Home / The Duke On “Payback” – A Classic Of Cinema

The Duke On “Payback” – A Classic Of Cinema

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Nobody in their right mind would fuck with Mel Gibson, is what The Duke has deduced from centuries of committed research. Didn’t you see The Passionate Christ or whatever? You saw what that Gibson maniac is capable of.

Whipping, flailing, making a fella fall down at least two dozen times, spitting on his face, having a crow poke a fella’s eyes out. This kinda shit awaits anyone daft enough to cross the mean sonna bitch. You better hope to God you don’t give him no reason to be disgruntled, or next thing anyone knows it’s gonna be blue streaks across the face and riding into your bedroom on horseback to smack a mace into your slumbering skull.

The no-good gangster types in Payback, Brian Helgeland’s 1999 masterpiece (even though he walked before the flick was finished), they obviously don’t pay much attention to the world of filmic affairs. Maybe they could say something along the lines of “How the hell were we to know? That Jesus flick wasn’t out for another five years, man!”, but The Duke, just like Mel, don’t have no truck with this kinda lackadaisical approach to the old foresight.

What Payback concerns itself with is that Mel Gibson is a mean motherfucker by the name of Porter. I used to know a fella called Porter in high school, and whilst he could certainly bash out a fair old rhythm on the drum-kit, he was no match for Gibson in the beating-folks-fuckless stakes.

Porter gets double-crossed and so on, made to look like a damn fool, on account of his criminal buddy and his philandering wife, the woman from Crash, try to kill his guts off, and all for the sake of 70 grand.

What they didn’t count on, was that Mel Gibson was the star of this film, and that this incident happens, like, ten minutes in. Maybe they were hoping for some Hitchcock-esque shocking shenanigans, and that Gibson would really die so as the audience could gasp and open their eyes real wide and all sorts of kooky shit, but no.

Even Hitchcock wouldn’t have had the gargantuan testes required for to fling Gibson into a shower twenty minutes in and then have the fuck stabbed out of him by some skinny runt dressed in his momma’s finest.

“Go fuck yourself, Hitchcock”, Gibson would most certainly have spat right onto his face. He might have nailed him to some wood then and maybe scourged the bejeesus out of him with any manner of rods and whips.

Gibson gets the bullets taken out of him by some whiskey-drenched doctor or other, probably the kinda fella who wouldn’t think twice about adjusting a man’s jawline so as the cops can’t get him for the twenty-six homicides he pulled off just this week. He’s got the ethics of a Hutt, is what, and so he has no problem putting a sadistic, psychopathic motherfucker like Gibson back on the streets.

Which is good for us, the audience, since a film about Mel Gibson lies on his back slowly bleeding to death for two hours would be nothing if not a travesty.

Mel’s soon back on his feet, and we get a credit sequence wherein he goes around the place doing all sorts of dastardly bullshit, like stealing money from a Vietnam-vet beggar, although we learn that the beggar isn’t crippled like he claims, and probably wasn’t even in Vietnam either. I doubt the motherfucker even saw Platoon, to be perfectly honest.

This opening sequence is very similar to the one in Spanish horror comedy The Day Of The Beast, which, incidentally, is just about the best film ever made. Those Spanish cats had a priest walking around doing diabolical things like walking up to a dying fella and then, instead of giving the last rights and all that holy jazz, telling him he hopes he rots in hell and then stealing his wallet.

Gibson doesn’t do nothing like that, since he’s not a priest, even though his sermons would probably be the best sermons you ever attended in your motherfucking life, filled with guts and gore and torture sequences and maybe some demonic children.

What he does do, though, involves some of the finest examples of being a right fucking bastard ever committed to film. The great thing about Payback is that it presents a genuinely nasty motherfucker, but allows us to cheer along his every abominable deed.

Incidentally, the poster’s assertion that “It’s time to root for the bad guy” was changed in Gibson’s native Australia on account of the term “rooting” over there refers to shagging a man of the same gender up the arse.

Every time Gibson rips a punk-ass heroin-hocking youth’s nose-ring out, or slides underneath a car and blows the fuck out of the folks sitting inside, you wanna jump up and punch the air and so on, or better yet, punch a fella nearby who maybe shot you and left you for dead, and all for the sake of 70 measly grand.

It also provides plenty of brilliant dialogue for folks to go about quoting and whatnot and annoying folks in taverns left and right. Obviously, The Duke has enough of his own hard-boiled quips to deliver, like “Shut up, bastard” and “Eat this, motherfucker”, but for you folks less gifted in the art, there’s loads of things like “Corrupt cops. Is there any other kind? If I’d a been a little dumber I coulda joined the force myself”, and also the bit where a hooker takes a fancy to Gibson’s muscular physique and says “I gotta few minutes”. “So go boil an egg” says the hard-ass son of a bitch.

There’s no reason known to man why anyone would find Payback anything other than glorious, but for some demented reason, probably involving communists and maybe transsexuals of some sort, director Brian Helgeland walked out, with 30% of the footage being shot in his absence. Apparently it was production designer John Myhre who took care of things in Helgeland’s absence, up-to-and-including bringing in Kris Kristofferson for to star as a quite hard-ass motherfucker, but still nowhere near the granite-cheeked glory of Gibson.

It’s not like, say, Death Wish when a fella couldn’t cheer for Bronson as he went about dishing out revenge, since for one thing it was a right-wing wank-fantasy, and for another, it was directed by Michael Winner. Here, every damn character is a crook, everyone’s looking for everyone else to turn their back for a second so as they can screw them right up the dung-shaft.

Gibson is just as keen on shooting a fella in the back as the folks he’s gunning down, just as soaked in the rancid tar of corruption.

Payback is as much fun as sneezing during an orgasm, and just as likely to annoy your partner in sex. This is a boy’s flick, is what. The only time female people, like women or golfers, should be watching this is when they walk into the room and it’s on the telly, and then what needs to happen is they need to turn around and walk right out the damn room once more.

Or so I’m guessing. The fuck The Duke knows about The Battling Sexes or whatever. You may or may not know, but The Duke was actually the produce of an experiment to combine the best elements of both genders, and then trained in the ways of the mercenary and the ninja, like in American Ninja parts 1-3, but not the ones after that since they weren’t up to much.

Thanks folks.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando.

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