Police officer Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) returns home to find his wife Michelle (Marianthi Evans) and daughter slain by an intruder.
Unable to rest until he catches the killer, Max scours every open case file and draws inspiration from his mentor BB (Beau Bridges).
A tip-off from a snitch leads to a nightclub where Max meets Natasha (Olga Kurylenko) and her sister Mona (Mila Kunis). The former dies in an alleyway and police units discover Max’s stolen wallet at the scene, fingering him for the crime.
While the cop tries to clear his name, the real culprit — tormented soldier of war Jack Lupino (Amaury Nolasco) — seeks out the people closest to Max, determined to inflict more pain.
Director John Moore’s video-game-to-movie adaptation plods wearily through a plot that straddles reality and fantasy on the crime-riddled streets of New York City. Fans of Max Payne will recognise characters and certain plot elements, like the conspiracy surrounding an experimental drug.
The film also employs the slow-motion bullet time effect, which was a key factor of the game’s appeal.
However, Moore’s vision is a poor substitute for the visceral thrill that comes from grabbing a game controller and taking charge.
Wahlberg is inexpressive as the eponymous good cop on a mission, shooting first and thinking later, as Moore’s film builds to a lacklustre final showdown.
Star Rating: 2/5