April 20, 2013 - Mel Gibson gives as good as he gets in this R-rated film from 1999 (although the film looks as though it could have been made in 1989 or even 1979). In the movie, Gibson gets to kill quite a few big names, including William Devane, James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. The cast also includes David Paymer, Maria Bello, Lucy Liu and Gregg Henry (currently appearing in a recurring role as Hollis Doyle in ABC's Scandal).

Gibson plays a robber named Porter. As the film opens, he's having bullets pulled out of his back by a doctor of very questionable capability. We learn that Porter was shot by his drug-addicted wife and left for dead; his partner, Val (Henry), took the money they had just stolen from an Asian gang and used it to get back in good with "the Outfit," the crime syndicate that runs the city. Now, Porter is out to get revenge and to get his share of the take from that last robbery - $70,000. Porter's only friend is Rosie, the high-class hooker he used to drive around back in the day. They had a thing once, but now she, too, works for the Outfit.

Overall review: *** In some ways, this movie reminded me of some others. The plot had a Get Shorty kind of feel to it as Porter wound his way through the city's underbelly, going from one shady character to the next as he works his way to the top men at the Outfit. The film's gritty, generic city brought up memories of Tim Burton's Batman movies. But, there's enough originality and humor to give Payback some separation. Lucy Liu, especially, seems to revel in her role as the Asian gang's dominatrix leader.