Max Payne came and went without making much of an impact on the box office or public consciousness -- I think I saw more commercials for the original game than I saw for its big screen adaptation. Game movies don't inspire much enthusiasm or excitement anymore, and no wonder, as not one has broke out of the lackluster mold. Ten minutes or so into Max Payne, and you'll think "This would be so much more fun to play than watch" just as you probably did with Tomb Raider, Hitman, Doom, etc. At least Max Payne is more visually arresting than most attempts -- the mixture of Balrogs and Sin City almost make you forgive the dreary plot. Almost. (For a more in depth review, you can read Eric Snider's take.)

Max Payne hits DVD shelves this Tuesday in three different versions: Single-Disc, Special Edition, and Blu-Ray.
All three versions are in widescreen( 2.35:1 aspect ratio) and boast the theatrical and unrated cuts, as well as an audio commentary with John Moore, production designer Daniel Dorrance and visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell. Only the Special Edition and Blu-Ray have digital copies and additional bonus features: an animated graphic novel called Michelle Payne, and a behind-the-scenes featurette Picture. (Weirdly, Picture is divided into parts -- and you only get Part 2 if you buy Blu Ray.)

So, what about that unrated cut? If you were hoping that it fix the uneven story or lack of violence, you will be sorely disappointed. The unrated cut is only three minutes longer, and I can't say I noticed that it added any extra carnage beyond a few four letter bombs.






The animated graphic novel Michelle Payne gives additional backstory to the deceased Mrs. Payne and her role with the Aesir Corporation. It's almost unbearably creepy to watch, because the characters all look like partially decomposed corpses inhabiting a landscape that looks like Silent Hill. The events don't quite mesh up with Michelle's death in the film (Max finds her cell phone in the snow, and immediately knows something is wrong -- unlike his sun-drenched memory we see throughout the movie.) Her sexy Valkyrie tattoo is left out completely.

Picture is even more inexplicable, and one of the oddest featurettes I've seen in awhile. One minute, it's basic behind-the-scenes "Here's what a stuntman does" stuff. Next, you're hearing from cast and crew members about how hard it is to work in the industry, what long days they put in, and how you have to work for love, not money. Interspersed with that is shots of a helicopter, musings from Beau Bridges on the history of story-telling, Mark Wahlberg hanging with his entourage, and director John Moore ranting and flipping off the camera. And that was just Part 1, I lack Blu-Ray capability to ever find out what happened in Part 2. Somehow, it (and the fact that Mila Kunis had 72 hair tests) goes a long way to explaining the finished film.