Starring Joan James Muixi, Jon Campling, Leroy Kincaide, Holly Woodhouse, Max Cavenham
Directed by Leroy Kincaide
At the world premiere of Max Payne: Retribution, when asked how the fan film was superior to the official 2008 Max Payne movie, director Leroy Kincaide replied with two simple words: “I cared”. ‘Nuff said.
Max Payne: Retribution is a fan film in every sense of the word. While it certainly didn’t have anywhere near the scope or budget of a major Hollywood production, it had at least ten times the passion. Believe me, when you see all the visuals homages to the games, such as the signature bullet time effects or Max’s iconic sideways flip/shooting maneuver, you can practically feel the dedication that the filmmakers put into replicating all the moments which have made the series so beloved by millions over the years. This is the real Max Payne, and boy has he made a welcome return.
Not too much plot could be covered within the somewhat lean 43 minute runtime, which is why I’m hoping to see the story expanded in a sequel. What we did get in the way of plot did a decent enough job of setting up Max’s world as a grieving cop trying to prevent crime lord Jack Lupino (played with panache by none other than the director himself) from unleashing an outbreak of the lethal drug Valkyrie on the streets. Hauntingly portrayed by Joan James Muixi, Max is a man battling both inner and possibly literal demons, only this time he can’t just take some painkillers and have his health restored to 100%.
Fans will also tell you that the games are pretty hardcore, and Retribution doesn’t fail to deliver in that regard, with some spectacularly bloody kills on display. Jon Campling, who you may know as King Regis from Final Fantasy XV, delivered a particularly memorable turn as a sadistic interrogator who enjoys licking his victims like Jabba the Hutt before getting down to the dirty work.
Amidst the plethora of fan films out there these days, this deserves to be placed a cut above the rest. Not just because of its superior visuals, but because it’s clear that the team had set out to do right by Max Payne by giving him the most faithful adaptation they could. To put it bluntly, if you’re a fan of the games, you’re gonna love Max Payne: Retribution. And if you’re not a fan, you’ll probably still love it anyway. Welcome back Max, you’ve been gone too long.