A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * * · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )
You know a good movie when the whole thing has an attitude. Not just the main character, although he had a ton of attitude, but when his entire personality takes over the rest of the film from the cheesy Dragnet style narration to the grey color that sits over the whole film. This movie has its own feel, its own look, and almost as much personality as our hero, Porter. It is nice to see that Mel Gibson isnt taking himself too seriously after Braveheart. The movie isnt pulling any punches by trying to make the character nice at all. There is no real good thing in the movie at all. His love interest who is an old ex hooker, his wife who was a heroine junkie, and even his friend who shoots him in the back for $70,000. All fill out the movie that truly defines the term "Film Noir". I am a big lover of the one scene that really defines both a character and a film with a good shot and good music. See the beginning of the airport scene at the beginning of Face/Off for an example. Payback has this in a scene about half way through in which our "hero" is walking towards one of the baddies trying to get his $70,000. The way Porter stands out against the grey background, the subway passing overhead and the beginning cords of Jimmy Hendrixs Voodoo Child really defines the whole film. Unfortunatly the scene doesnt pan out since he gets hit by a car, but the effort was there. Sure, there are a couple of cheesy lines, and sure the character is a little overdone, but that is kind of the point. Paramount did an excellent job with the DVD. The 16x9 enhanced 2.35 to 1 picture is almost 3D at points due to the excellent use of grayed out colors. The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack does wonders for the dialog and does a decent job with the bullets too. There is a small "making of" feature that I hear is more of an elongated preview (I kind of hate those), but other than that, the DVD is top notch. Overall, dont take the movie too seriously and dont try to paint a moral picture around a story that doesnt have any. With that you will come out happy.