Ok, this movie looks better than it has any right to. Not that the source material isn't there, but let's just say that the track record of adapting video games into movies isn't exactly stellar (Super Mario Bros., Doom, Double Dragon, anything directed by Uwe Boll). But this looks like it could be different.
If you were going to adapt a game into a movie, there isn't a better one than Max Payne. The game itself is brilliant, but the story is what made the game work. It's literally video game noir, dark, intense and disturbed. What set it apart was the use of graphic novel panels and the lead character's voice over to further the story line. You'll need help counting all the references to film and pulp noir. And the story line itself? A broken cop, whose wife and daughter were brutally murdered, turns vigilante to seek vengeance on those responsible. Fairly cut and dry, but in the game Max is an incredibly sympathetic character whose rage has his psychosis at a pitch that rivals his victims.
The visuals have two levels: bleak and bleaker. So what this trailer does, aside from provide action that looks pretty cool, is give you a hint of the despair Max feels. He has more in common with the original Batman/Bruce Wayne than your typical detective or cop. And between Max Payne, Metal Gear and Resident Evil, video gaming went from something children did to pass the time to a wholly interactive experience with storylines as gripping as many films (and some novels).
Mark Wahlberg is great when he has roles that are a mixture of internal sadness and external rage or pure id (Boogie Nights, The Departed) and Mila Kunis seems perfectly cast as Mona, the mysterious woman who helps (or does she?) Max track down and eliminate his enemies. The supporting cast is solid too: Ludacris (who was robbed of an oscar nom for "Crash"), Beau Bridges, Donal Logue, Chris (does Christopher Nolan have my phone number?) O'Donnell and Jamie Hector (Marlo from "The Wire). Plus that Marilyn Manson song ("If I was Your Vampire") fits perfectly. Anyway, here we go:
The film trailer
And one of the game's terrific cut scenes: