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 (opens in new tab) ?
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 (opens in new tab) 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.