No Payne, No gain
It’s been 16 years since Remedy came out with its bullet-time introducing pulp-noir shooter Max Payne and since then the game has turned into a cult-classic, spawning two sequels. The games always wore their noir cinematic influences on their sleeve with all too boastful references to mythological narratives and the main character spouting Chandleresque dialogue like it was all he knew. So it’s not surprising to see fan films come out of the series. Enter the fan film Max Payne Retribution.
In the film, Max Payne is a detective working a case that involves the deadly street drug Valkyr. Get it? Valkyr? Valkyrie? I told you this stuff wasn’t subtle. This same drug holds a personal connection to Max because years before his wife and daughter were murdered by crazed junkies on Valkyr. Ever since then the only things that Max has thought of is finding the one responsible for his family’s death and the nearest bottle of bourbon. With a steady supply of booze thanks to his local watering hole, he works on the Valkyr case which leads him to the gang leader Jack Lupino.
Retribution does take a little liberty with the story of the first game, introducing a new character and pushing a major character from the second game’s influence further ahead in the timeline. But you can tell the filmmakers made this out of love for the series because of the little things like actually printing out the Kong Bourbon labels, lots of horrific dream sequences, and even making Max sleep in his iconic leather jacket and half-done tie.
There are a few technical issues with sound mixing getting a little wonky in certain scenes but with a budget of around $3,000, it looks much better than how much it cost. My one biggest gripe with the movie is that Max’s actor’s British accent slips through a few times and as a New Jersey native, it hurts me deep to my core and I don’t know how many panzarotti’s it will take to fill this void.
The entire fan film is available on YouTube currently and comes from Nocturnal Pictures, a small independent studio in the United Kingdom.