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Max Payne (series)

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Title: Max Payne (series)  
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Subject: Mona, Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, List of video game franchises, List of video game developers, Remedy Entertainment, James McCaffrey, Conspiracy fiction, Sam Lake, Max Payne 3
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Max Payne (series)

Max Payne
Genres Third-person shooter
Developers Remedy Entertainment (2001-2003)
Rockstar Studios (2012-present)
Publishers Rockstar Games
Creators Sam Lake
Platforms Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Mac OS, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS,Android
Platform of origin Microsoft Windows
First release Max Payne
July 23, 2001
Latest release Max Payne 3
May 15, 2012
Official website Max Payne: The Official Site

Max Payne is a video game series developed by Remedy Entertainment (the original game and Max Payne 2) and Rockstar Studios (Max Payne 3). The series is named after its protagonist, Max Payne, a New York City police officer turned vigilante. The series' first and second installments were written by Sam Lake, while Max Payne 3 was primarily written by Rockstar Games' Vice President, Dan Houser.

The first game of the series Max Payne, was released in 2001 for Microsoft Windows and in 2002 for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Apple Macintosh; a special version of the game was also released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. A sequel entitled Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne was released in 2003 for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Windows. In 2008, a movie adaption, loosely based on the original game, entitled Max Payne was released, distributed by 20th Century Fox, starred by 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 Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and on June 1, 2012 for Windows.[1]

The franchise is notable for its use of "bullet time" in action sequences. Max Payne, Max Payne 2 and Max Payne 3 were well received by critics, although the first sequel's sales were considered underwhelming.[2][3] As of 2011, the Max Payne franchise has sold over 7.5 million copies.[4] The film rendition, which featured Mark Wahlberg as Payne, received negative reviews but was commercially successful.[5]


Aggregate review scores
As of December 25, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Max Payne (PC) 89.26%[6]
(Xbox) 85.95%[7]
(PS2) 79.81%[8]
(GBA) 79.68%[9]
(PC) 89[10]
(Xbox) 89[11]
(PS2) 80[12]
(GBA) 78[13]
Max Payne 2 (PC) 88.52%[14]
(Xbox) 85.75%[15]
(PS2) 76.64%[16]
(PC) 86[17]
(Xbox) 84[18]
(PS2) 73[19]
Max Payne 3 (PS3) 86.08%[20]
(PC) 85.67%[21]
(X360) 84.75%[22]
(PS3) 87[23]
(PC) 87[24]
(X360) 86[25]

Max Payne

Main article: Max Payne

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"—most of whom are killed off in the sequel—including a Russian mafia gangster, called Vladimir Lem, and Mona Sax, a female vigilante who's out to avenge the death of her twin sister, Lisa, and manages to bring down the ring-leaders 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

Max Payne has been taken by the police and is about to face charges for his killing spree. However, he was eventually 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. However, during a routine murder investigation he finds himself face-to-face once again 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

Main article: Max Payne 3

Max Payne has now left both the NYPD and New York itself and is now working on a private security detail in São Paulo, Brazil. However, 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. [26]

Film adaptation

Main article: Max Payne (film)

Early in 2003, it was confirmed that 20th Century Fox had bought the rights to adapt the game to film.[27] 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, Canada.[28] Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis[29] play the roles of Max Payne and Mona Sax respectively.[30] Beau Bridges, Chris O'Donnell, Nelly Furtado and rapper Ludacris have roles as B.B. Hensley, Jason Colvin, Christa Balder and Jim Bravura respectively.[31] On July 10, 2008, an official teaser trailer was released, featuring an instrumental version of the Marilyn Manson song, "If I Was Your Vampire".[32] The film was released to theaters in the USA on October 17, 2008 with a PG-13 rating.[33] While it was ranked first on its opening weekend, grossing US$18 million at the box office,[34] the film received mainly negative reviews, having a 16% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 129 reviews.[35]

Fan films

Fan-made short films include Max Payne: Hero (Chris Chen, 2003)[36] and Max Payne: The Beginning of the End (Zapruder Pictures Production, 2006).

There is an independent movie project Payne and Redemption which has been in production for years and currently continues.[37] On April 2008, 20th Century Fox sent a letter to writer and director Fergle Gibson, asking for the immediate "cease and desist" of his work. Due to the possibility of having the film studio begin legal actions against him for the non consented use of the brand Max Payne, he decided to take out the name of the character from the title and movie plot.

Another new fan short film Max Payne: Valhalla was released in May 2012. This project was financed by crowdfunding.[38]


Character Appearances
Max Payne Max Payne 2 Max Payne 3 Film
Max Payne James McCaffrey[39] Mark Wahlberg
Mona Sax Julia Murney Wendy Hoopes   Mila Kunis
Jim Bravura Peter Appel Vince Viverito   Ludacris
Vladimir Lem Dominic Hawksley Jonathan Davis  
Vinnie Gognitti Joe Dallo Fred Berman  
Alfred Woden John Randolph Jones John Braden  
Jack Lupino Jeff Gurner   Amaury Nolasco

Main characters

  • Max Payne – Principle protagonist of the series, Max is a New York City police officer. 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 in order to monitor the trafficking of Valkyr. Two months into his investigations, 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 an NYPD detective investigating a series of murders by the 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 being addictive to painkillers and alcohol after the tragic events that happen nine years before. Max is offered a job to work for a wealthy family in Sao Paulo, Brazil by a Raul Passos, although 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.
  • Jim Bravura – In Max Payne, he is the deputy chief of police, and leads the NYPD in pursuit of Payne after he became a fugitive. In Max Payne 2, he was self-demoted and serves as Payne's superior in his precinct. In the film he is portrayed by Ludacris. Although his status is unknown at the end of Max Payne 2 due to his being critically injured in hospital, it was revealed in the pre-Max Payne 3 comics 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, and serves as the secondary antagonist in the first and second game. In Max Payne he has a rank of a Capo, and is Mafia Captain Jack Lupino's lieutenant, he is depicted as intelligent but cowardly, with a penchant for abusing sexual partners that include underage call girls. Payne wounds him and chases him for several city blocks to learn of 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, which left him as the de facto leader of the remaining Punchinello mob. He is less threatening this time around, and is again at war with the Russian mob. He is killed by Vladimir Lem who detonated a bomb located in a "Captain Baseball Bat" 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 after 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, and turned it into a fancy restoran called the Vodka. He is the primary antagonist of the second game, and 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.
  • Michelle Payne - Max's murdered wife, she appears in the dream sequences of the game. Her death, prior to the start of the game, 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.
  • Mona Sax – Mona is a hired killer, and is the secondary protagonist in the series, 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. While on their final mission as of in 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 original game ending is in fact the correct one, and that she is therefore deceased by the time the third games 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

  • Alex Balder – Another DEA agent and Max's best friend, he is betrayed and killed by B.B. Hensley during the initial phase of the game.
  • Candy Dawn - A prostitute who is an asset to the Punchinello family in that she obtains blackmail evidence against her wealthy clients. Payne comes across her with Rico Muerte and both are killed by him in the subsequent gunfight.
  • Boris the Dime - One of former Lem's Capos, and he defected to the Punchinello family. Although working for Punchinello, he also may had some alliegances with Nicole Horne, since he had a shipment of guns on his boat and some guns were provided for Rico Muerte to assassinate the New York Mayor, but the hit could not be performed since Rico Muerte was killed by Payne. He was also killed by Payne on his own 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 pay outs from Horne, he radios Max telling him 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. He is the principle antagonist in the film adaptation of the game.
  • 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 the principle antagonist in the game, and killed by Payne when he knocks her building's satellite tower onto her helicopter.
  • Jack Lupino – He is Punchinello's Underboss, and investigated by the NYPD and the DEA in the first game, believed to be a source of the Valkyr. However, he is just a minor, and only resells the drug. He is also a constant user of the drug, making him twisted and a cult leader, signing a deal with the Devil. He operates from his shady nightclub, the Ragna Rok, which has been bought by Vladimir Lem soon after. He is killed by Payne on the top floor.
  • Rico Muerte - A pimp who is high-ranking in the Punchinello mob. He is believed to be only a minor in the case, but it is shown to have powerful connections; he is actually an assassin working for Nicole Horne, Aesir's CEO, as a double agent in the Punchinello family, and also uses his status as a pimp to have one of his girls, Candy Dawn, seduce Senator Alfred Woden and allowing Horne to blackmail him. He was also hired by Horne to assassinate the mayor, using guns from a storage 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.
  • Frankie "The Bat" Niagara - A hitman and a made man in the Punchinello mob, and Lupino's subordinate, 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.
  • 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.
  • Angelo Punchinello – The godfather of the Punchinello crime family and the game's secondary antagonist. 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.
  • 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.

Max Payne 2 characters

  • Mr Corcran – An inner circle member whom Payne 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.
  • Senator Sebastian Gates – An inner circle member and high ranking politician, he is assassinated on the orders of Vladimir Lem.
  • Kaufman – Kaufman is the owner of the Soapy Clean 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. 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 assassin, 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

  • Bachmayer - Second-in-command of the Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), and the man who assassinates Rodrigo Branco, and is later killed by Payne in retribution for Rodrigo's death.
  • Armarndo Becker - Victor's right hand man and the leader of the UFE, he is the game's secondary antagonist. He attempts to escape the authorities with Victor but is critically injured whilst trying to eliminate Payne; this leads to his death from either blood loss or execution by Payne.
  • Fabiana Branco - Rodrigo's wife who is kidnapped by the CS, and later murdered by their leader, Serrano.
  • Marcelo Branco - The youngest brother in the Branco family. Marcello is a "party loving Eurotrash playboy". He is abducted along with Giovanna by the CS whilst trying to pay Fabiana's ranson and is later murdered by the Crachá Preto.
  • Rodrigo Branco - A wealthy real estate mogul and businessman who Max works security for. He is assassinated by Bachmayer.
  • Victor Branco - Rodrigo's brother and a politician, and the game's principle antagonist. He is discovered to be the man behind the betrayal of the Branco family and the crimes of the three organized groups in the game. Da Silva requests that Payne spare Victor so that he can be prosecuted by the Brazilian legal system for his crimes; Payne relents, leading Victor to goad Payne by saying that he will walk free, resulting in Payne breaking Victor's leg. A week later, Victor is found hanged in his prison cell, with police uncertain as to whether he committed suicide in the face of scandal and imprisonment, having realized that he was not going to walk free afterall, or whether he was murdered in retribution for the innocent people he sold to Fischer in order to fund his political campaigns.
  • Anthony DeMarco - The leader of the small DeMarco crime mob, who despite their size are the leading gangsters in the New Jersey / New York area following the elimination of the previous leading gangs' by Payne in the previous games. He is aggrieved when Payne kills his only son, Tony, and sends his men to kill Payne. A newspaper clipping Payne comes across in Panama shows that gang wars have erupted between the DeMarco and Punchinello gangs due to the weakening of DeMarco's gang. No more is known about the culmination of this; thus it is unknown who won the struggle or even if it has ended yet. As such, it is unknown whether Anthony survived the gang war or whether he was a casualty of this.
  • Tony DeMarco - Anthony DeMarco's son, he drinks in the same bar in New Jersey as Payne, and after threatening Payne and assaulting a woman in the bar, is killed by an aggravated Payne.
  • Arthur Fischer - The man funding the UFE and Cracha Preto for the organ's scandal, he is killed by Serrano in retribution for the CS members who had been betrayed and murdered by the aforementioned groups to satisfy Fischer's needs.
  • Giovanna Taveres - Fabiana Branco's sister, she is abducted along with Marcelo when the pair go to the CS with the ransom for Fabiana's release. She is rescued by Payne and flees Brazil with Passos.
  • Alvaro Neves - Leader of crime and murderous group Cracha Preto, he is about to eliminate a disabled Payne, whom he swore revenge against for the killing of his second-in-command, Milo Rego, when he is killed by Passos.
  • Raul Passos - A former cop hired by Victor Branco and pressed to befriend Payne and trick him into accepting a job offer doing private security for the Branco family. He later redeems himself by saving Payne and flees Brazil with Giovanna.
  • Milo Rego - Second-in-command of Cracha Preto, he is killed by Payne who slits Rego's throat with his own machete, in retribution for the murder of Marcelo. This leads to Cracha Preto leader Alvaro Neves swearing revenge against Payne.
  • Serrano - The leader of the CS (Comando Sombra, Portuguese for "Shadow Command"), the gang who kidnapped Fabiana, whom he later killed. The CS was betrayed by the UFE, and Serrano is captured. Despite his killing of Fabiana, he is saved by Payne along with the rest of the people abducted for organ harvest by the UFE. Payne decides to spare him his life due to the pain he has already suffered, and he later avenges his group by killing Fischer. Shortly after this, Payne detonated explosives he had planted in the structure, leading to the building's collapse, which Serrano is not seen to escape. Following this, Serrano is not seen again in the game leaving his fate unknown.
  • Wilson Da Silva - Payne's help in hand on more than one occasion who helps him discover who is responsible for the death of Rodrigo Branco. He later helps Payne disable Victor Branco requests that Payne leaves Victor alive so that he can be punished for his crimes.


  1. Max Payne 3 Slips Once More, Now Due Beyond October; L.A. Noire Stays Put. (2010-06-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  2. New Max Payne 3 Details. Attack of the Fanboy (2011-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  3. New Max Payne 3 details in latest issue of Edge. (2011-04-05). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.

External links

  • MobyGames
  • The Escapist, May 12, 2012

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