HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Payback Cash On DemandBuy this film here.
Year: 1999
Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, David Paymer, Bill Duke, Deborah Kara Unger, John Glover, William Devane, Lucy Liu, Jack Conley, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Alfa, Kwame Amoaku, James Coburn, Freddy Rodriguez, Sally Kellerman
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Porter (Mel Gibson) has a score to settle, but first he has to get back on his feet. Walking through the city streets he decides the first thing he needs is money, so lifts the cash out of a homeless man's begging funds, and the next thing he needs is a meal, so he goes to a diner and uses the cash for that. It's not enough, but he has some ability as a pickpocket, so steals a wallet and goes on a spending spree, generating a few hundred dollars and gaining a revolver at the pawnbroker's, then treats himself to a slap up meal just as the credit cards are cancelled. Now he has to see about the real money, and heads over to an old acquaintance: junkie Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger), who happens to be his wife, his estranged wife, it is safe to say.

Rarely was a movie messed around with so much in post-production than Payback, another adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake thriller that John Boorman's Point Blank was based on. It's a brave actor who follows in Lee Marvin's footsteps, especially in the same role in the same story, but Gibson felt he was up to the task and hired hot screenwriter Brian Helgeland, fresh off Oscar-winner L.A. Confidential, to direct. All was going well and the shoot was completed, then the footage edited, then the director fired, then the reshoots commenced - wait, what? That's right, Mel was unhappy with what Helgeland had dreamt up and felt he could improve on it, so around a third of the original cut was replaced.

Was Gibson correct to stamp his authority on a project that he believed he could refashion in a style that showed him to a better advantage? Once the Director's Cut was released around five years later and people could see what Helgeland had had in mind, the answer was probably not, as the Gibson version was a somewhat flavourless action thriller that seemed a lot milder the further it went on, belying how nasty not merely the source novel was, but also the original incarnation. Although we lost Kris Kristofferson, who was drafted in to play the Mr Big role as the head of The Outfit, we did get a leaner, meaner experience that played to Gibson's strengths as a not entirely trustworthy hero; he had toned this down.

By recruiting his old Mad Max 2 screenwriter Terry Hayes, presumably he thought he could recapture some of that old magic, but the fact remained Westlake's plotting was well served by the Helgeland, if not as well as Boorman's vision which took an almost mystical approach to wrapping things up; here we simply had a note of hope amidst Gibson's usual bloodstained martyrdom. Neither Payback was going to be a classic in the same way, though Point Blank could justifiably be termed a cult classic as well, while its remake did pick up fans, it was more to do with seeing Gibson in badass mode which always went down benevolently with his ever-forgiving fans. In truth, much of what was entertaining was in that plotting and seeing how Porter (not Parker, as Westlake called the anti-hero) extricated himself from sticky situations.

All the while landing others in trouble they would have to clean up themselves, assuming they were still alive at the end of his spree. Tussling with Chinese gangsters, The Outfit which ran organised crime like a respectable business (only with murder, when absolutely necessary), and Gregg Henry as Val Resnick, the ex-partner, ex-best friend, and downright lowdown scoundrel who left Porter for dead, then took his wife and his share of a heist they had perpetrated, this was all very well, but it was the self-consciously stylish trappings that marked this out as a move towards respectability for a deeply unrespectable source, and that tended to jar. Lucy Liu had fun as a dominatrix who beats up Val more than Porter does, and there were plenty of valuable character actors in support, yet that gloss spoke to the real reason Gibson cleaned up Payback, which was he wanted to be a bad guy who was not really all that evil when it came down to it, he only visited his vengeance on those who deserved it, and there was a hypocrisy there. Still, it was pleasing to see Porter demand what seems like such a paltry sum as recompense that nobody believes he doesn't want more. Music by Chris Boardman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 942 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: