s office – but by all means record the call because we all want to hear their reaction.
“If I had a wing tattoo,” said Mark Wahlberg, “I’d be flapping it against the head of my agent for putting me in this stinker.”
Hey, it’s Chris O’Donnell! Remember him? In an actual movie that’s shown outside his own home! On a big screen that isn’t built into his own living room wall! Where the viewer has a ticket he didn’t receive because of a DUI!
Did your barista job fall through, Chris? Who did you promise not to sleep with to get this gig?
This movie is based on a video game. Just like Beau Bridges is based on Jeff Bridges, Mark Wahlberg is based on Will Smith, and Ludacris is based on Jay-Z.
Eek! There are winged beasties soaring over us in this dark city. And they’re yanking crack-heads out of big holes in the sides of their high-rise apartments! Why any crack-head is living in a high-rise apartment with a big hole in one wall is not particularly clear. But if this were the only part of this story with a vast hole in it I wouldn’t be complaining.
Of course, the tumbling body falls smack dab into a car roof. Because the only movie cliche more common than the car roof breaking a body’s fall is the scream that merges into a teapot whistle. Not that both of these are in Max Payne, of course.
And just when things are moving along comes a slow motion battle sequence where we get to see bullets crawl through the air slower than my attention is crawling out the exit.
“Take some C4,” says the pharmaceutical company security chief to his henchman, because what midtown Manhattan pharmaceutical company doesn’t have an inventory of high explosives in a closet somewhere?
Max Payne is a remarkably limp thriller. It needs more than a wing tattoo – it needs a wing and a prayer.