This dull variation on THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE runs 90 minutes and feels twice that. It doesn't even deliver enough "erotic content" to justify the attention it might receive from its direct-to-video target audience.
Prison inmate Oscar Bonsetter (C. Thomas Howell) befriends Mac (R.G. Armstrong), an old con with a secret. On his deathbed, Mac reveals that a painting in his cell is really a map to his stolen fortune, the whereabouts of which thuggish guard Gully (Marshall Bell) has been trying to beat out of
Mac for years. Oscar vows to avenge Mac and kill Gully. Years later a paroled Oscar tracks Gully down. The former guard is now blind, and operating a seaside diner with sexy wife Rose (Joan Severance). Calling himself "Lee," Oscar gets a job at the diner and begins searching for the painting,
which Gully confiscated all those years ago. Rose's come-hither looks and tight outfits prove too much for Oscar to resist. They have sex and fall in love (in that order). Eventually, Oscar finds the painting, the loot, and asks Rose to run off with him, but she won't leave Gully as long as he's
blind--or alive. Oscar offers Gully the money to have a sight-restoring operation, but ends up killing him in self-defense. Then Rose slays a surprised Oscar, and takes off with the money.
PAYBACK's biggest problem is miscast leads. First Oscar is a hardened con, willing to kill for vengeance and wealth. Then he becomes Lee, a nebbish with compassion for the brute who tortured him and abuses the woman he loves. With the denouement, Rose is conceptually transformed into a femmefatale, but never displays the traits of one. Neither Howell nor Severance can muster the depth to bring off their roles. Instead of a tough guy, he looks like the drummer in a bad, grunge-rock band. She's lovely to look at, but no Jessica Lange, and certainly no Lana Turner. (Violence, sexualsituations, profanity, nudity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: This dull variation on THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE runs 90 minutes and feels twice that. It doesn't even deliver enough "erotic content" to justify the attention it might receive from its direct-to-video target audience. Prison inmate Oscar Bonsetter (… (more)