I’m not a video game player, so the name Max Payne didn’t mean much to me when I attended the Comic Con panel for the upcoming 20th Century Fox movie. Any interest in the project for me came from star Mark Wahlberg, who I’ve always liked despite the occasional dud in his resume. Wahlberg sat down in front of a crowd of 6,500 along with co-stars Mila Kunis and Luadacris and director John Moore to bring a few clips of the movie and answer softball questions tossed out by the “moderator” (a Fox executive whose name I didn’t record). Due to the technical glitch of having the back curtains fall off the wall right before the first panel was set to start, they hurried the first couple of groups (including the Max Payne group) and didn’t take questions from the audience.

The audience did express their love for Wahlberg at nearly every opportunity. The crowd was heavy with those waiting for the Twilight panel but those young females got their shrieking practice in anytime Wahlberg spoke or his face flashed up on the giant screens. He joked that it was “like doing a concert in Japan.” He said he no knows “why the New Kids wanted to go back on tour” and that it made him feel “warm in the pants.” Once he got that off his chest, Wahlberg said that his reason for doing Max Payne was so that he could “kick some ass” after doing movies like Invincible and The Lovely Bones.

Wahlberg also said he felt he was the right person to play the part because of his “street credibility and arrest record, I was credible enough to play this role.” I actually thought he was joking when he mentioned that his arrest record might help sell him in the role, but he seemed completely serious. He said that he was excited for everyone to see the movie and thought that the havoc that Max brings to the bad guys will be very satisfying for the audience.

According to the moderator, director Moore said that the movie was “not minimum Payne, not medium Payne, it’s Max Payne.” That’s about the stupidest thing anyone said all Comic Con weekend, and brought more semi-chuckles than excited whoops from the fans. Moore did say that his goal was to “not screw up” the story and built-in following of those who love the video game. He also said that the movie is designed to make you feel like you are in the game. Moore explained the slo-mo effects as a new process that records 1,000 frames per second and allows them to recreate the “bullet time” effect used in the video game. Kunis and Ludacris didn’t add too much other than praising Wahlberg and Moore (who praised them right back) and explaining their characters a little.

The Max Payne panel also included two clips from the movie and a special trailer. The clips showed the movies very stark motif and obvious emphasis on shootouts and explosions with an arty flair. The first clip follows Payne into an apartment building where he has a fight with an assailant. The action is good, but certainly not remarkable. The second clip is more of the same with Payne in a subway bathroom, taking on three thugs. Again, it does have a nice look and certainly the movie is all about the action, but it doesn’t really stand out in any way. The trailer had an extended section where Payne shoots it out in an office building with a SWAT team. Although the team shoots hundreds of bullets at him shattering every window in sight, he’s untouched. There’s a little Die Hard in that scene and it will satisfy the action junkies out there, but based on what they showed at Comic Con, it looks like a pretty basic shoot-em-up movie.
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