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Max Payne

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I actually bought the video game this movie's based on in a bargain bin but somehow never got around to playing it. Watching this film kind of reminded me of the one time I saw someone else working their way through the title: fun to watch for a little bit but really, kind of a waste of time.

Detective Max Payne's (Mark Wahlberg, The Italian Job) day job is managing records at the police station, but at night, he wanders the streets trying to track down who murdered his wife and baby. When a woman he met ends up dead, Max must avoid other cops while unraveling the mystery that led to his family's demise. Oh, and giant black demons keep getting in the way.

Since I'm not very familiar with the game, I can't say how faithful it is to the film. However, there is one very cool slow-motion shoot-'em-up scene that feels very much like a special move lifted right from the Sony console. The action feels more like game-play as the story moves forward, which is rather cool, but the script must've been set to "easy mode" since the villains all fall like mosquitoes.

The special effects are top-notch and all but one of the big-named actors involved (Wahlberg, Beau Bridges, Donal Logue) are fun to watch. Mila Kunis (TV's That '70s Show) is horribly miscast as some sort of undersized, warble-voiced crime boss.

Visually, Max Payne is a winner, but on most other fronts, it flops. My take: If you aren't a gamer, pass.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.