Review by Ross Anthony

Paying homage to the likes of Dirty Harry, Charles Bronson and Starsky and Hutch ... "Payback" is a "Death Wish" of the '90s. Opening with a late '60s secret-agent theme and filmed in a grainy bluish hue, the film has a 70's feel without sticking plastic yellow daisies all over the screen. "Payback" is packed with 90's twists, action and dialogue; so even though, president Nixon and a certain Hicks fight are mentioned, you might still miss the subtle "retro-ness."

Porter (Mel Gibson), a likeable thief, is betrayed by his wife in cohorts with fellow thief Val (Gregg Henry). Following a successful sting, his junkie wife Lynn and crime pal Val pop a couple of rounds in Porter's back whilest fleeing with his share of the take. Months later, Porter exits the hospital alive, but dead set on squaring the deal. And boy is he sorely lacking in the patience department.

By now Val is hobnobbing with syndicate heavies after buying his way in with Porter's money. Val spends his leisure time with Pearl, a tiny Asian prostitute with an awesome left hook. Pearl's idea of foreplay brings the battle of the sexes to an all out fist fight. It's shockingly funny.

Porter hooks up with Rosie, an old girlfriend who looks so much like his wife that you might get a bit confused (so take heed). Rosie knows him well, "I think the rumors that you're dead are true, you're just too knuckleheaded to admit it." Porter and Rosie take on the entire syndicate for a scant sum of 70 grand. All the while, a couple of cops ride Porter's back expecting that this lunatic is actually going to be intimidated into handing a chunk of the spoils to them. This and a few other plausibility issues are easily overshadowed by the powerful and driven Mel Gibson. This movie is packed with surprises, gunfire and humor; it's a fun action flick you shouldn't miss.

Starring Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry and Maria Bello.
Directed by Brian Helgeland.
Producer: Bruce Davey at Paramount/Icon
Rated R.


chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:00:25 PDT