User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 78
  2. Negative: 4 out of 78
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  1. CalebR.
    Jun 10, 2005
    10
    My favorite movie of all time. It's the best.
  2. Sep 24, 2012
    7
    Never a classic, Payback is just a nice mix of black comedy and action which does it's job well. It includes certain noir elements, such as a grey layering to the visuals and horn layden soundtrack, that help make it different and refreshing enough to stand out, and you also never know quite what to expect throughout the film either. Not one to have at the top of the viewing list, but oneNever a classic, Payback is just a nice mix of black comedy and action which does it's job well. It includes certain noir elements, such as a grey layering to the visuals and horn layden soundtrack, that help make it different and refreshing enough to stand out, and you also never know quite what to expect throughout the film either. Not one to have at the top of the viewing list, but one that's worthy of your time. Expand
  3. DavidR.
    Apr 1, 2009
    2
    This movie is awful. It might have been good if Mel Gibson was still the lovable character from Lethal Weapon. Now that he has become another Hollywood freak, this movie loses all of it's 'charm'.
  4. RonaldoG.
    Mar 31, 2009
    0
    This movie is terrible. I turned it off half way through. It is confused about whether or not it is a comedy or a drama, and fails miserably at being both.
  5. R.L.
    Oct 3, 2009
    6
    Let me start off by saying that this movie wasn't half bad, It could have been better but not half bad. Payback is about tough guy Porter who wants just one thing and one thing only, Payback! As the title so justly puts and he wants his money that was taken from him and he'll do anything and everything to get it back. What I found interesting about this film was the malicious Let me start off by saying that this movie wasn't half bad, It could have been better but not half bad. Payback is about tough guy Porter who wants just one thing and one thing only, Payback! As the title so justly puts and he wants his money that was taken from him and he'll do anything and everything to get it back. What I found interesting about this film was the malicious way it was played out it was like an evil little wind up monkey that kept clattering and making noise and irritating yo until you got fed up and just step on the darn thing. Well that's the main plot for the movie, it's meant to zip along at only an 1hr. 34 mins. and it expects you to be entertained by this mess, but a good mess it was. Mel Gibson plays a character he's played a thousand times the macho tough guy with no fear. He played this type in all four Lethal Weapon movies, he played this again in Mad Max 1,2 and 3. So why did he try and see if he could pull it off again? Well becuase he can! And he did! Gibson puts some humanity and somewhat of a soul in an almost soulless character and he does it with such style and grace that it almost makes you want to slap Porter instead of punching him. And that's something, not by much, but something. Brian Helgeland( co-write for L.A. Confidential) tries to play on that moody, devil may care, I'll shoot you if you look at me cross eyed type of Anti-hero and that's all in good but the anti-hero he's created Porter is not somebody you can relate to, or even like for that matter, there were some scenes like I said that you wanted to hit Porter and then there were some scenes that you sympathized with him very well. And there is where this films greatness lies it gives you two sides of the coin to see, on one side the nasty Porter on the other side the kind and loving Porter. It gives you two sides to a very complicated and very world weary man and in my opinion that makes this a good movie. Payback is not action thriller greatness like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard but it does come very close, oh so very close, But the thing is with this movie is that it borders on almost a Noirish type style of cinematography and that up's it appeal to me and who know who else, but in the under lying layers of the film it does have greatness in it it just hasn't been able to tap into it fully but as time goes by this film will become a Mel Gibson classic and a cult classic for that matter. But is Payback a terrible movie? no way! Is movie making magic? Sorry to tell you no, nothing magical about this one but it is great fun to watch play out and follow along. All in all Payback is an almost can't miss action drama, it flows along nice and it delivers it's punches nicely, it doesn't waste your time and it is great, irresistible fun. Payback is a revenge plot you want to be apart of. Expand
  6. MikeM.
    Jun 24, 2003
    8
    Payback, a thriller with lots of Dennis Miller style of dry humor, stars Mel Gibson as Porter, a thief who just wants his share. This is not a "normal" Mel Gibson character and that's good. There are several supporting characters that have a lot potential; some of which, don't live up to it. Lucy Liu has a memorable but short performance as a sort of call girl with a pension for Payback, a thriller with lots of Dennis Miller style of dry humor, stars Mel Gibson as Porter, a thief who just wants his share. This is not a "normal" Mel Gibson character and that's good. There are several supporting characters that have a lot potential; some of which, don't live up to it. Lucy Liu has a memorable but short performance as a sort of call girl with a pension for pain. While I like this movie, some may find the cinematography a little irrating, it has a grungy or understated feel. It could put some people to sleep. The soundtrack lends itself and adds to the humor. This is defintely a great movie for those who get a kick of a low-key anti-hero who let's you root for the bad guy. Expand
  7. PaulTR
    Nov 14, 2004
    8
    I enjoyed Payback immensely. Its gritty sense of style played particularly well with its gripping story about a city swirling in corruption and a bank robbing anti-hero that knew how to play the system and win. Every character is a criminal of some kind, from buttoned-down crime lords and hookers to crooked cops and bloodsucking bottom feeders. I knew the Mel's character would I enjoyed Payback immensely. Its gritty sense of style played particularly well with its gripping story about a city swirling in corruption and a bank robbing anti-hero that knew how to play the system and win. Every character is a criminal of some kind, from buttoned-down crime lords and hookers to crooked cops and bloodsucking bottom feeders. I knew the Mel's character would triumph in the end with barely a blink but somehow that just didn't bother me. I just accepted that he was that good, so all I had to do was sit back watch him conduct a symphony of chaos. Expand
  8. May 25, 2015
    6
    After a clumsily uneventful first act, "Payback" manages to redeem itself with some nostalgically noir-ish tonality and a healthy dose of subverted expectation.
Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 5 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    The only moments of conviction come from an Asian-American dominatrix called Pearl (Lucy Liu), who brings far more glee to the task of beating people up than the picture's star or director. If the audience could have half as much fun as Pearl is having, Payback would be a kick.
  2. 60
    Helgeland strips the material back to its pulp origins and overlays it with a patina of glib motifs familiar to devotees of Hollywood’s 1970s renaissance.
  3. In the last third, Payback turns into a joke.