Writer: Brian Helgeland, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Donald E Westlake (Novel)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, David Paymer, Bill Duke, Deborah Kara Under, John Glover, Lucy Liu
Plot: After a successful heist, Porter is shot by his wife and his best friend. They leave him there to die but when he recovers, he seeks revenge and wants his share of the money.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Enjoyable Revenge Thriller
Story: Payback starts as Porter (Gibson) is left for dead by his partner Val (Henry) and wife Lynn (Unger), Porter explains everything he wants to go and why it happened as he tells us all his plan. We watch how Porter dives into the criminal underworld to get his hands-on Val first to get his money, then to kill him.
Porter’s mission is filled with twists and turns along the way as he deals with his former bosses, Bronson (Kristofferson), Carter (Devane), dirty cops and his only friend is old flame Rosie (Bello), can he get what is owned to him?
Thoughts on Payback
Characters – Porter is a streetwise criminal that does the small jobs in the underworld until he is betrayed, he only wants his money but ends up going after the whole organisation in his cold calculated way. Val is the man that betrayed Porter, he has a short temper and gets himself into trouble more often than not. Rosie is the one person Porter is willing to trust but mostly used to show Porter could have a life after this revenge mission. We also have the traditional crime characters that don’t seem to have anything overly original about them.
Performance – Mel Gibson was one of the hottest properties in the 90’s before any controversy and here you can see he knew how to be the star of the show. Gregg Henry is a good villain but we have three main villains that all get the limited amount of time. Maria Bello is also good in this film as the helper showing us she can pull off the sexy smart partner in crime.
Story – The story is a by the book revenge story of a betrayed criminal that goes after the man who turned on his just to get the money back but ends up facing off against the how organisation. This is also a film which is known for how the editing changed the tone of the film which is something you can see through the story a lot, one minute it feels like a dark thriller the next it has a moment of what feels slightly comical. This does take part of the film out but the story still ends up going the same way.
Action/Crime – The action is shoot ups which are a good watch throughout the film, each having bigger stakes and each trying to give us something original. The crime world shows us the world all the characters are from which helps us understand all the motivation they show.
Settings – New York, my old friend and favourite for a crime setting, nothing can be flawed and staying away from some of the bigger iconic monuments or structures helps us enjoy the gritty underworld.
Scene of the Movie – Pearl in a jam.
Final Thoughts – This is a good by the book crime thriller but the tonal problems stops it reaching the highlights of everything it could have from what I hear of the director’s cut.
Overall: Crime thriller fans will enjoy.