7.1/10
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407 user 154 critic

Payback (1999)

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0:42 | Clip
After a successful heist, Porter is left for dead. Once he recovers, he seeks vengeance and wants his share of the money.

Director:

Brian Helgeland

Writers:

Donald E. Westlake (novel) (as Richard Stark), Brian Helgeland (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,112 ( 899)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Porter is shot by his wife and best friend and is left to die. When he survives he plots revenge.

Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Porter
Gregg Henry ... Val Resnick
Maria Bello ... Rosie
David Paymer ... Arthur Stegman
Bill Duke ... Det. Hicks
Deborah Kara Unger ... Mrs. Lynn Porter
John Glover ... Phil
William Devane ... Carter
Lucy Liu ... Pearl (as Lucy Alexis Liu)
Jack Conley ... Det. Leary
Kris Kristofferson ... Bronson
Mark Alfa Mark Alfa ... Johnny's Friend #2
Kwame Amoaku ... Radioman
Justin Ashforth ... Michael, Bartender #1
Len Bajenski Len Bajenski ... Fairfax Bodyguard #1
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Storyline

Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss. Written by Kwah-LeBaire

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No More Mr. Nice Guy See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, and drug and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Porter See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,221,526, 7 February 1999

Gross USA:

$81,526,121

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$161,626,121
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 8 mins.) Unger actually cracked two ribs when she falls, Helgeland explained: "I only bring up because I think she's actually very proud of the fact that she left it all on the field." See more »

Goofs

When Porter and Val start driving down the alley towards the Chow's car they are initially in a 1970 Chevy Nova (round headlights, no front indicator lights, and no Chevy emblem on the grill) but just before crashing into the Chow's car it becomes a 1973 Chevy Nova (different grill, squared off lights, Chevy emblem on grill) when the two cars impact, the side shot is of the '70 Nova. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Porter: [voiceover] GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Director Brian Helgeland's cut was significantly changed by producer/star Mel Gibson before release and was 15 minutes shorter than the final version. Here are some of the differences to Gibson's highly publicized re-shoot version of the film that was released into the theaters.
  • No voiceover of Porter
  • The opening shot of Porter in the doctor's office is not in Helgeland's cut. The film begins with Porter on the bridge returning to the city. Brian's cut doesn't suggest the double-cross until we see the flashback.
  • A more harsh exchange when Porter visits Rosie (Maria Bello) for the first time.
  • Odds and ends with Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) throughout the film. Includes a curbside threat to the David Paymer character and a funny scene calling Pearl (Lucy Liu) on the phone.
  • A small exchange between Porter and the Asian gang.
  • When Val breaks in and beats up Rosie, Porter the dog gets shots in the head and remains dead. In Mel's cut, the dog lives.
  • The two versions of the film begin to change greatly when Porter confronts Fairfax (James Coburn). The dialog is different and the outcome of the scene is changed.
  • Bronson the Outfit boss is played by Sally Kellerman rather than Kris Kristoffersen. She's never seen in the film, instead interacting with Porter over speakerphones. When Porter begins to kill her associates, the boss almost immediately gives in to Porter's demands. In Mel's cut, the boss was a bigger character and provided a bigger climax. All the boss's son and torture scenes are not in Brian's cut of the movie.
  • The climax of the film takes place on a mass transit platform. Porter arranges to pick up his cut of the money, but the boss dispatches hit men to stop him. He gets the money, but is shot in the chest. Stumbling out of the station, he shoots a couple of men in a car. Porter begins to die. Rosie finds him and slaps him back to life. Porter suggests a doctor he knows can patch him up. The final shot is of the two driving out of town.
See more »

Connections

References Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Luck Be a Lady
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Michael Civisca
Courtesy of MJJ Music
by Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A vicarious experience
12 March 2007 | by lastliberalSee all my reviews

What can I say. This movie is the one to watch when you are angry with someone. Through Mel Gibson, you can experience your anger and frustration and get that vicarious revenge.

Gibson's character just wanted what was due; nothing more or less. He methodically went up the line to get it. He was clever and ruthless. In the end...well, I won't tell you that. I have to say that I got the best of all those who wronged me through Porter.

With the possible exception of Braveheart, this is Gibson's best. He makes Richard Stark's book come to life on the big screen in a way that it is a pleasure to watch again and again. And, hey, it has Maria Bello, and that gives it an additional star.

Besides, it's cheap therapy.


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