Based on the video game from Rockstar, MAX PAYNE stars Mark Wahlberg as a New York City cop out to avenge his slain wife and child, and heaven help anyone who gets in his blood-strewn way. The trail leads him into a network of shady characters mixed up with an experimental drug that causes super strength and fearlessness, as well as wild hallucinations of winged angels and demons. As Max gets closer and closer to the truth, he finds himself the target of a massive police manhunt, and in the crosshairs of the powerful kingpin behind the racket; soon enough, the angels and demons become downright deadly. Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) is a beautiful Russian party girl who winds up dead after a late-night visit to Max's pad; her assassin sister (Mila Kunis) first goes after Max, then tries to help him get some answers. Rap star Ludacris (here credited as Chris Bridges) is a tough internal affairs cop investigating Payne's behavior.
Shot in an impressively grungy palette of high-contrast grays and blacks, with snow and sheets of rain soaking the grim atmosphere, New York City is brilliantly morphed into something like Gotham City by way of Detroit, with a touch of X-FILES-style supernatural dread looming over everything. Director John Moore knows how to stage his action scenes: offices blow up, big chunks of rubble crush police cars, bodies and shattered glass suspend in mid-air for some of the slowest slow-mo moments in action film history. Fans of the video game and/or action movies in general should get a kick out of all the mega-loud insanity, stylish design, and Wahlberg, who never changes his mean expression, but still commands the screen.