I was so excited to see that Max Payne was being made into a film as I am a huge fan of the game and the film noir story. It was a dark, gritty tale of an ordinary man seeking revenge on those who took everything away from him.
The film adaptation is quite the opposite, and here's why...
Well, being a big fan of the game I went to see the movie as soon as it was at the cinema, and one of the first things I noticed within the first 20 minutes of the film was that there was no narration... Whatsoever!
The Max Payne games played a lot of the story out through narration, but not only that, it was used to portray Max's psyche and inner thoughts in a very dark, poetic manner. It really added a new dimension to the game, and missing that out in the film was probably there biggest mistake, but yet there's more...
I don't know whether it was just me, but after a while, Mark Whalbergs "deep voice" starts to sound so forced, that it's actually annoying after a while. In the games, Max Payne had a very natural gritty voice which really suits the film noir style.
As for the bullet time, well, in the games there was lots of opportunitys for bullet time and you'd need to use it quite frequently when facing multiple enemies. Now, I wasn't expecting for the entire film to be in slow motion action sequences, but I can only recall 2 or 3 bullet time sequences in the whole film.
One of the other major flaws are the bit players, the characters that played the villians, mainly the people who were in the film for one scene just so Max could kill them. In the game, the characters trying to kill you do seem to run around aimlessly sometimes, but what do you expect from artificial intelligence. Take this one scene for example, two guys walk into some warehouse looking for Max Payne and hear a noise, so what do they do? They spend a good few minutes shooting all over the warehouse, and when they're finished, one of them says "Hello?", then they start sneaking around quietly again after they just shot at everything. There were a lot of things like that in the film that just made it so unrealistic from what people would actually do in certain situations.
All in all, it's an extremely poor film whether you've played the game or not, and the only bit of the film I actually enjoyed was the end song of the whole film which is called "Heaven To The Max", it's a brilliant song which deserved to accompany a better film.
I blame John Moore and Mark Wahlberg mostly, for the bad direction and poor performance. In an interview for Max Payne, Mark Wahlberg was asked if he'd played the games, to which he replied "no".
I might be wrong here, but I imagined that if you're getting paid 6 digit figures for films, if not millions, then the least you'd expect from a lead role is to do their character and background research to truly understand the role that you'd be playing.
This is why I can't imagine "Marky Mark" going down in film history, instead he'll have his 15 minutes of fame and fade away like so many others.