Author Topic: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut  (Read 2634 times)

Najemikon

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Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« on: December 13, 2007, 01:22:53 AM »
Payback was released in 1999 and it was based on a book called The Hunter by Richard Stark. The same source material for John Boorman's Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. I must give that earlier film another go; I saw it years ago and liked the story, but not the style, or even the ending.

When Payback came out I really liked it. It was the same story, but low key and to the point. And the point was usually being used to batter someone! Grimy, violent little film that it is!

I didn't know that the film I saw in 1999 wasn't what was originally intended and that apparently it didn't test well, so Brian Helgeland the director was kicked off because he refused to change it, a new section filmed with a new ending and the whole thing edited different. Now Brian has gone back to his original footage and pieced it back to how it originally was. As I said, I did like that theatrical version, so I was reluctant to get Straight Up. Especially when you think he directed The Sin Eater, so maybe he doesn't know what the heck he is doing and perhaps the theatrical Payback was a rescue job.

I just watched Straight Up and I like it more than the standard Payback. Leaner and meaner, it harks back to the 1970s (Helgeland's original intention apparently) and removes a lot of stuff that was added just to spell things out to the audience. It's lost some humour, but the stark brutality makes more sense. Somehow the theatrical version seems a bit silly to me now. You may think different, but both versions are worth seeing.

So anyway, if you like gritty 1970s style crime films, I recommend this. If you've seen the original Payback, I really recommend it, if only for novelty value. But if you don't fit either of those slots, I still implore you to get this modestly priced DVD because the extra features give a fantastic glimpse into the bonkers world of Hollywood. Payback demonstrates all that is right and wrong and right again with the filmmaking business, and the 'Making of' featurette is one of the best I've seen.

Normally in situations like these you have to wait until someones dead (Orson Welles, Touch of Evil) or it becomes tit for tat grudge crap (The Exorcist: Dominion) before you see definitive (or hacked!) versions. Here though, the 'making of' is made up of interviews by people with only positive things to say about the whole affair, including Mel Gibson. They still stick strongly to their original intentions, but I think the fact Straight Up exists at all is miraculous. They are all gracious about each others intentions, so it's a pleasant half hour.

Parts of the interviews, especially the composer of the new score, are often quite moving even. And Brian Helgeland has the last line and tearfully puts everything in perspective, especially if you were starting to think of Gibson as the villainous producer...  ;)

There's a good interview with Richard Stark too.

Offline Achim

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 09:48:11 AM »
Thanks for this, Jon! :cheers:

I previously dismissed purchasing payback, as I read the Review for Straight Up at DVD Talk and the reviewer came to an even more split result as you, so I simply couldn't decide :laugh:

Now, I just put in another large purchase today, after originaly intending not to buy anything in December (:bag:), otherwise there might even have been a chance, but now I can only put it on my Wish List :D

Najemikon

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 02:57:56 AM »
I see it's in your watched panel! What did you think?

Offline Achim

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 05:13:26 AM »
I see it's in your watched panel! What did you think?
Sorry for not reporting back myself... :bag:

I liked it! It's been too long since I saw the theatrical version to draw direct comparisons though. I do like that blue look a lot (in general, not just in Payback), but ultimately didn't miss it. Memory of the other version was a little refreshed when watching the featurette, explaining what was changed (and why). Very enjoyable experience.

As this is what the director intended I have no intention of buying the theatrical cut.

Najemikon

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2008, 12:31:29 PM »
I already had the theatrical version, but I suspect it will be this one I always return to. I do like Kristofferson, but prefer the angle of it being a woman in charge. The whole affair is an interesting view of how it's worth going back sometimes because films don't have to be set in stone. Maybe one day there will be a good version of The Phantom Menace!

Offline Achim

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2008, 05:32:49 PM »
I already had the theatrical version, but I suspect it will be this one I always return to. I do like Kristofferson, but prefer the angle of it being a woman in charge.
Yeah, that was one of the things that irritated me. I remembered Kris being in it and kept asking myself: "when's Kris showing up?" :hysterical: Also think that that tough woman is way creepier than Kris, actually.

Quote
The whole affair is an interesting view of how it's worth going back sometimes because films don't have to be set in stone. Maybe one day there will be a good version of The Phantom Menace!
While a Director's Cut is usually a good thing (provided it is actually that: not like Blade Runner in the 90s, or Donnie Darko) I really doubt Menace can be saved by anything; anyway, harms done alreadfy anyway, like, Tim already burned all his stuff ;)

Najemikon

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Re: Payback: Straight Up- The Director's Cut
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 07:33:06 PM »
 :laugh:

Maybe it's possible it re-edit the whole trilogy into a single half decent film? Nah. Hayden Christensen will still be in it...