Payback

Critics Consensus

Sadistic violence and rote humor saddle a predictable action premise.

55%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 76

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 98,968

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Movie Info

Porter (Mel Gibson) is a thief betrayed by both his wife, Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger), and his partner, Val (Gregg Henry), when he is shot in the back after a heist. Slowly, Porter recovers from his wounds and begins a search for Val, intent on recovering his share of the money they stole together. With the aid of prostitute Rosie (Maria Bello), Porter captures Val but still cannot find his cash. For this, Porter will have to challenge an imposing crime syndicate called the Outfit.

Cast & Crew

Gregg Henry
Val Resnick
Deborah Kara Unger
Mrs. Lynn Porter
David Paymer
Arthur Stegman
Bill Duke
Det. Hicks
Jack Conley
Det. Leary
Brian Helgeland
Writer (Screenplay)
Terry Hayes
Writer (Screenplay)
Stephen McEveety
Executive Producer
Chris Boardman
Original Music
Rick Darnell
Non-Original Music
Roy Hawkins
Non-Original Music
Ericson Core
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for Payback

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (34)

Audience Reviews for Payback

  • Jan 16, 2016
    A very average action thriller that lacks in the action department and brings nothing new to the table, Gibson plays only one of two characters he can play but plays it well, Very predictable and with the slow pace it never really catches fire and that's where this film fails most.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2014
    Starring a pre-shunned Mel Gibson, Payback is an exciting neo-noir crime thriller brimming with black humor. Mel Gibson's character, Parker is a criminal with an interesting moral code of his own set against the ?syndicate? in a film in which everyone is some degree of sleazy. Also excellently cast is Gregg Henry, who must have been born to play a sleazeball because he does it so well. Maria Bello is great as tough yet sexy as is Lucy Liu. She plays a hilarious dominatrix who can beat me up anyday. William Devane and James Coburn also shine in smaller roles. The film has a relentless quality, and an outstanding morbid, grimy vibe. I give great kudos to first-time director Brian Helgeland, who wrote several classics such as LA Confidential, Conspiracy Theory, and Mystic River. Gibson carries the film, but Helgeland's direction and the cinematography combine to make this a memorable comic sleazefest
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2012
    A cool mob/gunslinger kind of film that has a kind of quirky appeal to it. Gibson does a pretty good job as the lead. The ending's really good too.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 07, 2012
    OK can I just say firstly...Lucy Liu and her character, LOVE it! :D absolutely my kinda woman in every sense hehe Liu is soooo damn gorgeous. Right that's my little perversion out in the open and out of the way, yep I'm a fetish freak...deal with it. So apart from the delicious scenes with Liu what about the rest of the film? well its basically pretty darn good folks. In my view this is Gibson's last good film in an acting role, I also think its one of his best action thrillers too riding high alongside 'Lethal Weapon 1+2'. There is a quite different directors cut of this film which is suppose to be more straight forward, I cannot comment on that as yet but personally I have always liked this film and see nothing wrong with it really. Sure its a little cliched and you always know Gibson will win in the end but he does get knocked around allot which is reasonably surprising for the good looking 'hero'. Casting is great for all the characters here with a great slimy weaselly performance from Henry as 'Resnick', Paymer as the even more weaselly wet 'Stegman', Kristofferson is...well kinda as he always is and add some good backing in small roles from Bill Duke, John Glover and James Coburn, solid reliable casting there. Violence is hard fast and totally enjoyable without there being that much blood, but you know what's happening, its adult only and it rocks. Thing is its all quite believeable too, its not just ridiculous over the top violence with no sense of realism, it all works well along with Gibson's little traps and setups. I like the look of the film also, its almost in black and white, the picture is very bleak or washed out, kinda faded looking, shades of greys, blues, blacks and silver with not much else. Sounds odd but it sets the tone for the film whilst giving it some added class or distinction. You can't go wrong here really, think 'Riggs' outta 'Lethal Weapon' only he's more badass and the series of events he's involved in are more sensible and darker.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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