Payne Suppression

In these troubled times, there’s a lot to get outraged about. Like McCain/Palin supporters for example. But I won’t get into what irritates me about people like the “He’s an Arab” lady or the “I’m mad, I’m really mad” stripes-aren’t-a-good-look-for-me guy or the Backwards-B cutter girl or even “Joe-the-fucking-plumber who isn’t actually a plumber, or even a guy named Joe.”

No, I’m suffering from electionitis, and can’t muster the energy to bitch about politics today. Instead, I have to rant about the kind of thing that really gets my tits in a knot. Movie stuff.

Here’s a quote from the recent daily-news over at the Internet Movie Database:

The head of the company that produces the Max Payne video games has joined the criticism of the movie based on the game. 3D Realms CEO Scott Miller told the video-game magazine Edge, “There are several fundamental story flaws … in the film that have me shaking my head in bewilderment.” Among them, he said, is the fact that Payne is seen in a flashback scene half way through the movie learning that his family has been murdered. Said Miller, “In the game, we put this scene right at the front of the story for a reason! Saving this scene until mid-film is a narrative blunder, because the audience needs to empathize with Max in order to like him and understand what drives him.” In any case, the video-game-turned-movie led the box office over the weekend, earning $17.6 million.

Sure, I know the craft of translating video games to the big screen appears to be a lost art since the classical period of the early ’90s when the form peaked with the superlative Super Mario Brothers. Now it just seems to be one Uwe Boll film after another, with little hope for a thoughtful, masterful adaptation of Tetris since the untimely death of Stanley Kubrick who, I’m sure, had it at the top of his development list. Still, I have to take issue with the quote above.

I’ve played the Max Payne games and, in defense of whatever poor screenwriter got stuck with the job of adapting it, I must go on record and say that the last person on Earth he should be taking narrative storytelling advice from is some software CEO douchebag responsible (in whole or in part) for the crappy emo-film-noir plotlines of a Max Payne video game.

Every time I played one of the Max Payne games, I couldn’t wait for the cut scenes to stop brooding and pissing seedy atmosphere so I could kill lots of baddies in bullet time. And then toss a Molotov cocktail on them to seal the deal. The sheer tediousness of the plotlines, which would interrupt the otherwise fun and excessively violent game play, was the single most egregious example of annoying and intrusive storytelling in a video game I’ve ever witnessed.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but whatever original plot the writer chose to jettison or bury in a mid-film flashback, I applaud. Yeah, I’m willing to bet the flick sucks anyway. It was kind of destined to. But the last thing an unfortunate Hollywood hack needs to hear is structure advice from the people who hamstrung their own shoot-em-up with a pile of clichéd pseudo-crimestory snoozefest gobbledegook.

Solidarity, my brother. Solidarity!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can go back to obsessing about what’s really important. Namely November 4th. Yes, 04/11/2008, that pivotal day which may well prove to be the most significant in contemporary western history.

Because, my dear friends, as we all well know, that’s the day the extended cut of Waterworld comes out on DVD. Now there’s an awesome flick that didn’t need any damn video game source material.

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