Add to Queue 74: Disappointed in New Ways

[[image:vs090120_header.jpg:Blu-ray Releases | January 20, 2008:center:0]]
Media | A2Q Archives | A2Q on Twitter | A2Q #74 | January 20, 2009

Featured Title: Max Payne

[[image:vs090120_maxpayne.jpg:Max Payne:left:0]]The film starts and the lead character is drowning. Dubbed over those images is some of the most wretched pseudo-noir dialogue I’ve ever had the misfortune to hear. Chandler-esque noir is a tough thing to get right, and this movie barely makes the effort. Of course, they producers aren’t going to kill the eponymous Max Payne mere moments after the opening credits roll. We soon find out that Payne is an ex-homicide detective who cracked after the murder of his wife and kid, and now has a desk job in the cold cases department. He’s a loner who has alienated his former friends with his obsession over solving his wife’s murder, and he spends his nights following junkies who thinks might know something about it, attacking them in a way that shows us, the audience, that Max is a Rogue Cop Who Can’t Follow the Rules.

So, it’s a pretty dumb movie. Not only that, but it has the gall to treat the audience like we’re the dumb ones. The contrived and predictable plot points are endlessly rehashed, and they even re-air dialogue we’ve literally just heard as a voice-over while Payne is driving in the rain, looking all brooding and junk. Of course, Payne the character is even dumber. He fails to make connections between an evil corporation and a number of drug dealers despite the fact that said dealers and their users literally tattoo themselves with the corporation’s logo.

The film has a few stylistically interesting moments. There’s a brutal fight sequence featuring Payne, draped in heavy shadows, and with each impact the screen flashes red. I liked that. The heavily marketed images of dark angels are interesting to look at, if ludicrous from a plot perspective. The drug that acts as the plot’s MacGuffin, Valkyr, apparently results in hallucinations, insanity, and death in 99 out of a 100 people who take it. So why are the bad guys manufacturing and dealing the drug? How can you profit from a drug with no repeat customers? Argh. Someday there’ll be a good movie based on a video game, but that day is not today.

Also Out This Week

Election is by far the best movie hitting Blu-ray this week. A subversive comedy from another Payne, Alexander, whose filmography as director also includes Citizen Ruth, Sideways, and About Schmidt. Election is about a high school election where a highly ambitious young Tracy Flick, played by Reese Witherspoon, annoys the jaded sad-sack teacher in charge just by being so goddamned perky. Broderick as teacher is brilliant as he tries to sabotage Tracy while his own life falls apart around him.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong arrives on BD this week as well. With its release and the Blu-ray release of The Bourne Trilogy next week, it seems like all of the major HD-DVD exclusives have finally transitioned to the winning high-definition optical disk format. Of course, only time will tell if the iPod generation even cares about physical media enough to keep BD afloat in an age where streaming video is becoming more and more pervasive.

Thanks for reading Add to Queue, GameSpite’s weekly round-up of US Blu-ray release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Follow Levi Tinney on Twitter, or add him to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also contact him via e-mail via levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com.

22 thoughts on “Add to Queue 74: Disappointed in New Ways

  1. I’ll take the absolutely amazing quality of my Blu Ray player any day over the mediocre-at-best streaming quality that is available over a normal broadband connection.

  2. A great movie about a video game already came out. It’s called Mortal Kombat. I can’t wait till that comes out for BD.

  3. No comment on Repo: A Genetic Opera? Maybe that only made it to DVD… Either way, it’s an industrial musical, and Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy is in it!

  4. “It’s called Mortal Kombat.”

    Your adult self wants to have words with your 12-year-old self.

  5. I think the first Mortal Kombat is the best game to movie so far. Not great, but perfectly acceptable. “You weak pathetic fools! Give me your souls!” “I don’t think so.”

  6. Actually, I agree with the Mortal Kombat thing.

    What are you expecting? Braveheart? It’s a solid, entertaining flick. Why not.

  7. no movie quote at the end this week? I’m a bit disappointed.

    Also, even though I know nothing about El Norte, I would bet that it could give Election a run for its money, just on the basis that Criterion is putting it out.

  8. I think my movie quote got edited out: it was from election and was a tiny bit blue.

    As far as Repo… It’s the header image. I was pressed for time (Gamespite’s sluggishness today had a real effect on this column) so I didn’t write it up, and I didn’t notice until now that I neglected to include it in the Blu-ray wrap up image. Suffice to say, if you want a musical with both Tony Head from Buffy and Paris Hilton from One Night In Paris, you’re in luck.

  9. It’s not surprising, but it makes me sad that Max Payne turned out to be such a piecer. I love the first game’s narrative to death, and really, it shouldn’t have been all that hard to adapt to a competent, if generic action flick.

  10. All Max Payne’s director had to do to make the movie decent in my book was rip off John Woo gunfight scenes, and he couldn’t even be bothered to do that. I want my 1:40 back.

  11. Hey thanks for mentioning Repo! in the comments guys. I would have never known about it… been on a recent OhGr kick… nice timing. ;)

  12. I’d have to say the best videogame-based movie would be either Resident Evil or Tomb Raider. I’m not saying they’re good movies… just the best efforts, IMO. Those of us that weren’t kids when Mortal Kombat came out know it for the terd that it is.

    All of this reminds me of Wing Commander, and how sad that movie made me.

  13. I think the Tomb Raider movies are the “best” video-game adaptations, but that’s not really saying much.

  14. It bothers me nobody ever considers Tron when speaking of game movies because that was actually a really good movie way ahead of its time and I’ll probably have rediculous comic book guy reasons thrown at me on why its not a valid video game movie.

    But Cloak and Dagger wins hands down as the best video game movie. Why? Dabney Coleman of course.

  15. Tron was a movie inspired by the emergence of videogames, but it is a wholly original movie. The games came after.

  16. “Tron was a movie inspired by the emergence of videogames, but it is a wholly original movie. The games came after.”

    SEE! SEE!!! Total Comic book guy reason! In my neck of the woods, the flick came out AFTER the arcade game did (the one where you’re shooting spiders and trying to get to the top of a cone, not the ‘discs of’ one) so to me the movie was based on the game. And if you’ve actually watched the movie and paid attention to what was going on, its not inspired by the emergence of video games rather it is a very harsh critique of coroprate autocracy comparing it to soviet police state communism where literally the computer programs are living behind a digital iron curtain under the totalitarian control of MCP who is having them work for ‘the man’…

    Really the arcade game worked as a commercial for the flim not the other way around like in Mortal Kombat’s case where the flick was a giant PG13 sausage fest for MK3 with all the kodes krammed into the kredits, d00d, so buy me bone storm or go to hell


    you could almost get away with calling Tron the Metroid movie. Because of Tron Guy. Tron Guy wears armor and you suspect he’s a man, but… you know… he’s got that funny lookin…. um…. camel toe? fat guys should be banned from wearing spandex is what I’m trying to say here…

  18. Knowing the basic facts of a matter qualifies as being annoying comic book guy?

    Hello, Internet. It’s been a while.

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