While I would consider this to be an all-out forgettable title, I have to admit that upon re-watching it (for the first time since its theatrical release in 2008), there are elements about it that I do enjoy. Of course, that's speaking for it as its own thing. As an adaptation, they got a few things right, but one thing that makes it suffer is a fairly strange addition; a bunch of demons making people freak out during hallucinations (I know, right? It's like "what?"). It's understandable that fans didn't receive this one very well, but there is a dark, stylistic tone about this I enjoy. It reminded me of 'Sin City' a lot of the time.
The original game, released back in 2001, follows DEA agent and former NYPD officer, Max Payne as he hunts around for whoever was responsible for his wife and kid's death. The same someone has also framed Max for the murder of Alex Balder; his former partner when he was still a cop. As the game continues, he gets help from characters like the suave Russian mobster, Vladimir Lem, and a vigilante named Mona Sax, out for her own revenge for the death of her sister. Eventually things lead to conspiracies involving a drug called Valkyr (or "V"), and it all connects to Max's family's fate. The game is a third person shooter, and was very well received upon its release by critics and fans alike. It spawned two sequels, ending with 'Max Payne 3' in 2012, and no one seems to really seem to care about it ever making a comeback (no one I know personally, anyway).
The film is altogether similar. Payne (Mark Wahlberg) is still an NYPD detective here, assigned to the Cold Case unit. We eventually learn, much like in the game, that his wife, Michelle and daughter, Rose were both murdered, and that this is another revenge film. When an acquaintance of one of Payne's informants is murdered, Payne ends up suspect number one due to a critical piece of evidence. We further learn that this acquaintance is the sister of Mona Sax (Mila Kunis); a freelance assassin. They soon end up after the same person, and much like in the game, conspiracies unfold, and a drug known as Valkyr is also present. It's basically supposed to be some kind of super soldier serum when it works right, but if not, the user experiences massive hallucinations involving "Valkyries". By the way, if you want to know what a Valkyrie should look like, 'Thor 3'. NOT this! This just makes them out to be demons of some kind.
Now, those who know me well know that I generally object to the idea of turning certain games into movies. I'm all for ideas you can play around with, like redoing 'Super Mario Bros' and actually doing it right. But when it comes to something like 'The Last of Us', or something that has a singular story flowing through it already, I see it as remaking an interactive movie that already exists. I don't care who knows it, I still think a 'Last of Us' movie is a terrible idea. But I digress. The point is, 'Max Payne' is a pretty good example of one of the times I've felt like that. I feel differently about things like 'Resident Evil' because I see it as a separate thing, inspired by the games, rather than a direct adaptation of any kind. This was a bit of a cut and paste job, and its enough that its differences stand out a bit more than they should.
I'm not sure I'd claim this as being necessarily bad, but it's definitely forgettable. It's also a movie that's sort of hard to take seriously these days, knowing that Wahlberg and Kunis starred as a comedic couple in 'Ted'; one of my favourite comedies that I've seen about a million times. I was honestly waiting for a joke to pop up half the time I was watching their interactions here. The real treat here is the films noir atmosphere and cinematography, and that's one thing from the game they sort of nailed here. On the whole, this isn't great, but I'd actually consider it to be barely passable as long as you're not attached to the game. This is a "2", but it's a high "2". If you are attached to these games, on the other hand, just skip it. All it'll do it bug you.