Max Payne 3 - 8 action movie influences of Rockstar’s noir shooter

Since it first hit PC’s in 2001, the Max Payne series has blended the slow-motion bullet ballet of Hong Kong action cinema with the hard-bitten urban narrative of film noir. World weary voice overs, femme fatales, and chiaroscuro lighting combined with an unstoppable protagonist who flies through the air, pistols blazing in both hands. Incredible style blended with uniquely satisfying gunplay, is it any wonder why Rockstar Games was so keen to take the reins of Payne from Remedy Entertainment ? 

SPOILER WARNING: While we won't be giving away the ending to Max's saga, we will be discussing some major plot points and using images from late in the game. You have been warned...

Max was the perfect franchise for Rockstar to add to its stable of movie inspired properties. Games like Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire take their cues from gangster films, westerns and the stylish crime dramas of the 1940’s, respectively, but Rockstar titles do more than simply imitate movies. They use genre conventions and styles to create an immersive and visually cohesive work that gets us rooting for the hero.

1. City of God

Rockstar’s real world research for Max Payne 3’s favela sequence is well-documented, but we think City of God was an influence as well. Shot on location in Brazil, its portrayal of children growing up into a life of crime is both exhilarating and horrific, just like Max’s adventures.

Besides highlighting the violence of the area’s tragically youthful gangs, the film uses a washed-out, sun bleached look that Max Payne 3 employs as well.


Max Payne 3


  • Nas Escobar II - May 31, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    i thought that most of the cutscenes were like they were ripped out of a Tony Scott flick so Domino & Man On Fire makes sense to me. The airport level immediately reminded me of Die Hard II and the brutality of the game's violence made me think of a few films; Desperado, Bad Boys II, Robocop
  • Govt CHEESE - May 28, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    I kind of felt like the atmosphere and music as well as the brutal violence were influenced by last year's movie Drive.
  • rickybadu - May 28, 2012 7:21 a.m.

  • Zaneer568 - May 27, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    Lol, the IT Crowd shot there, DEFINITE action film! I love that show, so funny!
  • crooks77 - May 26, 2012 9:52 p.m.

    I saw man on fire influence that game more than anything, the camera effects and the words on screen are really similiar, and the stories are almost the same thing. An ex-cop or ex-military, middle aged man with a history of substance abuse, and slightly suicidal gets work as a body gaurd in a latin or south American country with a large economic gap between the rich and the poor, and he's supposed to gaurd a girl, which he fails at doing. going on a rampage to find the men responsible meanwhile leaving a trail of bodies. They both even invole corrupt police and betrayal by family members. and lets not forget the seens of ambush, causing the money exchange to go wrong. I mean before I read this article the whole time I was playing I was thinking "I'm playing Man on Fire the video game". Which explains why I love this game. Because Man on Fire is my favorite movie ever.
  • talleyXIV - May 26, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    Please go back to the slideshow thing, I can't stand going through 9 pages.
  • Frosthark - May 26, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    You've got your facts wrong regarding BOPE. First of all, it's not corrupted - it actually tries to eradicate the ordinary police forces of corruption. Secondly, it's not fictional - it was formed in 1978 and still operates.
  • gilgamesh310 - May 26, 2012 11:14 a.m.

    I doubt that scene in Heat influenced Max Payne 3. No gunfight even kicks off inside the office in Heat. Fear has plenty of office firefights as well so I doubt that Heat had any influence on either of them with regards to that. Man on Fire was easily the most obvious influence, closely followed by The Killer one.
  • Cruddi - May 26, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    One other film could be True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, during the docks chapter before the boat chase Max gets blown into the water when he is submerged under the water you can see the flames sitting on top of the water just like in True Lies when Arnie jumps into the water after using the fuel truck as a flame thrower... Just sayin
  • BeardedHoplite - May 25, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    John Woo didn't actually pioneer slo-mo gunplay. That honor goes to Sam Peckinpah, who did it in the 60s and 70s. John Woo did popularize it, though.
  • GR Alex Roth - May 25, 2012 5:30 p.m.

    Definitely, but Max Payne is way more John Woo than Wild Bunch.
  • BeardedHoplite - May 25, 2012 8:48 p.m.

    I don't think the world could handle Rockstar making a Wild Bunch-y shooter. And don't say Red Dead, since it was more of a hybrid of a Ford and a Spaghetti Western, where a Peckinpah film was a Peckinpah film.
  • Shanetexas - May 25, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    I like articles in this format better than the new "pic article" GR got going on.
  • BladedFalcon - May 25, 2012 3:56 p.m.

    "ollateral, where Mann directed Tom Cruise as a coldly professional silver-haired hitman, has a famous club scene that’s not far from Max’s night on the town with Victor and Fabiana Branco." Small nitpick, but I think you guys mean Marcelo Branco, not Victor. Marcelo's the party dude, Victor's the politician XD Also, glad to see you guys mentioned City of God and Man on Fire! I honestly did get reminded of Man on Fire continuously because of the similar themes and style more than any other film.
  • Redeater - May 25, 2012 2:46 p.m.

    Did you guys get rid of the slideshow or is it just for this article? Either way great read.
  • Redeater - May 25, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    I quite enjoyed The IT crowd reference. I'm kind of surprised Copland isn't on here. It fits the theme in any case though.
  • GR HollanderCooper - May 25, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    We only use the gallery view when we believe it provides a better user experience (see: clicking next/hitting enter over scrolling, scrolling, hitting next page, watching an add, etc). Less ads, less loading. For this, since it was so long and image-heavy, it made more sense to go for a traditional format.
  • DryvBy - May 25, 2012 2:35 p.m.

    Ha, I like these types of list. I always discover good movies. A while back, a friend of mine told me the creator(s) of Counter-Strike were influenced by Leon (The Professional) and Ronin. Watched the movies, loved them. Max Payne has always given me a Ronin pace. There's scenes with a LOT of action, and then the stories pieces it all together.
  • GR Alex Roth - May 25, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    Yes, and there's also a stadium shootout in Ronin as well, if I remember correctly. Glad you like it!

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