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(Review originally written at 4 January 2009)

What made the 1999 cut of the movie so great was its entertainment value. It was an incredibly fun movie to watch, with a cool fun style and soundtrack and some nice twists and turns to its story. All of that is basically gone in this version and its a much darker and serious one.

After production finished the Brian Helgeland was deemed too dark and not suitable for the mainstream public. A re-write got done and scene's got re-shot by a different director for the original theatrical release. 90% of the times that a studio decides to do this and changes a movie entire, it isn't for the best. Director's cuts are therefor often way better than the original released versions. However this time I have to say I agree with the studio. This version is a much poorer written and constructed one that lacks whit, charm and whatever more. The 1999 "Payback" was an original and fun movie to watch, "Payback: Straight Up - The Director's Cut" however is just one typical revenge flick that just isn't among the best the genre has to offer.

You could say that this movie is more of a thriller, while the original, even though it was more entertaining, was done much more film-noir style, that was also a more violent one as well.

What is surprisingly different as well in this movie are its characters. It's amazing what some editing, a visual- and musical style and different scene additions can do to a character. The main character is much darker and seems basically depressed all of the time. It just makes Mel Gibson less great to watch in this version. Also most of the other characters don't work out halve as effective. The whole Maria Bello story-line and character in particular don't work out at all and seem totally out of place.

The movie is just overall also often too slow and dull to watch. Some sequences drag on for too long and not everything in the flows well.

The movie story-wise actually isn't that much different from the original release, until its final 30 minutes or something. The movie its ending is a totally different one. I must say that the ending of this movie is just a much weaker one that besides comes far too sudden and isn't really very satisfying.

Lacks all of the whit, charm, originality and entertainment of the original version. As a director's cut this movie is nothing but a disappointment. Just watch the 1999 "Payback" instead.

6/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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