Max Payne

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Max Payne
Max Payne logo.jpg
Genre(s)Third-person shooter
Developer(s)Remedy Entertainment (2001–2003)
Rockstar Studios (2012)
Publisher(s)Gathering of Developers (2001, PC)
Rockstar Games
Writer(s)Sam Lake (1–2)
Dan Houser (3)
Michael Unsworth (3)
Rupert Humphries (3)
Composer(s)Kärtsy Hatakka (1–2)
Kimmo Kajasto (1–2)
Perttu Kivilaakso (2)
Health (3)
First releaseMax Payne
July 23, 2001
Latest releaseMax Payne 3
May 15, 2012

Max Payne is a neo-noir third-person shooter video game series developed by Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne and Max Payne 2) and Rockstar Studios (Max Payne 3). The series is named after its protagonist, Max Payne, a New York City police detective turned vigilante after his family had been murdered by drug dealers. The series' first and second installments were written by Sam Lake, while Max Payne 3 was primarily written by Rockstar Games' Dan Houser.

The first game of the series, Max Payne, was released in 2001 for Microsoft Windows and in 2002 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Apple Macintosh; a different version of the game was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. A sequel entitled Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne was released in 2003 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. In 2008, a movie adaption, loosely based on the original game, entitled Max Payne, was released, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in the roles of Max Payne and Mona Sax, respectively. Max Payne 3 was developed by Rockstar Studios and released on May 15, 2012 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and on June 1, 2012 for Microsoft Windows.

The franchise is notable for its use of "bullet time" in action sequences, as well as being positively received by critics, although Max Payne 2's sales were considered underwhelming.[1][2] As of 2011, the Max Payne franchise has sold over 7.5 million copies.[3] The film rendition received negative reviews but was commercially successful.[4]


Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Max Payne (GBA) 78[5]
(PC) 89[6]
(PS2) 80[7]
(Xbox) 89[8]
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC) 86[9]
(PS2) 73[10]
(Xbox) 84[11]
Max Payne 3 (PC) 87[12]
(PS3) 87[13]
(X360) 86[14]

Max Payne[edit]

Renegade DEA agent and former NYPD officer Max Payne attempts to hunt down the ones responsible for murdering his wife and child, as well as framing him for the murder of his partner, Alex Balder. As the story unfolds, he gains a number of "allies", including a Russian mafia gangster, called Vladimir Lem, and Mona Sax, a female vigilante who is out to avenge the death of her twin sister, Lisa, and manages to bring down the ringleaders in a major drug operation for a narcotic called V, or Valkyr—after the mythological figures in Norse mythology.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne[edit]

Max Payne has been taken by the police and is about to face charges for his killing spree. However, he is cleared of all charges, thanks to his relationship with a very influential member of society, Senator Alfred Woden. A few years have passed, and Max has returned to work for the NYPD as a homicide detective. During a routine murder investigation he finds himself face-to-face with the fugitive Mona Sax, a woman he thought was dead. Max and Mona team up to solve the answers to Max's past that left his wife and child dead.

Max Payne 3[edit]

Max Payne has left New York and is working on a private security detail in São Paulo, Brazil. When the wife of his employer is kidnapped by a local street gang, Max and his old friend Raul Passos join forces in an attempt to rescue her, igniting a war that will lead them to confront a large conspiracy.[15]

Film adaptation[edit]

Early in 2003, it was confirmed that 20th Century Fox had bought the rights to adapt the game to film.[16] The Max Payne movie went into production in 2008 and was directed by John Moore. The movie was produced by Collision Entertainment and Firm Films in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[17] Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis[18] play the roles of Max Payne and Mona Sax respectively.[19] Beau Bridges, Chris O'Donnell, Nelly Furtado and Ludacris have roles as B.B. Hensley, Jason Colvin, Christa Balder and Jim Bravura respectively.[20] On July 10, 2008, a teaser trailer was released, featuring an instrumental version of the Marilyn Manson song, "If I Was Your Vampire".[21] The film was released to theaters in the U.S. on October 17, 2008 with a PG-13 rating.[22] While it was ranked first on its opening weekend, grossing US$18 million at the box office,[23] the film received mainly negative reviews, having a 16% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 129 reviews.[24]


Main characters[edit]

  • Det. Max Payne – Max is initially a New York City police detective. In Max Payne, following the murder of his wife and child by Valkyr junkies, Max transfers to the DEA and goes undercover in the Punchinello Mafia family[25] in order to monitor the trafficking of Valkyr. Two months into his investigation, Max is framed for the murder of Alex Balder, a fellow DEA agent. The NYPD issues an APB for Max and heavily pursues him, forcing him to become a fugitive while in search of the truth behind Valkyr and the murder of his family. In the first game, Max was portrayed by Sam Lake. In Max Payne 2, set two years after the original game, Max is reinstated as an NYPD detective and is investigating a series of murders by a mysterious group of contract killers called the Cleaners and becomes romantically involved with Mona Sax as they uncover a conspiracy. In the film he is portrayed by Mark Wahlberg. In Max Payne 3, Max is retired and a broken man, addicted to painkillers and alcohol after the tragic events of nine years before. Max is offered a job to work security for a wealthy family in São Paulo, Brazil by former fellow cop Raul Passos, but all hell breaks loose when the wife of an estate mogul is kidnapped by a local street gang, forcing Max to find her and unravel the events that follow.
  • Lt. Jim Bravura – In Max Payne, he is the deputy chief of police, and leads the NYPD in pursuit of Payne after he becomes a fugitive. He managed to capture Max with the NYPD ESU unit. Two years later, he was self-demoted to the rank of Lt., since he was unable to hold the job, and serves as Payne's superior in Homicide. In the film, he is portrayed by Ludacris as a much younger Internal Affairs detective. Although his status is unknown at the end of Max Payne 2 – he is last seen critically injured in the hospital – it was revealed in the comic series that predates Max Payne 3 that he survived the events of Max Payne 2, thus making him one of two main characters to survive the ending of that game (three in the hardest difficulty). However, he died of heart failure prior to the events of Max Payne 3, as also revealed in the comics.
  • Vinnie Gognitti – Vinnie is a mobster in the Punchinello family. In Max Payne he is Mafia underboss Jack Lupino's right-hand man. He is depicted as intelligent but cowardly, with a penchant for abusing sexual partners that include underage addicts and call girls. Payne wounds him and chases him through the streets to interrogate him regarding Jack Lupino's whereabouts, and leaves him alive. In Max Payne 2 he has ascended to the rank of underboss, due to the high number of losses in the family in the first game. He is less threatening this time around, and is again at war with the Russian mob. Going against his Godfathers' wishes, his pleas for help is rejected. He is killed by Vladimir Lem, who detonated a bomb located in a "Captain Baseball Bat Boy" costume that Gognitti was wearing at the time.
  • Vladimir Lem – Vlad is a suave, old-fashioned Russian mafioso and Woden's protégé. In Max Payne he is at war with the Mafia, outnumbered and outgunned, yet still manages to strike back at Jack Lupino. He forges a deal with Payne to gain possession of a freighter full of military-grade weaponry that had been seized by Payne's adversary, Don Punchinello. During the two years following Punchinello's death, he has ascended to the top, becoming a powerful Russian Mafia leader, and even bought Jack Lupino's club, the Ragna Rok, turning it into a fancy restaurant called the Vodka. He also stopped wearing a military outfit and started wearing suits. He is killed by Payne in Woden's mansion, after he had already killed Alfred Woden and mortally wounded Mona Sax. Marko Saaresto, vocalist of the Finnish rock band Poets of The Fall, serves as the model for the character in the first game.
  • Raul Passos – Passos is Max's partner in São Paulo, Brazil as a bodyguard. In Max Payne 3 he is paid to find and recruit Max for a job in private security. Max and Passos are paid to protect Rodrigo Branco and his family when the Comando Sombra attempts to kidnap Rodrigo and his wife, Fabiana, and are able to save them. A couple days later, Passos flies Max, Marcelo, Fabiana, and her sister Giovanna to a nightclub where the Comando Sombra abduct Fabianna and is held for ransom. When Max and Raul try to exchange the ransom money to the Comando Sombra, they are ambushed by a group called Crachá Preto and the ransom money is stolen. They both try again to rescue Fabiana at the Tietê River, but the Comando Sombra get away with her again. Passos returns when Giovanna and Max are being chased by the Crachá Preto at a bus station and rescues Giovanna but leaves without Max. He later returns to save Max from Neves and they fly away from the Imperial Palace Hotel after Max blows it up. Before leaving Brazil, he apologizes to Max for dragging him into a plot that would frame him. Passos and Giovanna leave to raise their future child.
  • Michelle Payne – Max's murdered wife, she appears in the dream sequences of the game. Her death in the game's prologue, along with that of their daughter, is the source of Max's grief, and the reason for his determination in uncovering the truth during the course of the game. It was revealed that she was killed on Horne's orders because she was accidentally sent the file about the Project Valhalla that Horne was running. Later on, Vladimir Lem reveals to Max that Woden sent the file to her because of her job as an assistant to the D.A, thus making Woden the reason of her death.
  • Mona Sax – Mona is a hired killer, and a playable character in the second game. In Max Payne, she first encounters Payne after he has killed Jack Lupino. She laces his drink with a sedative and leaves him for the Mafia to forcibly interrogate him. They meet up again later while she's looking to avenge the murder of her sister. However, she is shot and assumed dead. In Max Payne 2, Payne encounters her while investigating contract murders. They become romantically involved whilst investigating a conspiracy; however, in Max Payne 3 it is revealed that Payne regrets their affair. In the conclusion of Max Payne 2 she was killed, leaving Payne aggrieved in the first two difficulties of the game, but survives in the hardest difficulty (making her one of three main characters to survive both of the first two games). However, it was revealed in the Max Payne 3 precursor comics that the first ending is the canonical one, and she is therefore deceased by the time the third game takes place. In the film she is portrayed by Mila Kunis.
  • Alfred Woden – A one-eyed U.S. Senator. In Max Payne he is presented as a high-ranking member of the Inner Circle, and agrees to see that Payne avoid prosecution for the crimes he has been framed for should he neutralize a common enemy (Nicole Horne). He is the sole survivor of inner circle meeting massacre in the first game. In Max Payne 2 he returns, now terminally ill with cancer and a wheelchair user, and is embroiled in the conspiracy around which the game centers. He is killed by Vladimir Lem after confronting Lem outside the panic room of his mansion.

Max Payne characters[edit]

  • Alex Balder – Another DEA agent and Max's best friend. He grew up with Max, and while Max joined the NYPD, Alex joined the DEA and became one of their top agents. He was betrayed and killed by B.B Hensley himself.
  • Candy Dawn – A prostitute who works for the Punchinello family by obtaining blackmail evidence against her wealthy clients. Payne comes across her with Rico Muerte and both are killed by him in the subsequent gunfight. She was revealed that she was employed by Horne to blackmail Woden into silence since she was videotaping her and Woden in the act.
  • Boris Dime – A former member of Lem's mob who defected to the Punchinello family. He is killed by Payne on the ship.
  • Joey Finito – One of the Finito brothers who is a subordinate of Gognitti within the Punchinello mob. He is killed, along with his brother, during a confrontation with Payne.
  • Virgilio Finito – One of the Finito brothers who is a subordinate of Gognitti within the Punchinello mob. He is killed, along with his brother, during a confrontation with Payne.
  • B.B. Hensley – A corrupt DEA agent and a former friend of Max and Alex. Receiving payouts from Horne, he sends Max to meet agent Alex Balder at the train station and then shoots Balder dead, framing Max for his murder. He eventually meets Max, who has determined his treachery, and is killed in the subsequent confrontation.
  • Nicole Horne – A business tycoon and the key figure behind Project Valhala, initiated around the time of Operation Desert Storm to develop drugs to enhance morale and stamina, when the project failed to yield the desired results, she refused to shut it down, and years later began distributing it as a designer drug named Valkyr. She is killed by Payne when he knocks her building's satellite tower onto her helicopter.
  • Jack Lupino – Punchinello's underboss, and the target of an extensive investigation by the NYPD and the DEA in the first game, believed to be a source of Valkyr. However, he is just a minor player, and only resells the drug. He is also a constant user of the drug, which has driven him insane, and a cult leader, signing a deal with the Devil. He operates from his shady nightclub, the Ragna Rok, which is bought by Vladimir Lem soon after. He is killed by Payne in the club's inner sanctum.
  • Rico Muerte – A hitman in the Punchinello mob and a former Chicago assassin. He was hired by Horne to assassinate the mayor, using a sniper rifle from a storage container from Boris the Dime, who defected from Lem, but he was killed by Payne in his club.
  • Vince Mugnaio – The leading member of "The Trio", a sadistic enforcement team who serve as hitmen for the Punchinello family. He is killed along with the rest of The Trio by Payne in Punchinello's mansion; he is the last member of The Trio to die.
  • Pilate Providence (a.k.a. Big Brother) – A member of "The Trio", he is killed along with the rest of The Trio by Payne in Punchinello's mansion; he is the first member of The Trio to die.
  • Joe "Deadpan" Salem – A member of "The Trio", he is killed along with the rest of The Trio by Payne in Punchinello's mansion; he is the second member of The Trio to die.
  • Frankie "The Bat" Niagara – A hitman in the Punchinello mob, who is tasked with disposing of Payne after Payne was found drugged not far from where he killed Jack Lupino. He leaves Payne to get a drink from the bar (where Candy Dawn and Rico Muerte were previously killed by Payne), leaving Payne to escape, follow him, and confront him; ultimately killing him. He got his nickname because he likes to beat up his victims with a bat.
  • Angelo Punchinello – The godfather of the Punchinello crime family. A sadistic wife-beater, it is discovered that he is actually a pawn for Nicole Horne, and she was blackmailing him. He is killed by Horne's forces in his mansion.
  • Lisa Punchinello – Angelo Punchinello's wife and Mona Sax's sister, she is found dead by Payne in Punchinello's mansion after presumably being beaten to death by her husband.

Max Payne 2 characters[edit]

  • Corcoran – An Inner Circle member and contact of Mona's whom Max tries to find and save from the "Cleaners", Max is too late and finds him dead.
  • Annie Finn – Vladimir Lem's weapons dealer, she was ultimately betrayed by Lem and killed by the "Cleaners", although Payne was led to believe that Lem was the Cleaner's enemy. Max was too late to save her.
  • Senator Sebastian Gates – An inner circle member and high ranking politician, he is assassinated on the orders of Alfred Woden by Mona Sax.
  • Kaufman – Kaufman is the owner of the Squeaky Cleaning Company, which is actually a huge front for the assassination and "cleaning" business, known as "Cleaners" and one of Lem's subordinates. He operates from a huge building yard and an abandoned warehouse which is a front for the Cleaners's hideout. He was killed by Payne inside the Upper East Side Inner Circle building. It was believed that the Cleaners were working against Lem, but he was revealed to actually work for Lem.
  • Mike The Cowboy – Vladimir Lem's leading henchman, he initially assists Payne in saving his boss. If he survives the rescue attempt on Lem, he later attempts to kill Payne after he has uncovered the truth, but is ultimately himself killed by Payne.
  • Valerie Winterson – A respected NYPD detective and able investigator, Bravura seems to favor her over Payne. Winterson is a divorcee and a mother to a blind child. She is secretly in an affair with Vladimir Lem, which leads her to attempt to betray Payne. However this backfires and she is killed by Payne.

Max Payne 3 characters[edit]

  • Bachmeyer – Becker's right-hand man and lieutenant of the Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), he is ordered to kill Rodrigo Branco and destroys his headquarters. During a favela raid he exchanges captured civilians to the Crachá Preto. He is later killed by Max in the UFE's HQ.
  • Armando Becker – Becker is the commander of the Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE) and friend of Victor Branco, he is also a dealer in human organs from captured civilians. He orders Bachmeyer to kill Rodrigo and frame Max for the death. He also orders a raid on the Comando Sombra to finish them off. He is almost choked to death by Max until Victor saves him and attempts to fly away with him. During Becker and Max's final fight, he is fatally wounded by a grenade explosion.
  • Fabiana Branco – Fabiana is Rodrigo's wife. She is kidnapped by the Comando Sombra and held for ransom. Her first rescue attempt was during a boat chase in the Tietê River by Max and Passos, but their boat was heavily damaged. Her second rescue attempt resulted in her being executed by Serrano.
  • Marcelo Branco – Marcelo is the youngest brother of the Branco family and a hard-party goer. He goes to Nova Esperança to deliver money to the Comando Sombra to help save Fabiana but gets shot in the leg and taken away. He would later be captured by the Crachá Preto and be burned alive by Rego to make it look like a gang style execution.
  • Rodrigo Branco – Rodrigo is the oldest brother of the Branco family and a wealthy business man, he is Max's and Passos' boss. When Rodrigo's father died of a heart attack he became the 'king' of the family. He is targeted by the Comando Sombra and his wife gets kidnapped and held for ransom. In a private moment, he admits to Max that he feels like he's accomplished nothing apart from "being a rich man in a poor country" and that knows Fabiana likely married him for his money, though Max tells him that he's still a decent man despite his wealth. During a raid at his headquarters by the Crachá Preto, he gets shot in the back of the head by Bachmeyer.
  • Victor Branco – Victor is the middle brother of the Branco family and a politician, and is also the mastermind for paying Passos to hire Max, ordering his brothers' deaths, harvesting human organs to sell for money for his campaign, and boss of the UFE and Crachá Preto. When Max discovers the truth about how Victor's campaign is funded, Victor attempts to flee the country but his private jet is destroyed by Max and is taken into custody where he is found hanged in his cell a week later.
  • Wilson Da Silva – Wilson is a police detective who helps Max, he gives Max information about Serrano, the Crachá Preto, the UFE, and Victor Branco and his organ harvesting conspiracy. Wilson takes Max to the Imperial Palace Hotel to investigate and also helps him invade the UFE's HQ and chase down Victor.
  • Anthony DeMarco – DeMarco is the head of the DeMarco crime family in New Jersey, he orders a hit on Max Payne when Max killed his only son.
  • Tony DeMarco – Tony is the son of Anthony DeMarco who taunts Max, he is killed by Max when he hits a woman in a bar.
  • Arthur Fischer – A plastic surgeon who helped in harvesting human organs at the hotel. He is stabbed to death by Serrano.
  • Álvaro Neves – Neves is the leader of the Crachá Preto, he is a former UFE captain who quit and created the paramilitary group. He is paid by Victor to steal the ransom money from Max, Passos, and the CS at the stadium. Neves would order an attack on Payne at the Branco headquarters and later at the bus station Max and Giovanna were at. He is later killed by Passos at the Imperial Palace Hotel.
  • Milo Rego – Rego is Neves' right-hand man and a former army member, who was decommissioned following a psychiatric evaluation that deemed him unfit for service. Noted as showing both psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies, he is also scarred on the right side of his face, with his right eye blind as well; the result of a torture at the hands of gang members. He is given prisoners captured by UFE for harvesting organs along with Giovanna and Marcelo. He burns Marcelo alive to blame it on gang members and is then killed by Max with his machete.
  • Serrano – The leader of the Comando Sombra gang, he orders the abduction of Fabiana Branco and holds her hostage for ransom. He kills her after a failed ransom exchange and gets captured by UFE during a favela raid. He would be tortured by the Crachá Preto at the Imperial Palace Hotel before stabbing Arthur Fischer to death.
  • Giovanna Taveres – Giovanna is Fabiana's sister and Passos' lover, she is almost kidnapped by the Comando Sombra at the nightclub when Max rescues her. She goes with Marcelo to Nova Esperança to save her sister but gets taken after the ransom fails. She reveals to Max that she is pregnant with Raul's child while hiding at a bus station trying to escape from the Crachá Preto. She and Raul leave Brazil.


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External links[edit]