Alright so we’ve covered an adaptation of a tech product and a TV show. Time to get down to real business because this week for our Action entry is the always reliable video game adaptation. There have been numerous adaptations over the years and none (NONE!) have actually achieved a fresh RT score. In fact, it’s incredibly rare for a video game adaptation to escape qualification for BMT (Angry Birds being the most recent). So we had a lot to choose from and went for a film that’s been on our BMT radar for years. That’s right! We’re nabbing the Mark Wahlberg classic Max Payne. There was a moment in time where it looked like Wahlberg’s career might be headed to a dark place. Just two years after getting an Oscar nomination for The Departed he did The Happening and Max Payne in the same year! Incredible. Of course he rallied and is now one of the biggest movie stars on the planet so good for him. Keep making those Transformers for us. Let’s go!
Max Payne (2008) – BMeTric: 54.5
(Always a good sign when the rating is unchanged for years on end effectively. And that’s a lotta votes. Definitely a popular below average rated film if I’ve ever seen one.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – A Dirty Harry-like homicide cop (Wahlberg) seeks revenge against the killers of his loved ones. Good-looking film falls flat dramatically. There’s plenty of gore, though it’s not graphic enough to earn this an R rating. Based on a popular video game.
(Loving the hyphen game as usual from Leonard. The visual style certainly looks unique, along the lines of Sin City and 300. That can be hit or miss, and is certainly isn’t particularly popular at the moment.)
(Oooooof the voice over start. And jesus this could not be more stylized with the music and the visual design. I remember the visual of the guy getting pulled out of the building from when this trailer came out … I was unimpressed then. The trailer kind of makes the film look like crap.)
Directors – John Moore – (Future BMT: The Omen; I.T.; Flight of the Phoenix; Behind Enemy Lines; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard; Max Payne; Notes: Irish. He started in commercials and got his big break after creating the launch add for the Sega Dreamcast (RIP). It was apparently “so visually impressive” that they offered him a $40 million action film. While I don’t buy that, I do love commercial directors making films.)
Writers – Beau Thorne (screenplay) – (BMT: Max Payne; Notes: What are the odds of two Beaus involved in the same movie, I wonder if him and Beau Bridges hung out. He is apparently best friends with Bryan Bertino a writer-producer of horror films.)
Sam Lake (video game by Remedy Entertainment and 3-D Realms Entertainment) – (BMT: Max Payne; Notes: Finnish, he wrote the screenplay for many Remedy Entertainment video games around that time as he is good friends with the founder Petri Järvilehto. His real name is Sami Järvi, Järvi is Finnish for Lake.)
Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: All the Money in the World; The Departed; Deepwater Horizon; Patriots Day; Ted 2; Boogie Nights; Ted; Shooter; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; The Italian Job; The Other Guys; Pain & Gain; 2 Guns; The Fighter; Four Brothers; Rock Star; Date Night; Three Kings; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Max Payne; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Bomb, just watched him in yet another Transformers film. We need to get our hands on his fitness documentary Creating Form… Focus… Fitness, the Marky Mark Workout from 1993. That shit is def bananas.)
Mila Kunis – (Known For: Bad Moms; Black Swan; Ted; Friends with Benefits; Oz the Great and Powerful; The Book of Eli; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Date Night; Blood Ties; Get Over It; Extract; Piranha; Future BMT: Annie; Krippendorf’s Tribe; The Angriest Man in Brooklyn; Moving McAllister; A Bad Moms Christmas; The Color of Time; Third Person; BMT: Jupiter Ascending; Max Payne; Notes: Married to Ashton Kutcher now. She had to lie about her age in order to get her big break in That 70s Show, which she started on when she was 15 (gross). In the first episode Kutcher (who was 20) was making out with a 15-year-old on camera … g-g-g-gross)
Beau Bridges – (Known For: The Mountain Between Us; Jerry Maguire; The Descendants; Charlotte’s Web; The Ballad of Jack and Rose; Hit and Run; The Tale of the Princess Kaguya; From Up on Poppy Hill; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Eden; The Hotel New Hampshire; Norma Rae; The Landlord; Heart Like a Wheel; Force of Evil; The Incident; The Runner Stumbles; For Love of Ivy; Gaily, Gaily; Hammersmith Is Out; Future BMT: Sidekicks; Village of the Giants; The Good German; The Wizard; RocketMan; Spinning Into Butter; Two-Minute Warning; Rushlights; BMT: Max Payne; Notes: The older brother of actor Jeff Bridges. He is nearly 80. Fun facts about this dude: he was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1969. He is only 5’ 10’’ but played basketball for UCLA in probably like 1959. His father is Lloyd Bridges from Airplane!)
Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $40,689,393 (Worldwide: $85,416,905)
(That isn’t great, considering it is an action film you would hope you’d get to $100 million at least. The domestic total also isn’t very impressive, especially at the time. But I also wouldn’t necessarily call it a bomb. One Bud Light ad and you’re good to go.)
#16 for the Video Game Adaptation genre
(During the 2000s they were trying so hard to make video game films a thing. They’ve never really done well though. Famously, there has never been a “fresh” video game adaptation on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen Warcraft, Silent Hill, Silent Hill: Revelations, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, Hitman, Hitman: Agent 47, Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Doom, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Wing Commander, … YIKES.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/134): While it boasts some stylish action, Max Payne suffers severely from an illogical plot and overdirection.
(Yiiiiiiiiiiis. Over direction and illogical plots are my jam. A very impressive critical bomb, probably among the worst of the major released in 2008. Finally getting that street cred going.)
Poster – Max Sklog (B)
(Give it props for bold choices, most of them good. Feels a little empty and amateurish, but maybe just because it’s different than most posters. Also never a huge fan of black as a primary color, but better than white.)
Tagline(s) – None! (F——)
(Oh fuck you, Max Payne. You too good for a tagline? Is that what it is? I’m sure you could have whipped up an OK pun on the name Payne.)
Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.5 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.4 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 83.9 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.0 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.6 Far Cry (2008); 69.6 Wing Commander (1999);
(Just because we refuse to do all of the Uwe Boll films, we kind of get screwed here. BTW, check out last week’s Hall of Fame inductee: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale! It is straight garbage juice.)
Notes – The game designers at 3D-Realms were apparently unimpressed by the motion picture adaptation. (literally no game design stoudio has ever been impressed with a film adaptation)
The extra scene after the end credits was supposed to set the stage for a sequel. But due to the film’s poor performance at the box-office, 20th Century Fox decided to abandon plans for a sequel.
James McCaffrey, the voice of Max Payne in the video game franchise, makes a cameo as the FBI Agent that Lieutenant Jim Bravura introduces to the “real” police officer. He also shows up near the end of the film, asking if Bravura is alright, before calling in Division One over the radio. (cool)
Due to the PG-13 rating that the studio wanted, John Moore filmed two versions of the two biggest action sequences in the film, a) The Aesir Swat Building Shoot-out, and b) Max Payne’s attack on the Aesir building starting from the parking garage scene. John Moore filmed a version with impact squibs (seen in the PG-13 cut) and one with bloody wound squibs. Moore also stated that the parking garage scene during the filming of using the blood wound squibs was “one of the bloodiest shootouts he has ever filmed”.
In the film, Valkyries are shown as male. In Norse Mythology, all Valkyries are female. They are also referred to as “Odin’s Girls” for the same reason. (What is this? A fourth grade Norse Mythology Unit?)
Early in the film, Max beats up three thugs in the Roscoe Street subway station. This fictitious station is the setting of one of the first levels in the video game, where DEA Agent Alex Balder (upon whom the film’s Detective Alex Balder is based) is murdered.
Mark Wahlberg reportedly never played the video game, as he didn’t want to become addicted, and felt the script connected him to the story enough. (We have something in common then)
Very little of the movie was actually shot on greenscreen. Instead, Director John Moore opted to shoot in Toronto during the night, in order to add extra reality to his actors’ reactions.
The name of the club is RAGLAN AND BROCK. Some of the letters are burned out and it makes the sign look like it reads RAG NA ROCK. (Cool Norse mythology shit)
Olga Kurylenko’s second movie based on a video game. The first was Hitman (2007). (Noice)
Voted online as “One of the worst movies ever made”.(Not so noice)
Max keeps most of the stuff from his old house in a shipping container at a place called Gognitti’s Self-Storage. The place is named after Mafia Lieutenant Vinnie Gognitti, one of the video game’s minor villains.
The trailer for Max Payne is seen playing on a television in the background of Ari Gold’s office in Entourage (2004) – a show produced by Mark Wahlberg. (Gross)
John Moore has said that he tried to please fan requests as much and frequently as possible. (Almost always a mistake)
In the post-credits scene, as Max Payne walks into the bar, a marquee across the street reading “Forgotten Rebels” and “The 3Tards” is visible. Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff Campbell is the guitarist for the punk band Forgotten Rebels. “The 3Tards” is a shout-out to the fellow Ontario-born punk band (both have played shows together, including during post-production of “Max Payne”). (The 3tards is one of the worst names for a band I’ve ever seen)
This is the second video game adaptation Olga Kurylenko appears in, the other being Hitman (2007). Coincidentally they both feature former Prison Break (2005) actors as antagonists. (Everyone knows I love me some Prison Break)
Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Mark Wahlberg)