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Porter (Mel Gibson) is pulled into a heist by his old friend, Val (Brian De Palma regular, Gregg Henry). As they're stealing $130,000 in laundered drug money from Chinese Triads, no one is going to call the police. Everything goes smoothly until Porter's wife, Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger), shoots Porter in the back. After Val had shown Lynn a photo of Porter in the arms of another girl (Maria Bello), the two planned the double-cross together to pay off Val's mob debts so he could return to "The Syndicate." They didn't plan well enough, though, because five months later… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A solid enough action comedy, albeit one that had a lot of potential to be wittier and darker."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Calgary Movies
"Payback has its moments and its thrills, but the payoff just isn't there."
‑ Louis B. Hobson, Jam! Movies
"Both star and director seem to be more interested in playing off perceptions of Gibson's on-screen persona than in actually telling the story, which lurches along from one violent set piece to the next."
‑ Nick Roddick, Sight and Sound
"A mean-spirited cartoon beneath a thin veneer of faux-grit!"
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A tough, entertaining homage to the kind of gritty '70s crime film that long ago gave way to a slicker yet tamer form of action movie ... Both the studio's cut and Helgeland's cut work about equally well."
‑ Chuck O'Leary,
"Payback is just Die Hard: Without a Soul."
‑ Ron Wells, Film Threat
"...tries to be a no-nonsense action thriller, but it's undermined by its own plot silliness and by the unruffled attitude of its main character."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Payback is not, in any way, an entertaining film."
‑ Dustin Putman,
"This is the seediest studio picture I've seen since TO LIVE OR DIE IN LA. Even the theater floor feels stickier while watching this thing unfold."
‑ Moriarty, Ain't It Cool Movie Reviews
"The movie squanders its energy on morbid levels of grisly, kinky violence, much of it sexual."
‑ Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Strictly a Mel Gibson vehicle, and one that doesn't really know what to do with the star's easygoing, audience-pleasing charm."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Examiner
"The thin story never generates any genuine excitement."
‑ Michael Dequina,
More reviews for Payback on Rotten Tomatoes

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