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Payback (DVD)

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Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Director: John Myhre, Brian Helgeland / Actors: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry ... / DVD released 20 September, 1999 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Full Screen, PAL, Widescreen

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      31.01.2010 12:16
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      Crime thriller

      Payback is a good revenge crime thriller starring Mel Gibson as a career criminal who is double crossed by his partner and after serving his time he sets out to get back both the money that was stolen from him and revenge on those who wronged him.

      Gibson plays Porter, a hard man bank robber who along with his partner Val Resnick played by Gregg Henry rob a bank however Resnick is desperate to use the money to get himself into a crime syndicate called The Outfit however when they do not make as much money as expected Resnick shoots Porter and leaves him for dead. Revenge is not made easy because not Resnick is protected by the Outfit and they are in the way of Porter getting revenge.

      The film itself is quite violent but the fairly simple revenge plot is well delivered, I always felt that Gibson has a dark side in some of the roles that he appears in (forget Lethal Weapon) and this trait can be seen in the films he directs, in this one where he is actor only he delivers a good portrayal of a strong silent moody character who will let nothing get in his way.

      The plot has a couple of nice twists to it and there is an edgyness about the whole film that I really enjoyed. This is a good crime thriller and well worth seeing.

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      26.01.2010 23:28
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      Not as good as the theatrical version

      This is a review of Brian Helgeland's director's cut, not the one originally released at the cinema and one that differs quite considerably from the theatrical version.

      Mel Gibson plays Porter, a low life hoodlum who spends most of his life involved in bank robberies. One such robbery is planned with the help of his partner in crime Val Resnick (Gregg Henry). Resnick needs $140,000 to buy himself into 'The Outfit' a crime syndicate headed by a mysterious woman called Bronson. When the robbery ends up being for only half of the expected money Resnick shoots Porter, steals his share of the money and leaves him for dead. When Porter comes back on the scene he wants revenge. With the help of Maria Bello he goes up against the Outfit single-handed so he can get back his $70,000 and knock-off Resnick and his new friends.

      Payback: The Director's Cut contains a totally new ending and the removal of Kris Kristofferson as Bronson. It also removes any trace of humour and has a completely new soundtrack. The film ends up a much grittier and sour experience.

      I was actually quite taken aback by the brutality of this new cut - especially the violence towards women. This was one of the reasons the film was eventually recut and released under a new director. Porter comes across as a much more evil SOB than in the original, here when he brutally kicks seven shades out of Deborah Kara Unger - a smack addict and ex-wife of Gibson.

      The film was different in style to the original, but I must say I prefer the original rather than this harder and meaner director's cut. Helgeland's director's cut certainly pulls no punches, and while brutal, lacks the comic elements of the original.

      Gibson was very good as Porter - mean and nasty throughout. He has very much the same temperament to Michael Caine's Carter in Get Carter. It's a shame to see less of James Coburn in this version - here reduced to a single solitary scene. I really liked his character in the original - here it stands out as one of the few laughs in the entire film. The removal of Kris Kristofferson is no biggie ion the whole scheme of things, I never really rated him as an actor anyway. William Devane was also a very good addition to the film, here as one of the heads of the crime syndicate.

      Payback (the original) was a good crime film with a decent twist. Here, the ambiguous ending and over the top violence is a bit irritating and depressing. The director's cut has a novelty factor if you like the original, but I doubt whether you'll prefer it.

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        24.02.2009 17:59
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        A classic action/crime thriller with stylistic, contemporary qualities.

        It's films like 1999's Payback that make you wonder why everyone seems to favour complex storylines, whilst having a strong emphasis upon character development.

        For Porter (Mel Gibson) it's not about how much money he has to get back from the people that stole it from him, but the whole principle of the thing. It's a simple premise, but this is more than just another revenge movie: Porter is a tough guy with a moral code, which separates him from the usual criminal underworld. Porter appears as cocky, smooth talking bad guy who the audience roots for, due to Gibson's likable Hollywood charm.

        The roster of characters is what makes Payback so entertaining to watch. Val (Gregg Henry) and Porter's wife (Maria Bello) are the ones memorable for stealing the money in first instance; Lucy Liu has a small role as a feisty bondage practitioner; Bill Duke (Predator) and Jack Conley are the menacing crooked cops; and Kris Kristofferson is great as old man Bronson.

        The whole film is shot in dark tones of grey and blue to set the atmosphere of a gritty 1970s crime underworld; this is particularly effective during the brutal torture scene, where Porter has his toes smashed individually with a hammer. Definitely, uncomfortable, if very engrossing, viewing.

        Payback is a classic action/crime thriller with stylistic, contemporary qualities. It's seedy, violent, and even admirably funny in places; overall, the film is a lot of fun to watch, showcasing the bloodied triumph of Porter, the anti-hero, over the greed of the surrounding characters. As he puts it:
        "Nice guys are fine: you have to have somebody to take advantage of... but they always finish last."

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          16.11.2006 16:46
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          Entertaining but derivative and violent crime thriller

          (Film Only Review)

          Tough guy criminal Porter (we never find out his first name) and his gang made up of his wife Lynn and criminal acquaintance Val decide to do a crash and snatch job stealing the illicit takings of a Chinese gang. All goes smoothly and although the £140000 dollars is not as much as Porter was expecting they seem to have got away unscathed. However Porter is double crossed by both his partners in crime and after being shot in the back is left for dead. Of course he isn’t dead otherwise it would be a very short movie and once recovered his only thought is to get his money back hence the ‘Payback’ in the title and also ‘payback’ on those that double crossed him. However things are not that simple for Porter since his one time accomplice Val has used the money to get Mob connections. With the help of high class call girl Rosie our hero Porter has to weave a treacherous path avoiding the attentions of rogue policemen, the ‘syndicate’ and the Chinese gang bent on revenge for the original robbery in a search for his cut of the money.

          This film is a bit of a mess. It seems unable to decide what tone it is trying to set. There are moments of pure comedy/farce that stand awkwardly next to the extreme violence on show in almost every other scene.

          Gibson gives an odd performance. He plays Porter as ruthless killer with a heart!? At times the character shows the cheeky charm that endeared the ‘Lethal Weapon’ films to many people and yet he is also capable of cold-blooded murder. Yes, the people he kills might have deserved everything they get but still is doesn’t sit to well with what is supposed to be a sympathetic, heroic character.

          Gibson is the lead and the film very much revolves around him but there is a very talented ensemble cast to back him up. First mention must go to the lovely Maria Bello who is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses. Many will not recognise the name but will remember the face from many supporting roles she has taken on over the years mainly in TV, she was probably best known for her part as Dr. Anna Del Amico in ER before breaking through in the movies. ‘Payback’ was her biggest role at the time it was made and while she is certainly still in a supporting role as Gibson’s love interest there are sign even here that she is capable of much more, which she goes on to prove later with fine performances in ‘The Cooler’ (2003) and the excellent ‘A History of Violence’ (2005). I must stress that ‘Payback’ is not in the same league as those films more a ‘catalogue of violence’ than a history of…but it still was an interesting film partly because of the incongruity of the story, the tone it set and the strangeness of the performances.

          The weirdest character is Pearl the sado-masochist prostitute played by Lucy Liu who relishes giving and receiving a good beating. In a series of bizarre scenes with likeminded Val we witness them hitting each other in some kind of comedic foreplay to sex. All very odd.

          The film seems to change from one thing to another with every turn. There is a sombre scene where someone dies from a drugs overdose quickly followed by a slightly comic but violent exchange between Porter and a small time crook. Payback also seems to aping the film noir genre with the main character employing voice over narration to explain the story but even this is not consistent and the darker atmosphere gives way to lighter comic exchanges.

          The violence is the one theme that can be seen to run consistently through the whole of the story but even in this the director seems to be inconsistent in the way he decides to handle it. Some is truly brutal and graphic which makes the movie fully deserve its 18 certificate but yet again other violent moments are no more than comic book. The adult certification is also deserved for the strong language and scenes of drug abuse although there isn’t a lot of sexual content surprising since all the female characters seem to be call girls.

          It feels like the film is desperately trying to be a gritty crime thriller but despite its graphic violence it fails to convey any realism. Buildings blow up and cars crash in the middle of town with little or no consequence for bystanders, never is a wailing police or fire engine siren heard. The only two policemen that appear in the film are the crooked ones that always seem to be in the right place at the right time managing to cover the whole of the city in their one patrol car.

          The director responsible for this messy thriller is Brian Helgeland who is a relative newcomer to the director’s chair having only one other movie of note ‘A Knight Tale’ on his CV. He is better known for his screenwriting having been responsible for ‘LA Confidential’ and ‘Mystic River’ two very tightly scripted films. Having such pedigree as a writer one wonders what went wrong with the script writing in this movie. I suspect that the overbearing presence of Mel Gibson’s star rating coupled with the Helgeland directorial inexperience made it difficult for him to direct with the freedom needed and too much emphasis was placed on turning Gibson’s on screen persona from the ‘weird but loveable’ of the ‘Lethal Weapon’ franchise to the ‘violent but loveable’ version we see here.

          To add a little ‘Tarantinoesque’ (made up word) feel to the project a suitably quirky but retro-hip soundtrack has been chosen including such diverse tracks as ‘It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World’ (James Brown), ‘Ain't That A Kick In The Head’ (Dean Martin) and ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ (B.B. King) but again they feel out of context for the movie and seem incongruous with the scenes they are supposed to be accompanying.

          The cast also includes some real heavyweight veterans in the shape of James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson as the Mob bosses Porter has to contend with. Neither is stretched in their role but their adds a little extra interest to the story and Coburn especially even in this is last proper roles before his death in 2002 still show the ease and charm that has always made him a natural film star.

          CAST & THINGS

          Mel Gibson .... Porter
          Gregg Henry .... Val Resnick
          Maria Bello .... Rosie
          David Paymer .... Arthur Stegman
          Bill Duke .... Det. Hicks
          Deborah Kara Unger .... Mrs. Lynn Porter
          John Glover .... Phil
          William Devane .... Carter
          Lucy Liu .... Pearl
          Jack Conley .... Det. Leary
          Kris Kristofferson .... Bronson
          Marc Vann .... Gray
          James Coburn .... Justin Fairfax

          Directed by Brian Helgeland, run time 100min- certificate 18.

          If any film buff reading this have had their memory jogged and start thinking of a much earlier film ‘Point Blank’ (1967) starring Lee Marvin there is a very good reason for this both films are adaptations of ‘The Hunter’ a novel by Donald E Westlake (under the name of Richard Stark). However while the original was minor classic, the brooding quietly raging Lee Marvin perfect for the role of the wronged man bent of brutal retribution this later version doesn’t quite hit the mark.

          Overall I’ve been quite critical of the movie and yet there is a lot that it can be commended on. The action sequences are thrilling and despite the clunky switches of tone and atmosphere the director does manage to maintain a fair amount of suspense until the very end. The supporting cast is good and while not overly tested the big names do perform.

          So if you are looking for a fairly entertaining ‘no brainer’ action filled movie with some nice shots of Lucy Liu as a Dominatrix this could be the movie for you…

          © Mauri 2006

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            06.03.2005 12:49
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            Porter is not amused. After carrying out a robbery on some Oriental gentlemen to the tune of $140,000, he's shot in the back, robbed and left for dead by his wife and his partner. The motive is that his partner needs $130,000 to buy his way back into organised crime and has taken Porter's share. Now, five months later, he's back and he wants his money back, all $70,000 of it.

            Porter (voice over): "Not many people know what their life's worth is. I do. Seventy grand. That's what they took from me. And that's what I was going to get back."

            Payback is a brutal film at time, but extremely funny with it. Porter's search for his ex-partner and his money leads him into the heart of a ruthless, citywide crime syndicate called "The Outfit".

            Porter (voice over): "Crooked cops. Do they come in any other way? If I'd been just a little dumber, I could have joined the force myself."

            Gathering enemies and hangers on along the way, including the above referenced crooked cops, Porter finds that it's not easy getting people to simply hand over $70,000. People want a slice of his cash and even worse, his old partner has told the Oriental gentlemen that porter was responsible for their loss. Porter will have to go some to get rid of this interest before he can finally get his hands on his cash.

            Payback is filmed in an interesting style – the colours are washed out and with the voice over, it has an almost film noir feel to it. As stated earlier, it's a very brutal film. People are killed in direct ways with quite a bit of violence, but the directness and brutality are part of what makes this film work for me. Despite the fact that quite a large proportion of the film was changed (the plotline with Kris Kristofferson was added after shooting had wrapped), the film manages to stay consistent and exciting, despite a new director (Brian Helgeland was replaced). The pace is maintained throughout the film with the reasonably short 100 minute running time and the directness of the plot, and this works well.

            A lot of the humour comes from the main plot device of Porter's $70,000. Each time Porter makes contact with a member of The Outfit, they question the sanity of going to all this trouble for $130,000 to be wearily corrected by Porter that it's actually only $70,000.

            Porter: "And tell him it's $70,000!"
            Fairfax (disbelieving): "$70,000? Hell, my suits are worth more than that!"

            Performances all round are excellent, with perhaps the exception of Maria Bello who plays love interest Rosie. She seemed quite lifeless, which was very noticeable given that everyone else was interesting to watch. Mel Gibson's anti-hero role was a lot darker and harder than I was used to seeing, but he never seemed to be out of place playing such a hard case. I really liked William Devane and James Coburn as The Outfits main players, Carter and Fairfax respectively. Both are actors I like a lot and the scene between Porter and Fairfax is easily my favourite from the film. Kris Kristofferson's Bronson, the head of The Outfit also menaces convincingly, especially towards the very end of the film. Lucy Liu also provides laughs as the dominatrix.

            The dialogue is crisp, quick and funny. I don't think it's in the same league as early Tarantino, but matches the pace of the film. Porter's voiceovers are a good device for showing that there's more to the man, even if it is a dry wit, and also relieving the tension during some of the darker moments.

            The whole film is rather vague regarding when it's set. The main look of the film indicates a modern day setting , but the lack of any real modern "gadgets", like mobile phones (all phones in the film are rotary dialers, and I believe all the cars are pre-1980, though I could be wrong in this) would suggest earlier. The soundtrack also reflects this ambiguity. It consists almost entirely of old timers – Dean Martin, especially, but also including Jimi Hendrix, Al Jolson, James Brown amongst others.

            Overall, I really liked "Payback" – the plot wasn't complicated, the characters were interesting and funny and it was interesting from the start right through to the finish. There's plenty of violence and bad language with occasional drug and sex references, so that means an '18' certificate, but it's well worth watching.

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              21.10.2003 05:33
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              The film payback stars Mel gibson who plays a character called Porter who is a hardened criminal who is left for dead by his wife and his partner after a successful hold up pockets him seventy thousand pounds. The robbery happens when they steak out these chinese and then hit them in a head on collision down a back alley. After robbing the chinese they go and count their earnings for the day only for Porters wife to shoot Porter and leave him for dead as she goes off with his partner Val Resnick. Porter is found by somebody who removes the bullets and patches him up and he is soon on his way, after returning home and having a quick shower he finds his wife dead from a herione overdose caused by the "syndicate". The money made from Porter and Val's heist helped Val buy his way into the syndicate which is the motive for Val trying to bump off Porter. Porter is aware of the fact that Val wanted into the syndicate and is determined to track him down and regain his Seventy Grand. After coming across Crooked cops, Chinese gangsters with Lucy Liu in amongst the proceedings and a taxi despatcher called Stegment who are all after a share of the spoils he finally tracks down Val and asks for his money back only to be told he didnt have the money to give him, obviously Porter isn't too pleased and makes him eat lead after Val couldn't produce a light for Porters cigarette rendering him useless. Porter goes back to the syndicate and works his way through the ranks and finally hatches a plan to get his money back, he kidnaps the son of the main player in the syndicate and holds him ransom until he gets his money. The syndicate take Porter along for the ride with them to the location where the supposed drop off is going to be made only for Porter to foil them again by tricking them with a booby trapped phone line which triggers off explosives leaving Porter high and dry with the money and nobody after him. The film itself was quite enjoyab
              le and after the ending I think the name Payback is quite well suited to it. The special features contained on the film include 4 Different subtitles, English, Arabic, Romanian and Bulgarian and also the film also contains an area for the hard of hearing. The film also contains the regular scene access options and it also contains interview clips with the stars of the film such as Lucy Liu, Mel Gibson, M. Bello and J Coburn. The film is also contained on a double sided disc and is in Dolby Digital Surround Sound and is 5:1 viewable. I bought the film recently from Asda and paid a rather cheap price of £7.47 which is a good price for a DVD, this film because of its nature of containing sexual scenes, swearing, drugs, weapons and fighting is rated as an 18.

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              30.01.2002 03:35
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              I suppose Mel Gibson was going for an image change in this one. In "Payback" he plays an anti-hero character with few if any redeeming qualities. He starts out by robbing a helpless beggar, pick pockets a passerby and runs up a stolen credit card. He then goes on to cold-bloodedly murder an assortment of "Syndicate" mobsters. Is this our Mel? Say it isn't so. Mean Mel aside, "Payback" is a good action movie. The plot is basically the Gibson character's (Porter) quest to recover the $70,000 that he feels the "Syndicate" has stolen from him. It matters little that HE stole it in the first place. Incredible as the plot may be, the action scenes are very well done.(I mean. how does a solitary figure get to all of these well fortified and protected mobsters.) It is a very dark movie with no real sympathetic characters. You really have to be in the mood for this one. Aside from Gibson, the supporting cast is quite good. Gregg Henry (reminding one of a younger James Caan) plays Gibson's double crossing partner. Maria Bello as a heart of gold prostitute, is the only real friend that the Gibson character has (any wonder). David Paymer is good as a sleazy drug dealer looking to move up in the "Syndicate". William Devane, James Coburn (appearing unbilled) and Kris Kristofferson play mobsters at the various level of the "Syndicate" organization chart that Gibson encounters along the way. Bill Duke and Jack Conley appear as a couple of crooked coppers. Don't look for a hero in this movie. It never rises from the gutter. Even though you expect Gibson to suddenly become a good guy, he never does. It's hard to believe that Gibson could cause all of the explosions and damage and commit all of these murders with nary an honest cop in sight. The ending to this movie, I think was one of the cleverest I've seen. Even though he is a bad guy I still wanted him
              to keep winning.

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                21.07.2001 22:11
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                Payback is one of those films that doesn't really set the world on fire but you can say it didn't fail to entertain. It's also a chance to see Gibson not playing a nice guy for once even though he is the hero in the film. Gibson plays Porter, a hard edged criminal who is double crossed by his partner and left for dead. As soon as he's back on his feet the only thing to do is get Payback. He's owed £70,000 from a job and he wants hit back but his partner has invested it in a criminal organization. In order to get his moeny Porter must go through crooked cops, crime bosses and street gangs. The film has some very violent scenes that can be hard to watch but it also has some dark humour thanks to a BDSM loving Lucy Liu and James Coburn in a cameo role. This is also one of those films that has a great twisted ending. The film was shot with a very bleached style that has been faithfully reproduced on the dvd. The disc has both 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and pan/scan versions on alternate sides. Don't expect a flood of colour, thats not how the film was shot but everything is solid and quite sharp with no real problems whatsoever. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is also quite lively with bullets flying, explosions and a very cool score giving the speakers a decent workout. The extras are a different story altogether. What you get is some very brief interview clips with cast members Gibson, Liu, Coburn and Bello. These amount to nothing more than soundbites with nothing interesting in them. You don't even get a trailer. This film is worth a rental to first to see if you like it, certainly if you can pick the dvd up cheaply then it's worth a shot.

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                  05.05.2001 01:44
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                  Mel Gibson is back in the action movies,if just for a brief flirtation in this surprisingly proficient revenge thriller.Its not over loaded with plot and sophistication,but is quite dark and moody with some violence and humor to pump it up. America’s least famous blockbuster actor (they think he’s an Aussie) plays Porter man wronged by his women and the gang he did his last job for. But now he’s on the loose and wants his money back after they left him for dead with half a magazine full of holes in his jacket. As Porter begins to pick off the people who wronged him, the big boss that now has his money is getting more and more stressed as the body count rises. Theres no hiding from our moody armed robber as he ducks and dives with every trick he knows. Porter needs some cash and performs some neat bits of fraud to make ends meet. A serious criminal watching in could learn a few things from this movie. Everyone is on his back from bent cops to sado masochist prostitutes (physically), let alone his ex who’s is some what stunned to see him showing up after they left him for dead. It’s a simple plot for its target audience and doesn’t offer any complexities or pretentiousness. The action is solid and the pace and style good. Its not a blockbuster but does enough to make it a worthy DVD rent or older video rental cut price. Mel has geared away from these pacey movies as his beaten up body recovers from Lethal Weapon 23 and Joe Pesci.In this though he reproduces that moody side with those big blue eyes that girls purring in the late 80s,early nineties. This is a pretty good film for action fans and is much better than it looks although nothing special. Theres some cool cameos from James Coburn and Greg Henry (you will no him when you see him). Keeps the money coming in to pay Gibbos rent in Malibu.

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                    09.03.2001 16:53
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                    Aristotle once that good theater evokes catharsis in its audience. Catharsis meant the creation of characters whose fear, torment or happiness the audience could identify with. I disliked this because I couldn't identify with any of the characters, and the thing that really scares me is to see how many people did identify with the brutish, nasty little thief who stars in this movie. Porter (Gibson) is a professional criminal who plans a brutal robbery, but finds himself cheated out of his own share of the loot. Now Porter will very unsubtly go about getting his share of the loot back. Not the whole haul, mind you, but only his own share, the share that he stole fair and square. Don't you know somebody like Porter? Haven't you always wanted to do something like what Porter's doing? Aren't you itching to find out whether Porter outdoes all his fellow bad guys and gets away with his money? I don't know about you, but for me the answer is no to all three questions. If Porter were at least intelligent about how he goes about his scheme, he might be worthwhile watching, but in fact his tactics are incredibly dumb and succeed only by fiat of screenwriter and director. For one example, Porter stupidly gives away his greatest advantage, the fact that his adversaries don't know he's alive. In another scene, Porter asks a Hulking Tough Dude to show him to his criminal boss. The Hulking Tough Dude refuses, so Porter rips the HTD's earring out. The HTD immediately whips out a gun and shoots Porter dead. No, wait, that's what would really happen. Because we are living in Hayes/ Abascal/ Helgeland Land, the HTD meekly leads Porter in to see the criminal boss. I have difficulty believing that anything of Brian Helgeland, the screenwriter of the excellent L.A. Confidential, survives in this film, since he was sacked before it was done. It is much easier for me to blame Terry Hayes, co-writer and author of s
                    uch stupidity as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Paul Abascal who was final director. Whoever may be to blame obviously wanted to take his source material and turn it into just what we all needed, another take on Pulp Fiction. He got all the bad parts of Tarantino's hit right: the mindless, senseless, bloody, and sadistic violence, the characters with no appeal or redeeming features whatsoever, and the darker-than-black humor that generally hurts too much to laugh at. However, while the dialogue in both films is mostly meaningless, Tarantino's had a spontaneous, natural sound to it; it may have been empty, but it was at least realistic. Here, the lines sound contrived as well as empty. Gibson's voice-over narration is omnipresent and irritating, especially when used to reveal points about his character that are already intensely obvious, since there is only one point to his character: that he is an unmitigated S.O.B. It takes a lot to earn this disgusting film its one lonely star. The dark cinematography by Ericson Core conveys the amoral world of Porter convincingly. Gibson is always watchable, though it's sad to see him play such a one-note role. (There is a second note, Gibson's romance with Bello, but it's so tacked-on and reeking of cliche that it doesn't count). Gregg Henry's Val Resnick, the anti-antihero, is appropriately slimy. Kris Kristofferson plays a character named Bronson who, probably by design, resembles the Bronson we all know and who is vastly more sympathetic than Gibson. Best of all is Lucy Alexis Liu as Pearl, the sadomasochist to whom all the violence is just a game. These few bright spots failed to distract me from the underlying fact that this is a lousy film with a lousy script and at times is damn near unbearable to watch. The one thing it taught me is a valuable but very disturbing lesson: the viewing public has enough sadists who think that screaming, bloody agony is laugh-out-loud hilari
                    ous to make dreck like Payback commercially successful. It's scary.

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                      07.11.2000 22:15
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                      Mel Gibson just keeps on churning out excellent movies. This is no exception. Playing a criminal for a change rather than a cop you are still on his side even though he commits one act of violence after another in his fight against 'the outfit'. The plot is this. After stealing $130,000 from an oriental gang, his partner double-crosses him and steals all the money - which he gives to 'the outfit' in order to pay back some debts that he owes and thus save his own skin. Gibson wants his share back and will stop at nothing to get it back. So as a matter of principal he takes on the power of 'the outfit' for what is a measily $70,000. What follows is an orgy of violence which some may find a little too stomach churning in parts but aid the storyline. Gibson puts in his usual performance here and is well suited to the part. There is a lot of humour here as well but it is very dark - for instance, Gibson is going to beat up his partner to get information at one point, but the dominatrix prostitute he is with wants to do it instead - and does ('let her work'). Overall this is an excellent film which is to be recommended to action fans everywhere.

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                      21.10.2000 01:34
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                      Think of an action film starring Mel Gibson and you think of a bright, funy good guy but in Payback hes not so nice and not so funny, infact for a change Gibson plays a very serious part in this cold and edgy thriller. Here Mel is bad, he hasnt got the time for most people and if they annoy him, they get a bullet in the head or worse. He is a gangster trying to climb the ladder of organised crime and is always in danger of being killed. Mel is Porter, at the start of the film we meet him and Val (Gregg Henry) who are two small time criminals who decide and plan to rob a group of money carriers. They have learnt the money is itself obtained illegally and so if they stole it the victims couldnt go to the police, Val needs the money to pay his way back into the Mafia while Porter needs it to setlle down and downsize is robbing. To set they wait till the car transporting the omney goes down a very narrow street and they hit it head on, grab the money and run. They had expected to find $350,000 in the suitcase but when they count it theres only $140,000, just enough for Val to pay his Mafia debts. Poter then gets shot in the back by his iwn wife and learns that Val had set him up, and then they leave hin to die. But he doesnt die and five months after the above incident hes back and wants his cut. He finds out where his wife is living but when he gets there he finds her dead, passed away because of a herion overdose. With no leads ti go on he goes to seek out his old girlfriend Rosie (Maria Bello), who is a former hooker for the Mafia. She tells Porter where to find Val and he heads straight there and points a gun to his head. But having one of there men bothered by a small fly as Porter bugs the Mafia and so they decide to get rid of him themselves. But even with the entire Mafia, corrupt cops and the gang who they stole the money off tracking him, Poter is determined to get his cut of the money. He must climb up the ladder until he gets to the to
                      p and eventually gets his money back. The film is based on a novel by Richard Stark called The Hunter, and is a reamke of the 1967 film Point Blank. With the main plot of them all being about the criminal going to all lengths to get his money back which is stolen off him when he originally stole the money anyway. This plot alone sets Payback apart from your usual action dramas, infact not a single good guy makes an apperance in Payback. All characters we see sre dodgy and shady ranging from corrupt policemen, drug dealers, hitmen and mobsters, all the way to money launderers to pimps and pushers. As a result you find it hard to actually like any of the characters in Paybck not even Gibson's Porter, the tatics he uses to try and get his money are drastic and rash but good of us the film is stylish and manages to make it fun. The message it seems to give is that Porters quest for his money back is ok and justifiable, it is the glorification of this violence and that it seems so out of place with todays society that you fell withdrawn from the action. There is a lot of violence in the film, gratuitous to a large extent, although to its credit I have to admit it is not always in your face. What makes it more acceptable and fairly fun is the fact that it always hits the bad guys. No matter who’s being mowed down in this film due to the lack of any good characters the ones who kick the buckets do so well deservedly. Payback paints a black picture from the start, protraying the urban life as without any sunshine. Even the physical images feel as if there were no sun in the skies. Subdued with faded and cold colors the film always stays within its own blue-tinged world, never breaking out to make room for something good or nice. It is a look that is highly reminiscent to many great 70s thrillers, and from the initial atmosphere Dirty Harry or Shaft immediately come to mind when watching the opening minutes with the voice over and its almost one
                      colour look. Payback is a very well crafted thriller and jumps right into the action almost straight away, while the motives and the actual objective of the film may be questionable, it seems so detached frmo real life it works. The performances are good from all involves, and in particular Gibson, who comes across frighteningly real. From the opening narration he gives all the way till the end, his quest always seem tangible, something which adds realism to his fight despite the odds he faces that are pretty similar to Rambo. Supported by a great cast the film paints characters that drive the entire film on, watch out for Ally McBeals Lucy Liu as a dominatrix that feels as if its the next step on from her role as Ling in the TV show. Payback offers us a soundtrack that sounds very much like the ones we find on films that were made in the 70s and TV shows like Shaft, creating a different feel than expected. Given the pale look of the film the music is pretty fitting, for the pale look a guess somekind of bleaching was used on the film. There is a totally different cut of the film somewhere and is not included on the DVD, The one released was by Mel Gibson himself and the Alternative was by the director. It the directors cut Porter gets the money and is shot, the money falls into the hands of a tramp that carries it away, before Porter just lies there to die. Rosie finds him and slaps him back to life, then Porter says 'I know a good doctor'. Payback is not a movie everyone will like, while it has its strengths in the way it paints it characters, it can leave a sour tatse in your mouth. It has a great in running joke thorugh the whole film about the amount of money Porter wants. If you want to check out some edgy, hard-core action thriller with a high body count Payback is definitely worth a look.

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                        20.10.2000 03:07
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                        This has got to be the worst film that I have ever had the discomfort of having to watch. The only good point that I could see about this film is the fact that Mel Gibson was in it, apart from that I could not see anything positive that came out of it. I totally did not get the storyline as I felt it was very poorly written. The so called twists in the plot were not always succesfully done as i felt that some should have gone the other way. In the final scenes I felt that there should have been at least another half of an hour to the film as I felt it did not finish at the right point because not a lot actually happened during it. Stay away at all costs.

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                          14.10.2000 01:01

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                          For some reason the box office draw of Mel Gibson didn't quite work when this movie came out, in essence it was pretty much a flop. Now on home video people are starting to wise up as to what a great and entertaining film Payback is. Mel Gibson is a bad guy, but not as bad as the people he kills. There are explosions and gun battles, death and destruction, beautiful women and lots of cussing. All for $70,000 owed to Gibson's character, Porter from a previous heist! Nothing more and nothing less. The violence is somewhat serious in its portrayal, coming off as excessive even though it really isn't. But bang for bang, buck for buck Payback is action packed entertainment that you'll turn to again and again when your local cable company has decided to offer you their rendition of a blizzard instead of regularly scheduled programming. A solid video purchase.

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                          13.10.2000 00:10
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                          We rented this video the other night on a friends advice who said it was absolutely brilliant and we do like Mel Gibson so thought it would be worth watching. I can only say how disappointed we were as the storyline is very slow. Mel Gibson plays a crock who gets doublecrossed by his partner in crime and his wife who has been led to believe by this man that Mel Gibson her husband is having an affair. They shoot him and leave him for dead but Mel Gibson does not die and comes back to take his revenge on the pair of them. I won't go into the film anymore as it would ruin the storyline if you feel the need to rent this video. I confess to falling asleep while watching this but awoke some five minutes later to be informed I hadn't missed a thing! A truly disappointing film for Mel Gibson, well we thought so anyway, it was way too slow.

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                      • Product Details

                        If it weren't for the fact that John Boorman's Point Blank was already a definitive take on Richard Stark's novel The Hunter (reissued under the title Payback), Payback would be a well-above-average 90s action movie. The original toughness is diluted: Mel Gibson's Porter, replacing Lee Marvin's Walker and Stark's Parker, comes on like a hardnut but turns into a softie when he hooks up with call-girl Maria Bello (and he even likes dogs). Double-crossed and wounded after shifty Gregg Henry dupes Porter's wife (Deborah Kara Unger) into betraying him, Porter sets out to get back the $70,000 share of a heist that he feels he is owed. Because Henry has used the money to buy his way into "the Outfit", he has to deal not only with the squirming scumbag but a hierarchy of corporate mobsters (William Devane, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson) for whom it would be bad business practice to hand over even the trivial sum. Director-writer Brian Helgeland gives it a steely-blue look and gets good performances all round (with room for Lucy Liu as an amusing dominatrix) while constructing a story in which everything fits. But it's just a good thriller, since the masterpiece potential has already been staked out. --Kim Newman