Reviewed by: Tim Emmerich
Not even big Hollywood names can make “Payback” pay off! Mel Gibson plays Porter, a thief who gets simultaneously ripped off by a fellow thief named Val and double crossed by his wife. Not a good day for Porter. Guess that goes to show you something about the company you keep. Porter is left for dead, but survives to come back and seek his revenge.
The movie starts out poor. Initially the thieves steal supposedly hot money, then the severe double-crossing occurs. Obviously, Porter survives that encounter, otherwise it would have been a short movie. So, Porter sets out to get “his” money back, $70,000. It turns out Val bought himself into an organized crime ring called the “Outfit” with the money. This complicates Porter’s plans a bit, but he is dead set on getting his money back.
When Porter returns, he finds his wife is still heavily into drugs. And guess who is providing them for her? Yes, that’s right, Val! Due to the Outfit, Porter seeks out a prior acquaintance, Rosie. A prostitute that works for the Outfit. And by this point, you wonder if you should walk out of the movie!
From a Christian standpoint, the Lord says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV). Obviously, Porter doesn’t believe this. The entire scenario would have been avoided if the two thieves had obeyed the golden rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” Luke 6:31 (NIV). Since Porter obviously didn’t like someone stealing from him, he shouldn’t have stolen the money in the first place. Since the movie focused so much on porter’s “hard-earned” $70k, I thought it would be good to mention that everything is God’s including all physical possessions. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above…” James 1:17 (NIV).
“Payback” has drug use, sexual innuendos and seduction, severe sadistic sexual relations between Val and Pearl (another prostitute), poor language and cursing, extreme violence with lots of deaths and explosions, and no redeeming qualities. Hollywood will most likely tout it as being original and unique! Christians should avoid this movie! You should always think twice about seeing a movie where the film’s advertising execs warn you to “get ready to root for the bad guy.”
Donate the price of your ticket to your church or a charity. Don’t even bother renting this one, even if the video store wants to give it to you for free! The only reason this movie was probably made was because Mel Gibson said “Hey, what’s it like to be a bad guy?”