BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • May 12th, 2010 •

Share This:

It’s nice to see Mel Gibson abandon his Three Stooges shtick, which worked fine in the LETHAL WEAPON franchise, but was out of place and damaging to the noir PAYBACK. Of course my feeling is that, on his return to cinema after eight years of laying low, and considering why he was laying low, making cute just wasn’t in the cards. And its absence works for the better. Based on a 1985 British TV mini-series of the same name, this is a grim, cumulatively violent piece, and the actor looks older, worn, and his relentlessly grim persona is entirely appropriate for the role.

The film is lightly flawed throughout. Early on, the editing is baffling – shots held too long, etc. – and I don’t usually notice that kind of thing. Later, Ray Winstone is introduced as a government ‘fixer/cleaner’, and the scenes between him and Gibson are quite nice, although Winstone is sometimes hard to hear. The idea of what are more-or-less two killing machines sitting around commiserating and getting each other’s measure is great fun. Problem is: why does Winstone let Gibson continue to do what he’s doing? To let him do some of his work for him? That doesn’t really compute. Out of compassion? Nah, still not in synch with his clandestine profession. So while I liked these scenes, I balked at them as well.

And that’s pretty much the way things go throughout this film. Problems along the way, but a driving tension, no cheating on the violence – in that way it’s like last year’s TAKEN – and Gibson is in very good form as an obsessive cop out to get the killers of his daughter, no matter how high and how visible they might be, no matter what the price. And the price is big. If you’ve seen either version of DOA, or the C.S.I. Miami episode “Dead Woman Walking”, you’ll know where they got the Act Three twist. And if you’ve seen the 1947 THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, you’ll know where they got the very ending (which is another element that doesn’t work, but it’s a noble chance taken).

They’ve found a lovely location which represents a deserted missile silo, now housing the secretive Northmore government-entwined research corporation. Supporting characters are believably menacing, Danny Huston being an exception. He’s a bit of a caricature as the head honcho at Northmore, but that may have been more a script problem than either an acting or directing one. The film feels topical in its narrative elements, and certainly it works on another level as regards Gibson’s participation. It didn’t perform particularly well at the box office, but that only makes it a stronger home rental.

Share This Article: Digg it | | Google | StumbleUpon | Technorati

One Response »

  1. EDGE OF DARKNESS… not a big fan.

    JEWS… huge fan!

Leave a Comment

(Comments are moderated and will be approved at FIR's discretion, please allow time to be displayed)