Bullet Points: Payback
I’ve talked about my love of Mel Gibson movies in the past and Payback is one of his better non-Lethal Weapon films. Even though his character should have been named Parker, Porter is the same dude portrayed recently by Jason Statham in the film Parker. In Payback, Porter sure is an uncompromising son of a bitch, but he’s exactly the kind of guy that I love to root for. Just like Mel, I guess.
The Gist: Porter is just your average, everyday criminal. His newest score is gonna net him $70,000 until he’s betrayed and left for dead by his partner. Now Porter is hell bent on getting back at the ones who wronged him and more importantly getting back his stolen money.
The Cast: Mel Gibson reminds me of that cool Uncle that everyone has who is only cool cause you don’t spend more than a couple days a year with him. Any longer and you’d realize that his drinking, cursing, and racist attitude is best in small dosages. Porter is the Stone Cold Steve Austin of the film world. Well, I guess technically it was of the literary world first but now that they’ve made three different films based on the character, he’s just as well known from his movie life. Either way, he certainly isn’t a “good guy”, but he lives by a code that is both relatable but also so unbecoming of life-long criminal that he turns into the hero surrounded by hookers, thieves, and mobsters. Besides for Mel being awesome, Maria Bello turns in a nice performance as his former lover/a prostitute who Porter used to transport around from John to John. Her presence gives Porter reason to continue living other than just pure vengeance.
If you’re into this Mel then you should watch Get the Gringo.
The Villain: The comically villainous character named Val Resnick is played by Gregg Henry but the cast is filled with amazing bit players like David Paymer, Bill Duke, Kris Kristofferson, Lucy Liu, John Glover, and William Devane. All of them get the chance to interact with Porter and they all bring their own style to the party. Resnick is a pretty big asshole; even more so than the rest of the assholes in the movie so you’ll be cheering extra loud when he gets his comeuppance.
Resnick is as slimey as he looks.
The Action: Except for a few gun fights Payback is rather light on the action. There is one seriously awesome scene where Porter is ambushed by some Triads led by the sexy Lucy Liu and it forces our one-named hero to think on his feet in order to not end up dead as hell. Mel is in full-on cool guy mode as he pretty much no sells the two dozen guys who are trying to kill him and focuses on getting back his stolen money. That is one thing you’ll notice throughout the entire movie; no matter how much he gets deeper into the criminal world, his focal point never changes from that $70,000 that was taken from him earlier. He’s actually more pissed that he got screwed out of his money than when they shot him and left him for dead.
This isn’t the only time that Porter has a gun to his head.
Take it Home:
- Favorite quote: “Nice guys are fine. Gotta have someone to take advantage of.”
- Say hello to the bad guy: There’s actually a montage of Mel being an asshole.
- Like a chimney: I’d like to know how many packs of cigarettes Mel went through during the filming of this movie. He probably developed lung cancer from this film alone.