The film noir influences on the Max Payne video game series made a cinematic outing inevitable, but John Moore’s abortive fantasy-thriller exemplifies everything that’s wrong with console to big-screen crossovers.
Jockstrap-fresh from his rehash of The Omen, Moore has cast a bored-looking Mark Wahlberg as the haunted cop of the title, whose mourning over his dead wife and child is given focus when Max discovers corruption inside both the police force and the chemical-company where his wife worked. After negotiating a few rain-sodden conversations, tearful funerals, incriminating folders of evidence and other turgid police procedural clichés, Payne uncovers a conspiracy involving a drug which transforms some ordinary soldiers into battle-hardened warriors, but causes terrifying hallucinations for others. The film’s ludicrous story gains nothing from a straight-faced, witless treatment by Moore, with Wahlberg’s snarly sourpuss expression not helping as Payne struggles to solve a mystery the audience will have figured out during the opening credits. Further weakened by lacklustre support from a B-list cast including a podgy Beau Bridges, rapper Ludacris, an even pudgier Chris O’Donnell and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, Max Payne’s thud and blunder plays out as all pain and no gain.
General release from Fri 14 Nov.