Before the film, Joey presented a short for us from That ’70s Show.  The clip didn’t really have anything to do with the feature except that “panties” and “Payback” both start with “pa” and are seven letters long.  But I’ve reproduced the clip here for you anyhow:

But let’s get to the feature presentation, Payback directed by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River).  Payback is a remake of 1967’s Point Blank with Lee Marvin.

Mel Gibson two-fisting it again

Porter (Gibson, no first name given) is a bad-ass.  He’s also a (fairly small-time) criminal.  Everything was going peachy until he hooked up with this guy:

The problem with robbing Chinese guys is that you're always poor half an hour later

This guy is Val Resnick, and he’s recently been kicked out of a vague, but large, crime syndicate and wants to buy his way back in.  How?  He plans a job to steal some money from some Chinese guys.  This part actually goes OK.  Problem is, there wasn’t ever going to be enough money for both Resnick to buy his way back in and for Porter to get his proper share.

This is for leaving the toilet seat up!

But hey, that’s no problem!  Just use his heroin junkie wife (angry over a mistress) to doublecross him and shoot him in the back, then take all the money!  It’s easy!  Then, leave him for dead, because what else do you do with a guy that you doublecrossed?

Oh, wait, you double-tap him.  Because Porter didn’t die.  And he came back mad.

He confronts his wife, but luckily she quickly ODs and the plot doesn’t have to deal with her, or whether Porter should avenge himself on her or not.  But Porter is damn well going to avenge himself on Resnick, who spent Porter’s $70K cut on his $130K buyback into the syndicate.

Hey, one at a time!

So Porter tracks down Resnick when he’s shacking up with a sadist dominatrix Lucy Liu, and lets her beat the crap out of Resnick since Resnick doesn’t have the money.  Porter eventually kills Rensick in a later scene and proceeds to move up the syndicate to get his money back.

What? You said you needed epinephrine stat, Dr. Carter...

In the meantime, Porter hooks up with his old mistress, played by Maria Bello.  In a scene that is only really obviously setting something up, he takes her back to his safehouse apartment, only to hear the phone ring.  Problem is, he hasn’t given out the number, so he traces the cord to…a bomb hidden under the bed.  Needless to say, he doesn’t pick up the phone.

I wrote Me And Bobby McGee, dammit, and NOBODY...SEEMS...TO...RECOGNIZE...THIS!

There’s a recurring humorous theme where the syndicate guys think that Porter is after Resnick’s $130K buy-in, when all Porter really wants is his own $70K.  This bank error in his favor really irritates Porter, for some reason.  Anyhow, after killing a syndicate lieutenant and kidnapping the big boss’s son, Porter eventually gets caught and tortured a bit.  But, ever the clever boy, Porter sends the mobbies off to the phone-bombed apartment, telling them that’s where they’ll find his son.  Then he calls them.  They answer, the film gets to have an explosion, and a disgusted Porter gets the whole $130K and runs off with Bello.


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