A synchronous (or should that be serendipitous?) diversion last night: Payback was on telly. For those who don't know, Payback is the 1999 movie version of the first Parker novel, The Hunter/Point Blank, previously filmed as Point Blank in 1967. Infamously Payback was re-cut by the studio after director Brian Helgeland's version was deemed too dark; the director's cut later came out on DVD in the States (but not in the UK) and is supposed to be the better version. I still haven't seen that version; the one on telly last night was the studio version. And actually, watching it again, it held up better than I remembered.
A number of things struck me:
1) I'd forgotten the desaturated look of the film, which I rather liked (apparently this effect is removed in the director's cut).
2) I thought Mel Gibson made a pretty good Parker (or Porter, as he's called in the movie). He's too short, and he's a bit too flippant in some of the scenes, but generally he looks right and acts mean.
3) Having now read The Hunter, which I hadn't the first time I saw Payback, I was surprised by how close large parts of the film are to the novel. Sure, the movie diverges in places, but a lot of the novel is in there, and even the dialogue is often lifted right from the page. It's not a brilliant adaptation, but it's not too bad, and as a film it has its moments.
4) Mel Gibson smokes really well. Unlike a lot of movies and TV, you can really see/feel him draw the smoke in. And you can hear it in his voice.
5) That's yer lot.