Payback: Straight Up: The Director’s Cut

DVD Reviews | Apr 18th, 2007

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Starring Mel Gibson, David Paymer, Maria Bello, Lucy Liu, Kris Kristofferson, William Devane, John Glover, Gregg Henry
Written By: Brian Helgeland
Directed By: Brian Helgeland
Studio: Paramount
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From Director Brian Helgeland comes a brand new director’s cut of the film, starring Mel Gibson as Porter, in a role that not many expected from Gibson. Playing a long standing criminal, Gibson is out for revenge and only for what is owed to him. Ruthless, violent and no fear in him; Porter goes on a rampage to seek revenge against fellow criminals who sough to get rid of him. In a surprise move, this version of the film was possibly never going to be shown since the Studio and Gibson’s Icon Productions re-shot the last segment of the movie to create an “American Friendly” film. Payback is certainly a better film as Director Brian Helgeland envisioned.

I only saw the theatrical version once but from what I remember from the film, it was longer, confusing and had an annoying blue tint on the film that made it look like the color balances were off. Director Brian Helgeland never wanted the film that ended up in theaters. He wanted a darker, less hokey film and now fans can see what the director wanted all along. Fans of Gibson would be shocked that their favorite action hero would be a bad guy. The new version doesn’t have the voice over’s by Gibson, and we get a straight forward story. With that comes a better understanding why Porter is out for revenge and more importantly the money he was robbed of from a previous job. When a job goes bad, Porter is pummeled full of lead and left for dead. That doesn’t stop him though and he goes after all the people involved including the people he pulled the job with, crooked cops, and kingpins. Mel Gibson plays a real bad ass in this film and is also surrounded by a great supporting cast including Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, and William Devane to name a few. I definitely liked seeing Mel Gibson playing a bad guy for a change, and it’s a nice departure from his usual hero of the movie. But you still find yourself rooting for his character, even though in the end, he’s ultimately bad. I guess that’s the likeable trait of Mel Gibson, you’ll still root for him even though he’s bad.

If you want a better version of the film, than this DVD is for you! Besides the new cut of the film, comes plenty of extras including commentary from Brian Helgeland as he goes into detail about what he did different with this version of the film. Extras also provide plenty of featurettes including creating the director’s cut, and in depth look at the film on location in Los Angeles and Chicago. A few other items round out the DVD and for fans of the film it’s definitely the version they want to pick up. Mel Gibson and co. are great in this ode to the films of the 70s and 80s. It’s a shame its 8 years later and we are only getting to see the film Brian Helgeland wanted us all to see.

-Commentary by Writer/Director Brian Helgeland
-Paybacks are a Bitch: On Location in Chicago
-Paybacks are a Bitch: On Set in Los Angeles
-Same Story, Different Movie – Creating Payback: The Director’s Cut
-The Hunter: A Conversation with Author Donald E. Westlake

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo CC

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: Uhh the payback
Rating: NR
Running Time: 90 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: