Dungeon Classics #23: Payback

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Payback (1999, USA)

Director: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello
Running Time: 100 mins.

In this highly entertaining remake of John Boorman’s Point Blank, Mel Gibson’s Porter (Lee Marvin’s Walker in Point Blank) takes on a powerful crime syndicate to get back the 70.000 dollars one of its members (Gregg Henry) stole from him. The cast of this little film is delicious, especially Gibson as the smart and ferocious robber (“what’s his first name?’ I don’t know, I’ve only ever known him as Porter”). Payback is like an ultra violent comic book noir movie with a wisecracking criminal in the lead who tears up the whole city for a lousy 70.000 bucks. It is the principle I guess. Why is Payback a Dungeon Classic? Because it is one of these special kinds of movies in which literally nothing sucks. Everything is kind of great about it, and that is why it deserves this special status. Get ready to root for the bad guy, is the tagline. And that is exactly right: you will be with Porter all the way. In Australia, where Mel Gibson was raised, they had to change the tagline by the way: to root is ‘to fuck’ in Ozzy slang.