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Movie Reviews

‘Payback’ review: Straightforward mob movie

Standard mob fare.

Payback is a lot like any other Mafia movie. Mike Markovich (Matt Levett) is a stockbroker at a mob controlled bank. After being betrayed he takes the fall for a crime he did not commit and finds himself in prison for six years. Once he gets out, he has a choice between rekindling a relationship with his wife and daughter he has never met or seeking deadly vengeance.

The premise is a familiar one within the revenge sub genre. This means the film has to rely on story, characters, and performances to stand out. The good thing for Payback is the script does enough of the basic things correctly. The plot will not stand out, yet it does have enough suspense to keep audiences interested in what is going to happen next. Once the movie heads towards its finale, the action also ramps up.

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Payback lacks any deeper layer, however. In order to get a story like this to truly get over with the audience, there needs to be a connection with the protagonist. There is nothing wrong with Mike – he is as conflicted as someone in his situation should be. The problem there is never a sense of him growing as a person. It makes for a bland experience for anyone who is watching.

Not helping matters is the fact the characters do not stand out as anything spectacular. The expected run of the mill bad guys make appearances , for example. Since Payback has good direction and strong moments, adding just a little depth to the characters would have made for a better movie. Payback is not a bad movie. It is a fun watch, especially for fans of mob movies. Where it falters is in its standard storytelling. The characters and ending are predictable while the lead is not particularly engaging. 

Payback will be released February 5

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