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Overall Rating
3.73

Awesome: 17.7%
Worth A Look50.44%
Average: 22.12%
Pretty Bad: 7.08%
Total Crap: 2.65%

7 reviews, 71 user ratings


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Payback (1999)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Greg Muskewitz

"The masochist movie of the year!"
3 stars

There are some movies that are so completely unbelievable, often you wonder why those actions are thrown into movies. But other times, those preposterous actions are fun, and you go along with it. Such is the case with “Payback,” which from the first line said to the last, you don’t believe a single thing that’s going on, but you go for it just for the heck of it.

Mel Gibson stars as Porter, you make the decision whether it’s his first name or last. He’s a bad guy, just the same as everyone else, maybe with the exception of Maria Bello as Rosie. Approximately three years ago, Porter was double crossed by good friend Val (Gregg Henry) and wife Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger) for $70,000. Everyone thought him to be dead –that is until he resurfaces.

Starting over from scratch, Porter must relocate Val using a chain-of-command to work his way up until he gets the $70,000. Along the way he encounters some quirky characters in the lineage of David Lynch perversities. An enumeration of quirks include: Lucy Liu (“Ally McBeal”) as Pearl, a S&Ming dominatrix of enormous proportions; David Paymer as Stegman, an underling who wants to make it on top; and James Coburn as Fairafax, another Syndicate boss who’s more worried about his alligator bags than his people, as well as many more!

Rumor has it that it’s true writer/director Brian Helgeland was fired by Gibson (post-production), but he has continued his stylized look underneath the norm, and into duplicity (he also wrote “Conspiracy Theory” and co-wrote “L.A. Confidential”). “Payback” seems to be in line with our hunger for crime movies (“Out of Sight,” “Get Shorty,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Jackie Brown,” etc), but it is lacking in many areas, one of the biggest being the lack of cohesivity. The biggest problem however, was the blue tint in which it was filmed in. Talk about annoying, you could never get used to it. “Payback” is still a good transitory piece, and my advocacy comes from Lucy Liu’s stunning and malicious performance. Liu is hilarious, and ergo, I hereby name this the masochistic movie of the year. “Payback” is wildly perverse and never goes for the obvious.

Final Verdict: B-.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=727&reviewer=172
originally posted: 09/17/00 13:47:24
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/23/14 Michael Ervin Great revenge movie! Watch your toes! 5 stars
2/11/12 hurdygurdy man Might work as a comedy, add a joint for a few chuckles. 3 stars
7/24/10 bagwell5 I am a fan of both versions of the film. Great revenge story. Violent with great dialogue 5 stars
10/16/09 Monday Morning Still and always one of the best movies ever. 5 stars
9/26/08 Shaun Wallner Great Movie!! 5 stars
7/22/08 the dork knight Although there is some comedy, Mel stays serious, which is good 4 stars
1/15/07 Gloria Dornin It was good, love Gibson, seen better 3 stars
9/09/06 Michele mel is always enjoyable 3 stars
7/09/06 JIMMY lucy liu makes beautiful dominatrix 4 stars
6/17/06 Agent Sands Perfect for what it is. 5 stars
10/07/05 Klondo I didn't like this movie, but it has Gibson in it, and that's... 3 stars
10/03/05 Indrid Cold Starts out brilliantly, but ends up being a standard revenge movie. 4 stars
8/27/05 Rever_Bear-Trap COULD'VE BEEN BETTER BUT OH WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/25/05 ES If the dog had died it would have been the movie it was trying so hard to be 2 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams i like the cinematography. Movie...meh. 3 stars
11/15/04 sue another gibson movie 3 stars
10/30/04 Archanist_101 It should've had a better script & replace Maria Bello with Gina Gershon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
9/06/04 Daveman Gibson's masochism doesn't measure up to that of his audience by the smallest fraction. 1 stars
8/17/04 john bale Indestructable Mel sorts out the baddies in a slick but average thriller 3 stars
6/08/04 PAYNE Yeah it's OK 4 stars
7/05/02 KMG This movie IS HOT! 5 stars
4/15/02 R.W. Welch Pseudo-Noir thrller; not bad if you don't take it seriously. 4 stars
2/10/02 Teymur Fantastic 5 stars
1/22/02 Monster W. Kung Not bad but altogether very unmemorable. 3 stars
11/30/01 The $1.98 Pyramid It wasn't entertaining. Gibson can do much better. 2 stars
9/15/01 Butterbean Lucy Liu was useless in this movie. Payback wasn't as bad as critics say 3 stars
8/28/01 Bueller Score one for the not-so bad, bad guys. 4 stars
6/01/01 Monday Morning How come Jason gets two shots at this? 5 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Entertaining at best, inoffensive at worst. 4 stars
4/24/01 Monday Morning Smart, noir-stylish, totally great comedy "edge" for balance. One of the best. 5 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Not a masterpiece, but a decent flick nonetheless. Not for the faint of heart, though. 4 stars
10/13/00 Jason I wasted 2 hours of my life...go to the symphony instead! 2 stars
10/13/00 Josh An awesome rush of a movie. Don't listen to anyone (Jason) who says otherwise. 5 stars
10/13/00 Jason I wasted 2 hours of my life...go to the symphony instead! 2 stars
9/12/00 Jed Don't Believe the critics folks this is a bad movie. 2 stars
7/20/00 Eran entertaining ending! 4 stars
7/11/00 Terrie Smith Not bad; the usual gung-ho performance from Gibson but Henry almost walks away with it. 3 stars
6/28/00 malcolm cool as hell. any Frank Miller fans out there? 4 stars
1/04/00 Gotham DK Gibson kicking ass instead of showing it. Not one of those repeat watch movies. 3 1/2. 3 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster I've finally found something that sucked more than Lethal Weapon 4 . 2 stars
10/21/99 Tony Daquano Movies should be more like this 5 stars
10/13/99 "JED" One of mel's weakest he should stick to Lethal weapon. 2 stars
9/30/99 Brentus unpredictable, good, but it lacked something???? 4 stars
9/05/99 The Bomb 69 average written all over it 3 stars
6/15/99 Ver-Jun Without a doubt the worst film I've seen in 3 years!!! 1 stars
6/15/99 David The look is good, the cruelty is good, I just wish I could see Helgeland's original version 3 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Funny and slick, but enough with the blue! 4 stars
4/13/99 Go Swans Gains bonus points for being quick, fast and short. Mel's best since Ransom. 4 stars
4/06/99 Irzal Rinaldi It's really a cruel movie 3 stars
4/01/99 Thanatos This might be a remake, but it was still one of the best movies i've seen all year! 5 stars
3/18/99 Scott Stipe Man.....It rocked 5 stars
3/14/99 Matt the 'invincible' main character almost ruined it, but he was an asshole, so it was ok 4 stars
3/13/99 16 in. of swingin' meat & a bucket of balls Film Noir fun with almost no morality. Porter (GIbson) makes you afraid of the dark. 5 stars
3/11/99 Bobby Luv Sadism rules baby, lots of fun explosions, mel in graveltone and Devane cranks it up 5 stars
3/07/99 CYaniDERuSH thank god for a noir flick. really liked the touches of dean martin 4 stars
3/05/99 ^Cesaro Kinda like falling down, but with more death. Not quite there yet. Keep trying. 4 stars
3/04/99 Steve Kelley Not as bad as I'd heard, not as good as I hoped. This is not Elmore Leonard. 3 stars
3/04/99 Mr Showbiz A cartton noir that's really just a Mel Gibson vehicle. 3 stars
2/25/99 Viral Messiah Mel Gibson is great in this noir flick! Totally awesome! 4 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN Typical Gibson action movie, pretty good, but could use extra oil in a few of the joints 3 stars
2/21/99 bogeyman Another example of the ads making the movie look a lot better than it really is. 2 stars
2/12/99 Zachary Ryan its better than the review listed here. this movie rocks! 5 stars
2/10/99 poolboy good clean s&m FUN! 4 stars
2/09/99 Jumbles Exciting and fun, but nothing special. Wind Mel up and watch him go! 3 stars
2/09/99 buddy Still great, even though they fiddled with it. 4 stars
2/07/99 Giladani Interesting 90s film with 70s borderline Film Noir sensibilities. Worth a look definitely. 4 stars
2/07/99 Kozmic Great movie,good story, no boredom anywhere in it. 5 stars
2/06/99 Cory Clawson GREAT! 5 stars
1/06/99 The Dude VERY COOL MOVIE -ONE TO SEE 5 stars
12/01/98 Kirgo Would almost rather pull my own teeth out than see that crap again! 1 stars
11/30/98 Lindsay The film was OK. Best part was Lucy Alexis Lieu (from Ally MacBeal). She was very funny. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Feb-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  04-Mar-1999 (MA)


Directed by
  Brian Helgeland

Written by
  Brian Helgeland
  Richard Stark

Cast
  Mel Gibson
  Maria Bello
  William Devane
  David Paymer
  Gregg Henry



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