Most of the reviews I've read out there for this movie have been from huge fans of the video game. Well, now you have one from somebody who has never even played the game at all. Three years after Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) lost his wife and baby to robbers/murderers, he's still on the case trying to find the third member of the people who did it. Along the way he gets help from his old partner, Alex (Donal Logue); a mysterious woman, Mona (Mila Kunis); an old friend, BB (Beau Bridges); and a detective, Jim Bravura (Chris ‘Ludacris' Bridges). They slowly start to discover that his family's murder is tied to another set of gruesome murders that are linked together by some kind of Valkyrie tattoo and drug.
I'm not exactly sure what to say about this movie. It was bizarre, to say the least. As for characters, none of them show much of any development with the exception of maybe Detective Bravura, but that's mostly because of how his character figures things out. The character of Mona seems random and unexplained. I had no idea who or what she was (Super gangster? Assassin? Government?) until I read up on the imdb summary that she was an assassin. Nothing about her character is explained, and her sister seemed to only be there as a plot device. The same thing went for Alex; he was only in the movie for plot development and nothing else. There were other characters like this, too, but I'll leave it at that for now. And another thing that was never explained in too much detail were the Valkyries. Were they real or just hallucinations? It was as if some of the stuff could have been explained had they been fake, though some of the things would be pushing it. And if they were just hallucinations, why push their involvement so much toward the ending? Just for neat special effects?
And speaking of special effects, they really were done very well. Visually, the movie was amazing, from the special effects to the cinematography. Though I was kind of upset with the fact that the awesome ‘snow-on-the-gun' scene as shown in the trailer wasn't in the movie. I know exactly where the scene would have been, too, but it looks like they used a different (and less cool) cut. Oh well. But they did almost overuse slow motion/bullet time. And I don't mean that in the way that it was all over the place, but rather when it was used, it was used for too long at a time. For instance, in one scene where Max bends backwards to shoot somebody, the whole thing is in slow motion, so a scene that normally would have taken one or two seconds takes nearly an entire minute to get through.
To take this a step further and discuss acting, I would have to say that it actually wasn't bad. Everybody did a pretty good job, from Marky Mark to Ludacris and even Mila Kunis (though she seemed to be a bit awkward in the role of a badass). Oh, and the random appearance by Chris O'Donnell was fun. I hadn't seen him in a movie since... hell... he played Robin. And even he did a pretty good job for his small role. And are there any Heroes fans out there? There's a brief scene (seriously, about 10-15 seconds) that has the actress who plays Daphne in the new season. At least, I swear it was her. Anyway, that was just a random catch.
The biggest negatives that the movie has been getting have dealt with the super slow beginning and/or lack of action. The trailer shows the movie to be this non-stop, sci-fi /horror, action flick, and it isn't. The whole first half of the movie is mystery/noir, and it builds up very slowly. However, this didn't really bother me too much. But then again, I don't mind some slow mystery to my action movies and don't need non-stop mindless explosions for it to be a good film. The last half of the movie, though, is where the action really picks up, and it's all pretty cool, though I think the climax was highly underdone and could have been a lot more fulfilling.
Overall, it was an interesting, though slightly confusing at times, movie. It could have done with more character development and a bit more explanations of things, as well. Also, that ‘almost-nudity' toward the beginning was harsh. It reminded me a lot of Underworld 2 wherein the camera was in just the right spots to miss exactly everything. It was a rough PG-13 anyway... it should have pushed it a little further. But that's just me. It wasn't the greatest movie in the world, but definitely not the worst. And if you know Norse mythology (like me), or you're just observant, the first big twist in the movie won't really come as a shocker. And if you're a fan of movies whatsoever, the second twist won't come as a shock, either, because it's the kind of thing that's pulled all the time. Otherwise, fun action and great visuals.