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Mel Gibson returns to the screen in Payback. He stars as Porter, a thief who was doublecrossed, shot, and left for dead after a successful robbery. After months away, he returns to claim his share of the crime, and is met with, shall we say, a little resistance as his betrayer has joined "The Outfit", with obvious mob ties. Much violence ensues.
The tag line suggests you root for the bad guy. Well, Mel is that, but everyone else is worse. Make no mistake, this film is brutal. The film is spruced up with a lot of "comic" dialogue to make the violence less severe. For many people, this doesn't help, but for me, it worked. This film is full of crime movie cliches - the hooker with the heart of gold (Maria Bello, apparently in the hooker phase of her career), the politely vicious crime bosses (James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson), not to mention the snivelling bootlicking toady types (David Paymer). Somehow, even with all this potential for mediocrity, it worked for me. Look for a kinky, comedic performance by Lucy Alexis Liu, who you may know from her character Ling (soft L soft G) on the Fox TV show Ally McBeal.
Ya gotta wonder about how motivated Porter really is, and why he goes to the lengths he does to get his money back. As Johnny Cochran may say, "This does NOT make sense!" Granted, it's not a lot of money, it's the principal of the thing, which is what you'd say if you were the writer. That aspect didn't work for me. Sure, almost any dollar amount would have seemed ludicrous, so I guess this is just one more thing to make the plot seem silly. Oh well.