Payback starring Mel Gibson has been given a special edition release here in the UK, with both the theatrical cut and the directors cut on the disc (The USA release just had the directors cut). Gibson stars as Porter, who with his pal Val decide to rob the Chinese mafia of a big money haul.
The robbery is successful but Porter is double-crossed by his partner and wife, shot and left for dead. But he survives and all he has on his mind is revenge and to get his money back. This is a fabulous film shot in the style of the early 70’s crime thrillers, grim, gritty, dirty. Porter is no saint and his no-nonsense approach to things make him very much an anti-hero.
The directors cut is, in my opinion, the superior of the two. The theatrical is good, it added a narration to explain the story a bit more and new characters including actor Kris Kristofferson. The directors cut has a more solid colour scheme, where the Theatrical had a more sepia tone added to it.
Its fascinating to compare both versions and the extras help with a great documentary called Same Story – Different Movie: Creating Payback the Director’s Cut which is, a refreshingly honest look at the history of the movie, how the director eventually left the project, what went wrong and how it was fixed to suit the studio. It also is very interesting to see how they revisited the project years later and put together the director’s version. Mel Gibson is honest about the project, he was a producer as well and says he could understand why the studio wanted changes made, especially the last part of the film.
The picture quality is solid, the colours are bold and clean, especially on the director’s version but both are very good. Sound again is excellent, English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, the USA release only had a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, which serves the film perfectly, very spacious, both soundtracks on both versions sound fabulous. Extras are as mentioned the making of documentary plus an audio commentary and interviews. Another recommended release.
FILM: 8 PICTURE: 8 SOUND: 7.5 EXTRAS: 8