Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 36 Ratings

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  • Summary: A thief plots revenge when he is betrayed by his wife and best friend.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 5 out of 24
  1. Payback has a completely different spirit from "L.A. Confidential'' -- more wild, more silly -- but it has the same attention to the fine points of plot and character.
  2. 75
    While there's quite a bit more graphic bloodshed and brutality here than in any of the late screen icon's vehicles, Payback is a worthy '90s successor to his kind of movie.
  3. Payback is a thriller so mean and degraded it carries a low-down, vicious charge. Sadism is its only real subject, and its only real life as well.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeff Giles
    Payback may not always be P.C., but it's not interested in making friends, anyway. Just killing enemies.
  5. 40
    It careens from coarse comedy to smart-ass stylization to vicious violence without ever becoming convincing on any level.
  6. 40
    The comic timing and Gibson's mugging are skillful, but the movie fulfills expectations of plot twists and ironic atmosphere only after having made clear that it won't be offering much else.
  7. We're supposed to adore Gibson's sang-froid and his toughness, but everything, a few good lines aside, is so witless and monotonous it becomes numbing.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Jul 18, 2014
    Payback is a cool action thriller with a fantastic role from Mel Gibson. The movie is a revenge movie
    and it is executed with pure
    originality and ingenuity. Expand
  2. Sep 15, 2014
    Payback is a wild action movie with a revenge plot. Mel Gibson is perfect in this movie and it is total fun.
  3. Sep 15, 2014
    Payback is an adrenaline fuelled action thriller with one of the coolest roles from Mel Gibson.
  4. Jul 13, 2014
    Payback has a great screenplay, action and witty humour. Gibson really suits the role of Porter. The movie
    Is gritty and action packed. The
    movie is a fantastic crime thriller. Expand
  5. Sep 24, 2012
    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 one that's worthy of your time. Collapse
  6. R.L.
    Oct 3, 2009
    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
  7. RonaldoG.
    Mar 31, 2009
    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. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews