Based on The Hunter: Payback (1999)




Depiction of Parker:


Parker’s Name in Film: Porter
Played by: Mel Gibson

Note: This review is of the theatrical version.  There is also a director’s cut that I have yet to review.

In Payback, Stark’s New York of 1963 becomes a nameless and dreary metropolis with a date one cannot put a finger on. It’s the perfect setting for a Parker film, and Payback falls just one ego short of being the perfect Parker film.

As most of you are probably aware, Mel Gibson forced dramatic changes to Brian Helgeland’s version of the film. He inserted several scenes, deleted others, and generally changed the whole tone of the film to a very sadistic action-comedy.

These changes caused several problems with the film. Certain things don’t make sense–how did the Outfit rig a bomb in the hotel room that Parker and Rosie check into before they’ve even checked in? Why is Parker so schizophrenic, beating the living hell out of somebody in one scene and smiling and treating Rosie well in another? Other elements are obviously inserted, most notably every scene after the point where Parker leaves Fairfax’s house.

Despite the changes, Payback is a success, something I am loathe to say but forced to admit. Some of the inserted scenes were very funny. Most of them were well done. The ending got a little ridiculous, but I still enjoyed the film. The cast is terrific, the film is very well done visually, and it is fast moving despite being rather long. Overall, a highly enjoyable and fun movie.

However, Payback was not supposed to be fun.

Payback Image Gallery

I have seen, but not yet reviewed, Payback–Straight Up (the director’s cut). As a placeholder until I get around to it, here is Wallace Stroby’s excellent review.

To Point Blank, the other film based on The Hunter

To The Hunter