For a movie based on a video game, there's a curious dearth of action in Max Payne. I know we've often complained that these movies were ALL action and NO substance, but this one has gone in the opposite direction. Well, except there's not really any substance, either. So it went in the opposite direction, but only part of the way. It stopped in the middle and is now a one-dimensional detective noir rather than an exciting shoot-em-up.
By the way, I have never played the Max Payne video game. Does this disqualify me from reviewing the movie? Then stop reading now! Cuz I'm totally about to review the hell out of it anyway.
Mark Wahlberg takes a break from his talking-to-animals duties to play the title character, a New York City police detective whose wife and baby were murdered three years ago by three assailants, one of whom escaped and was never identified. (The other two are dead and thus unhelpful.) Max now works in the cold case bureau of the department, basically pushing papers around all day so he can focus his efforts on his real objective: finding the guy who killed his family.
Following a lead, he winds up in the company of a sultry Russian named, like all sultry Russians, Natasha (Olga Kurylenko), whose sister, Mona (Mila Kunis), is a villain of some kind. (Assassin? Gangster? At one point Mona reminds Max, "You know what I do for a living," and I thought, "Well, that makes one of us.") Natasha winds up dead with Max's wallet nearby, making him a suspect. The subsequent death of a police officer in Max's apartment makes things look even worse.