It's never a good thing when the best thing you can say about a movie is that you were impressed by its production design.
Still, just to get that out of the way: Max Payne looks incredibly cool. There's snow fall and rain storms that serve as the backdrop to violent encounters and vulnerable moments for various characters. Visually stunning, no doubt.
But the actual story telling - of a man seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and baby - is secondary to action that quickly gets stale. It seemed to us that director John Moore had difficulty creating a credible world couched between reality and fantasy.
If you want us to feel badly for the title characters, you won't garner much sympathy from a blaring soundtrack and the non-stop whirring of bullets (that only seem to hit the bad guys). And if you want us to simply enjoy the action, well, don't attempt dramatic moments like the ones that show Payne distraught over the loss of his family.
The best part of Max Payne is the cast: Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco can scare the heck out of anyone as a drug lord; Wahlberg is great at brooding and shooting; and Olga Kurylenko gives a nice glimpse of what to expect from her in Quantum of Solace. We do wish we could have seen more of Mila Kunis, however.
And less noise and chaos. Seriously, a down moment or two never hurt any movie.