Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diversion 2.0 Thirty Day Movie Challenge -- Day 23

Day 23 – A Movie You Walked Out Of/Straight-Up Stopped Watching

In general, if I decide to watch a movie, I’m in it for the long haul, whether the movie’s great or terrible. It generally takes a hell of a lot for me to quit right in the middle—partially because of principle, but mostly because I want to see what happens. The only movie I’ve ever walked out of theatrically is Kick-Ass, but because writing about that flick would result in yet another exercise in BLAH BLAH GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE AS COMEDY BLAH BLAH NOT MY BAG BLAH BLAH WHINE MOPE GRIND, I’m going to discuss the only other prominent movie I can think of where I just said, “Eff it.”

Max Payne (2008)

As I mentioned on Day 18, there have been many adaptations of video games in cinema. Most have been bad, a few have been good, and none of them have been as outright dull as Max Payne. It’s not as though the film besmirched the name of a classic franchise I both knew and love (this is only partially true; I enjoyed the original Max Payne on the Xbox and PC, but I wasn’t about to have its babies anytime soon), but it sure created one boring mess of a film noir.

Max Payne is the story of the eponymous New York police detective (Mark Walberg) as he attempts to discover the murderer of his wife and child. The movie’s twisty, labyrinthine narrative leads Max to investigate a new drug called Valkyr, and its connection to the Aesir Corporation (see what they’re doing there?). Beyond that are some elements involving conspiracies, undercover investigations, and entirely too much of a black-leather-goth-vibe to be found in a film not part of the Underworld franchise. There’s also some sort of weird supernatural element makes absolutely no sense, and was not found in the game source material.

Apparently Max Payne's signature shoot-dodge is used in the movie's later action sequences. I wouldn't know; I didn't make it that far.

Max Payne’s greatest sin is not that it’s a bad film (though I can confidently say that it is), but that’s it’s so incredibly uninteresting. There are some neat aspects to Max Payne’s storyline, but they’re all hidden under a thick layer of gloom and Commitment To Storytelling. I approve of the film’s decision to try to be a gritty detective story, but the plot meanders so greatly, I couldn’t even find myself caring enough to go further. I read on Wikipedia that the film eventually turns into bombastic action scenes once it reaches the third act, but I was only able to get through about 45 minutes before indifference overtook me.

The Max Payne license seems ripe for a film adaptation; I love a good film noir, and the original PC game had some great dime-novel detective moments. That said, this 2008 montage of boredom sure ain’t it.

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