Posted on Saturday, September 6th, 2008 by David Chen
A PG-13 rating can open a film up to a wider audience than an R-rating, making a big box office take just a tad more attainable. It’s not a huge mystery, then, why Max Payne director John Moore is none too pleased with the MPAA’s decision to give his upcoming film, Max Payne, an R. In a recent interview with Das Gamer, John Moore, who is apparently trying to cut the film down to qualify for a PG-13 (its original target rating) expressed some of his frustration, saying:
We’re suffering from what I call Batman blowback. The Motion Picture Association of America gave The Dark Knight a PG-13 rating and basically sucked Warner Bros. cock…The MPAA changes their rules willy-nilly and it depends on who’s seeing your actual movie at the time. It’s very difficult to get a hold on what’s acceptable. The only thing you can use is current standards. So I go and see The Dark Knight and I say, “Gee, that’s pretty gnarly for PG-13,” but I felt good about Max Payne after coming out of the theater. I thought Max wasn’t going to have a problem. And that’s not the case. They’re coming down on us pretty hard.
Moore goes on to say that the MPAA’s inconsistencies are really coming back to haunt the organization:
[The MPAA] really hung themselves with The Dark Knight. Every other filmmaker in town is knocking on their door saying, “Please sir, may I have my PG-13 rating and be as fair to my movie as you were to The Dark Knight.”
Be sure to head over to Das Gamer to read the rest of the interview.
I am very sympathetic to Mr. Moore’s plight and I couldn’t agree more about the MPAA’s horrendously inconsistent guidelines and its shameless kowtowing to big studios. But The Dark Knight? Really? The movie was certainly dark and Two-Face’s makeup/CGI job might have been a bit too intense for some of the young ones, but the movie was almost completely bloodless and very few deaths (Joker’s “magic trick” being the most notable exception) are shown on screen. This was actually one of my original complaints about the film: By not going full-bore with an R-rating, it didn’t have the flexibility to fully and visually explore the horror of some of Joker’s crimes.
Until Max Payne comes out, we wish Mr. Moore the best in his battle to get his film the rating he thinks it deserves. But in the meantime, what do you guys think of Moore’s remarks?
Discuss: Should “The Dark Knight” have been rated R? Or did the MPAA really fellate Warner Brothers, as Moore describes?
Even Bruce Wayne is beginning to think Max Payne will be a sizable hit and worth seeing. A new theatrical trailer for Fox‘s video game adaptation contains even more shots of the hypnotic angels-of-death that continue to puzzle the games’ followers. We learn herein that the winged beings are referred to as “valkyries,” and reward people who “die in violence.” Clarification, meh. Backed by the vocals of Marilyn Manson (our second reference today, k), the new trailer better emphasizes a brooding, escalatory tone that plays the right notes of fanboy nihilism. Also present are the high-charged visuals that wowed our staff at Comic Con. For a PG-13 video game gun-porn flick with many doubters, my latest impression? For what it is, Max Payne clicked.
Current comparisons online to the R-rated, totally cheeseball Hitman are predictable and warranted, but the confidence expressed in the press by Mark Wahlberg and John Moore—once attached to X3—doesn’t seem like a contractual shill-routine to me. This trailer’s vague mix of occult imagery and organized crime recalls past genre fare like The Crow and middling efforts like End of Days, and Constantine, but there’s also the sense that TDK‘s rating boundary-pushing was a real inspiration. And, c’mon, Mila Kunis firing a machine gun is equal doses ridiculous and hormone-tickling. I hereby move my chips over from Punisher: War Zone to Max Payne; admittedly, this is not a major gamble, but Payne does feature Ludacris in a fedora. Hope I’m right.
Max Payne opens on October 17th.
Discuss: Will Max Payne be a hit? What’s your impression of the final theatrical trailer? Is it cool or stupid or both? Are the valkyries symbolic or real?
Mark Wahberg, Mila Kunis, Ludacris, and Director John Moore (The Omen, Behind Enemy Lines) were in attendance to premiere Max Payne footage at the Fox panel at Comic Con.
During the Panel, John Moore kept repeating how important it was for him to stay as subjective to Max Payne’s character as possible. He believed once you take away the controller from the player, you better make it as personal to the audience as you can. Moore’s reasoning is that when you play the game the whole reason to play it is to feel like you’re a part of the story.
If you’re a fan of the game, you would be excited of what we had the privilege to witness. For instance, one scene involved Max Payne following some “junkies” into a subway system. As he passed them, they were sitting on a bench, he took a right into the bathroom. The next thing we saw was Payne looking into the mirror, he noticed the reflection behind him were the junkies. A shootout soon took place inside the bathroom, if anyone has played just the beginning of the game, the set were this taking place will seem very familiar.
Some other perks from the game, has Max Pax Payne narrating how he feels, using very dark metaphorical dialogue, but making it as simple sounding as it can, giving the feeling like you’re listing to someone read a comic book.
The last thing we were shown was a 3 minute highlight reel of the movie. It started with a zoomed shot of a barrel of a handgun, then with the same single shot started zooming back, until you saw Mark Walhberg standing holding the gun in in a alleyway while it was snowing. It went on with Led Zeppelin’s “Candy Store Rock” blasting in the background and seeing quick clips of various gun fights and showing different characters Max Payne will encounter, including dream sequence that are involved with the game. It ended with with a scene showing Max Payne holding a hostage in a office with an swat team of about ten, holding guns pointing to Payne. He throws the hostage to the ground and a fire fight ensues. Payne on one side of the room, the swat team on the other. Max Payne then tries to sneak to the other side of the room, ducking and dodging bullets by using the office desks as cover. At one point the emergency sprinklers go off, giving the firefight a little beauty to the scene.
At the end of the firefight, we see Max Payne dive, while shooting at a door to unlock it. The clip then slows down, using a bullet time effect much like what the game does. John Moore briefly discussed how they achieved bullet time. by Using a hard drive called Phantom. Phantom is a machine that can record video at 1000 Frames per second, which gives the effect of slowing down time time to the thousandth degree. The effect gives a smooth rendition of what the game does so well.
All in all, the movie has beautiful cinematic shots but the question remains, will the story be worth watching? Again, they seemed to keep the simple dialogue from the game, I’m not sure how well that will translate for a full movie.
The movie trailer for the big screen video game adaptation of Max Payne is now online at filmweb. Thanks to /Film reader Michal S for the tip. I’m really impressed by the visual stylings of director John Moore who seemed to capture the slow-motion action sequences, including Mark Wahlberg’s slow motion dive which is ripped directly from the game. Looks promising.
The story follows Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), a former NYPD Detective with internal and external conflicts in a dark, sinister New York City. Three years after the murder of his newborn daughter and wife by a group of junkies, Max is now undercover agent in the DEA and embedded in the Punchinello Mafia family. The video game series is known for its Matrix-like bullet-time, graphic violence and profanity. The movie will hit theaters on October 17th 2008.
Discuss: What do you think of the Max Payne movie trailer?
Mark Wahlberg has been cast as Max Payne in a big screen adaptation of the popular Rockstar video game series. The Omen director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix) will helm the adaptation (screenplay by newcomer Beau Thorne) which will begin filming early next year. Wahlberg is currently filming Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, and is also scheduled to Darren Aronofsky’s The Fighter in late 2008.
Wahlberg will play Max Payne, a former NYPD Detective with internal and external conflicts in a dark, sinister New York City. Three years after the murder of his newborn daughter and wife by a group of junkies, Max is now undercover agent in the DEA and embedded in the Punchinello Mafia family. I could easily hear producers calling this project “Sin City meets The Matrix” while pitching this to movie studios, although no one has described the film as such. Although, It seems perfectly logical to adopt a Sin City type style for this project.
The 2001 self-titled third-person shooter noir crime thriller video game followed up with a sequel, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, in 2003. Inspired by the Hong Kong action movie genre (particularly the work of director John Woo), the game featured slow-motion violence and gunfights. Many gamers have drawn comparisons to The Matrix, although Max Payne went into development before The Wachowski Brothers went into production (however, the game came out two years after The Matrix, and the developers decided to call the slow motion effect “bullet time”). The game is also notable for doing away with cutscenes, instead opting to tell the story through “graphic novel” sequences.
What seems strange about this casting announcement, as my friend Alex at FirstShowing points out, is that Wahlberg has been very vocal saying that he won’t join a film that doesn’t have an incredible script. The creative talent involved in this project is less than to be desired. So it makes me wonder if there is a great screenplay behind this project.