Wednesday, October 1, 2008

COMING SOON: Max Payne (2008)

The curse surrounding the fate of film adoptations of video games is common knowledge. As much as people pray that there is a special place in Hell for Uwe Boll and that it is kept very warm in anticipation of his inevitable arrival, the guy is merely perpetuating a sin. Uwe's not the wellspring for the disaster that is the garden variety video game movie.

Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, and Silent Hill were perfectly fine at being awful without the directorial effort of Mr. Boll.

The worst thing is that all gamers are co-conspirators. There are titles that we love so much that wanting to see them on the silver screen becomes an all-consuming desire. When the films are finally made, gamers learn the hard lesson of what happens when you get what you wish for.

And still, we hope beyond hope that when our favorite game gets a Hollywood makeover, the results will be flattering.

That being said, I'm currently in a constant state of dread mixed with euphoria concerning the pending release of Max Payne.

From the looks of the trailer it appears that director John Moore is on the right track. If the trailer is an indicator, the film seems to hold Max Payne's game lore in high esteem. All of the elements seem to be in place from the heavy Norse mythology references to the snappy, ominious dialogue and the beloved Bullet Time effects.

More importantly, the film seems to present these elements in a way that is neither pretentious nor stupid.

Mark Wahlberg looks comfortable as our tortured hero, but I'm not quite sold on the casting of Mila Kunis as femme fatale, Mona Sax. The casting of Ludacris as Jim Bravura is also kinda weird. I loved Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin in Daredevil, so my problem with Ludacris as Bravura isn't about race as much as it is that Bravura is a elder statesman in Payne's life and is sort of an old curmudgeon.

The casting of Ludacris stings of a decision based on the notion that being hip is more important than being accurate. Still, Ludacris was one of the few bright spots in the otherwise lackluster 2 Fast 2 Furious so he may prove me wrong.

The heavy, gothic tone of the trailers gives me hope that Max Payne has stuck to its guns (no pun intended) and will a bright spot of the Fall 2008 movie season.

But I have no illusions. Max Payne will either be really good.. or really awful...


Doug Tilley said...

It does look interesting, but I run way more cold than hot in regards to Malk Wahlberg these days. It takes a special director to make his performances work, and i'm not sure this will do the trick.

J.T. said...

I agree about the director's observation. It seems as though the best way to see whether or not a director sucks is to cast Wahlberg in his movie and see if Wahlberg's performance is noteworthy in a good way.

I still have fond memories of The Big Hit, Fear, and The Departed so I hope that Wahlberg will turn in a good performance in the film adoptation of one of my favorite video game series.

Doug Tilley said...

Remember that scene in BOOGIE NIGHTS where Dirk Diggler's mother is kicking him out of the house and ripping his posters from the wall? And he says "Why are you so mean?" to his mother in the whiniest possible way? In that movie that section worked (even the "maybe i'll run away where you can never find me!" bit), but his worst tendencies bring that bit to mind again and again. I'd actually given up hope on him until The Departed because of a string of bad performances, but he proved himself again in it.
It's almost sad that it's Donnie who tends to be a more consistent actor, though.