Max Payne Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
It’s not unusual to have a video game follow up on the heels of a film, but now and then, the game precedes the movie. Max Payne, the theatrical release, is based on a third person shooter game, which should give audiences a pretty good idea of what they are in for. Nearly every minute of this production’s runtime is hot with ammunition.
The story centers on Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), a police detective who comes home to find his wife, Michelle (Marianthi Evans), and their baby murdered by a group of thugs. While Max manages to kill one of the drug junkies who attacked his family, at least one other gets away. Despite every effort to find the assassin, the perpetrator remains on the loose. The event profoundly impacts the young officer who transfers from his job on the street to a windowless office in the cold case department where he shuffles through endless files of now defunct investigations.
Unfortunately, his brothers-in-arms on the force are far from sympathetic to Max’s change of demeanor. His move from detective to file clerk makes him the butt of too many jokes. But the sullen widower doesn’t let that stop him from conducting his own investigations after hours by putting pressure on some of society’s less than savory individuals.
However his activities come under scrutiny when the officer’s wallet is found in an alley next the shredded body of a woman (Olga Kurylenko). Concerns for his mental stability grow deeper when Max’s former partner (Donal Logue) is murdered after stumbling across a connection between the death of the woman and Max’s wife.
Like so many of the games and scripts in this genre, Max Payne is all about taking justice into your own hands. While the unsolved murder of his family is used to provide the justification for Max’s actions, the swath of mayhem and the endless number of shooting victims portrayed in this movie is pure vigilantism from the first shot to the last. Hoping to keep this mature-rated game from getting a similar ranking in the theater, which would make it inaccessible to teens, the moviemakers still push the limits of violence but keep the sexual content brief by having Max reject the sexual overtures of a half-naked woman. Added to the endless round of bullets are a barrage of profanities and drug-induced hallucinations that make this adaptation anything but family fare.
For gamers used to pulling the trigger, the bits and pieces of story line may also be tedious to watch since it’s the filmmakers who have a grip on the controller in this big screen version. In the meantime, Max’s ruthless efforts to find his wife’s killer put a lot of innocent victims squarely in the line of fire.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release October 17, 2008. Updated January 23, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Max Payne rated PG-13? Max Payne is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence including intense shooting sequences, drug content, some sexuality and brief strong language.
Darkness, death and graphic violence are themes in this script where numerous characters are drowned, beaten, shot, slashed with knives or hit by a train. A bullet is seen exiting a man’s back and a swat team fires machine guns in an office packed with employees. Countless people are also killed when a bomb is set off in a building. Cars and characters are raked with gunfire in a parking area. A man recounts the way he murdered a woman. Female characters also engage in severe beatings and shootings. A pharmaceutical drug is developed to enhance aggression in soldiers but has serious side effects and is highly addictive. The drug causes severe and vivid hallucinations and results in characters jumping from buildings, engaging in dangerous activities and begging for more of the drug. Some drinking and smoking is portrayed along with the drug use. A woman, wearing only panties, makes sexual advances to a man. Some innuendo is included and a bare back is seen. A strong sexual expletive, frequent profanities and terms of Deity are also used.
Page last updated January 23, 2009
Max Payne Parents' Guide
Despite the failings of the justice system, should a person be able to take the law into their own hands? What might be the wider repercussions of such activities?
How does Max deal with the death of his family? What impact does it have on his relationships with other people?
How does greed influence characters in this film?
For further musings on content trends, check out this article: I’ll Have a PG-13 Please… Extra Violence, Hold the Sex.
The most recent home video release of Max Payne movie is January 20, 2009. Here are some details…
Max Payne blasts onto home video as a Single-Disc DVD in a widescreen presentation with 5.1 Dolby Digital (English) and Dolby Surround (Spanish and French) audio tracks, and English and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include both the Theatrical and Unrated Extended Cut versions, commentary with Director John Moore, Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell.
The Special Edition DVD of Max Payne is presented in widescreen format, with 5.1 Dolby Digital (English) and Dolby Surround (Spanish and French) and subtitles in English and Spanish. The package comes with both the Theatrical and Unrated Extended Cut versions of the film, commentary by Director John Moore, Production Designer Daniel Dorrance and Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell, plus featurettes and an unrated Digital Copy of the movie.
Max Payne is also available on Blu-ray. This disc provides the movie in widescreen format on a 50GB dual-layer disc authored in BD-J with 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (English) and Dolby Digital 5.1(French and Spanish), and subtitles in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean. The BD includes all of the above mentioned bonus features, along with featurettes, picture-in-picture and an Unrated Digital Copy.