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  • Payback
    • Payback
    • Runtime:100 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-24 14:25:47
    • Director: Brian Helgeland
    • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
    • Studio:


Here is another action hero who single-handedly dispatches swarms of
bad guys from various factions and just like his counterpart Sly gets
bruised in the process. He is the urban version of the jungle/desert
warrior Rambo. Point Blank is masterful, serious film-making unlike
this excuse of a flick. In it the wonderful Lee Marvin never thinks for
a moment that he can take on a big, mysterious organization by himself.
This movie is so full of crap that I wished it exploded like the big
explosion towards the end of it. Don't watch Bruce Willis' cheesy
character ruin the exceptional Day of the Jackal of the 70's, and don't
watch Alec Baldwin and wife at the time try to ruin Sam Peckinpah's The
Getaway. Just how many of these ridiculous, stupid Hollywoodian legend
of one-man-against-an-army are they willing to make? This is some sick
fantasy, for it has no basis in reality whatsoever… it is another
example of an unnecessary remake that tries hard to cheapen the
original. Who are these idiots that pick the best movies of the past to
remake? At least pick something badly made so you could say you
improved upon the source material. My advice is pick the very worst
films so that there wouldn't be any possibility of screwing it up.


Zero out of ten — strictly for the brainless. But here's a joke for
you: in an interview just broadcast on French radio (France Culture),
John Boorman, whose seminal classic Point Blank was dropped into the
liquidiser by Gibson and Helgeland, recalls his first meeting with Lee
Marvin to discuss the movie. The studio's script was so bad that Marvin
hurled it out of the window of the London house where they both were.
Subsequently the idea was re-crafted into a new script — which became
the masterwork Point Blank is. Boorman imagines that Mel Gibson may
have been passing in the street and picked the original script out of
the gutter where Marvin had thrown it — and subsequently filmed it as

Boorman says he went around various film festivals telling this story,
until, in the run-up to the release of Payback, Gibson rang him and
asked him to stop telling it, as it was having a bad effect on
Payback's chances! As if Payback didn't do a good enough job all on its
own of persuading people it was trash…

Payback is utterly worthless; those with no sense for film may enjoy it
as mindless pulp but anyone with any feeling for film will find it
wildly uneven, graceless and crude. It flails around between clumsily
derivative writing and acting, characters with no credible humanity,
gratuitous sadism and unfunny slapstick. Some critics here have
describes it as uncivilised, and I know what they mean – a film as
stupid as this can only come about as a result of pure cynicism. Or…
could it be that the rumours are right, and that the dead hand of Mr
Gibson, currently in the news for his charming comments about blacks,
Jews and gays, can be felt in the script and tone?


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Strangely enough it is a gangster film full of faithlessness and
hypocrisy, hatred and greed and yet the good guys turn out to be a
gangster and a prostitute. A hold up turns too small for one of the two
gangsters who wants to get rid of the other and uses this other's
girlfriend to do the bad work in his own back. But in this world there
is always a comeback and then a payback and the payback is always
proportional to the distance to catch up on the comeback journey, and
when it is near death that was the starting point of this comeback you
can be sure the payback will implicate a lot of money and a lot of
metal. And it does and it is not that easy to go to the top of the drug
dealing business, and that sure is not easy and there are many hurdles.
We wonder why he got down in front of the last one, or is it a way to
really trap the boss. But he is also a very creative hit man in his
come back and he pays back a lot with the metal, explosive and guns of
those he shot down or he wants to bring down. He is flexible,
adaptable, opportunistic and his principle is not to hit higher than
the top but to hit the top just to get his due and he gets it and he
does not have to share in the end. That's what is good in this gangster
film. The gangster really gets our hearts in his hands because he is
just asking for justice from his fellow gangsters who don't seem to
have any sense of justice, nor the few cops he comes across either. New
York always looks good under this light with whizzing bullets in the

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University
Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID

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