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Payback [Blu-ray] [1999] [Region Free]

4.4 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Maria Bello, James Coburn, Gregg Henry, Deborah Kara Unger
  • Directors: Brian Helgeland
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Sept. 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027UY87W
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,091 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Porter (Mel Gibson) carries out a $140,000 heist with his partner Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) and wife, Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger), only for them to double-cross him, shooting Porter and leaving him for dead. Vowing revenge, a recovered Porter sets off in pursuit, but in so doing attracts the attention of corrupt cops Hicks (Bill Duke) and Leary (Jack Conley), who want the money for themselves. Based on 'The Hunter', the same novel that inspired 'Point Blank' and 'The Outfit'.


If it weren't for the fact that John Boorman's Point Blank was already a definitive take on Richard Stark's novel The Hunter (reissued under the title Payback), Payback would be a well-above-average 90s action movie. The original toughness is diluted: Mel Gibson's Porter, replacing Lee Marvin's Walker and Stark's Parker, comes on like a hardnut but turns into a softie when he hooks up with call-girl Maria Bello (and he even likes dogs). Double-crossed and wounded after shifty Gregg Henry dupes Porter's wife (Deborah Kara Unger) into betraying him, Porter sets out to get back the $70,000 share of a heist that he feels he is owed. Because Henry has used the money to buy his way into "the Outfit", he has to deal not only with the squirming scumbag but a hierarchy of corporate mobsters (William Devane, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson) for whom it would be bad business practice to hand over even the trivial sum. Director-writer Brian Helgeland gives it a steely-blue look and gets good performances all round (with room for Lucy Liu as an amusing dominatrix) while constructing a story in which everything fits. But it's just a good thriller, since the masterpiece potential has already been staked out. --Kim Newman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
This blu ray disc came as something of a surprise to me. It is actually a far better release than the US version.

Firstly there are 2 versions of the film here, the theatrical cut and the directors cut which has been advertised as a harder version. On watching the directors cut for the first time, I noticed that this is in fact quite a different film from the theatrical release. New scenes begin and end the film, a lot of footage has been taken out with altogether new footage replacing it and the ending and outcome of the film is significantly different. The character of "Porter" played by Mel Gibson, does seem a lot more intense in this version and comes across a lot more menacing.

As well as alternate scenes, the look of the film is also a substantial variant on the theatrical release as it has lost it's previous "blue tint" effect that was throughout the original release.

If directors cuts are generally not your cup of tea, or for people that prefer the original lighter theatrical cut, it is also present here and to have the 2 versions on one disc is a real treat as they should really be treated as separate films due to the substantial difference between them.

The best thing about this release is having the option of both cuts on one disc unlike the US blu ray, which only includes the new directors cut.

The film is presented in a 16x9 1080p transfer for both versions, which looks really very good, although due to the way this was filmed, don't go expecting to see reference quality material here.

The English 5.1 true hd soundtrack is excellent and seemed a lot stronger and clearer than I thought it would have.

As far as extras for this release go, Warner Home Video have not been slack.
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Format: HD DVD
Before studio execs and Mel Gibson got all uppity with Brian Helgeland, Payback was a darker, meaner film. But after an apparently poor test screening in 1997(honestly, what IS the point of these?) they put Payback on hold for over a year so Mel could do Lethal Weapon 4 before going back for some re-shoots, with a new director, to make the film happier.

So they approved a script of a dark, moody revenge thriller, green-lighted it for production and changed their minds to make it lighter because a ragtag audience didn't understand/like it? Man, Hollywood is one weird town.

The resulting film, which was eventually released in 1999, seemed a bit tacked together. There were scenes that just seemed out of place and irregular. It was obvious that any scene actually shot back in 1997 was shot on location and any scene shot for the 1999 cut was just shot in the generic 'street set' on the Warner back-lot. Despite all of this, Payback was still a fun film that failed to go all the way with it's concept.

The new DC is a superior version, no doubt and is about 33% different. There are new scenes and odds and ends through out the running time and the last act is completely different. Kris Kristoffersen is gone and replaced by Sally Kellerman (voice only, Bronson is never seen). James Coburn and John Glover also have smaller roles. The narration from Porter is gone as well as the blue tint to most of the film. Now most scenes are just lit as normal without any post-production filtering.

There is also a new musical score. The jazzy feel to the opening scenes is still there but through-out the rest of the film the score is more atmospheric and understated. Both are as good as each and fit the differing tones, so there's no better of the two.
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Format: DVD
Remaking a classic is never a good idea at the best of times, but when Brian Helgeland's remake of Point Blank ended up being shelved, heavily re-edited, rewritten (by Terry Hayes) and reshot by another director (production designer John Myhre) to make it more `accessible' to an audience after committing the triple sins of having a hero who doesn't get the money and doesn't get the girl and - worst of all - having a character kill the dog, it must have seemed like an out and out suicidal one. So much of the film's last third was dumped that half the footage in the film's trailer (and even its poster image) were nowhere to be found in the finished film itself by the time it made it to the theatres. Somehow the version of Payback that did get released turned out to be both surprisingly good and more surprisingly commercially successful, but now that, eight years later, Helgeland's finally had the chance to restore his version for DVD, the only response to the theatrical version's tagline `No more Mr Nice Guy' is "Oh yeah?"

This time Mel Gibson's Porter doesn't have a voice over to excuse his actions, and they're not diluted by focus groups either. So he steals from a homeless guy? So what, it's not as if the guy is faking a disability in this cut, he just wants his money. So he asks a barman for information by breaking his hand? So what, he doesn't have time for subtlety, he just wants his money. So his wife O.D.s after he beats her up? So what, she shot him anyway, he just wants his money. So he kills a handcuffed heavy after disarming him? So what, he didn't like the guy, he just wants his money. In fact, Porter doesn't care what happens to anybody as long as he gets his money. The only thing that makes him the hero is that the guy who has his money is even worse than he is.
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