Max Payne originated from a dark, violent and enormously successful video game, which of course explains everything. The film is monochromatic both in palette and plot.
Mark Whalberg, who was last fighting killer plants in The Happening, is Max Payne, a detective whose wife and child are murdered. If you're getting a sense of d?j? vu, yes this is exactly what the hero of Death Race was going through last week.
So Max mournfully goes about his business of finding the killer. Meanwhile he becomes implicated in another murder. There is also a buffed up madman who loves slicing people, several junkies chasing a new drug and the likable Beau Bridges who turns out to be not so likable after all.
The film tries hard for depth and mythic resonance. It's relentlessly grim. Everybody wears black, perhaps to match with the background. There are about four and a half seconds of sunshine. The rest of the time, it either rains or snows.
These atmospherics cannot disguise the silliness of the plot, which has to do with a new drug that would make American soldiers in Iraq more aggressive in combat but of course nothing works out as planned.
Max Payne is even more tedious than Death Race because at least that film did not aspire to be anything else other than B-grade schlock. This one is a pretentious bore. Steer clear.