Payback (1999)

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Released 6-Sep-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Interviews-Cast-4
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 97:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Brian Helgeland

Warner Home Video
Starring Mel Gibson
Gregg Henry
Maria Bello
David Paymer
Case Snapper
RPI $36.95 Music Chris Boardman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Tired of seeing Mel Gibson as a good guy? Well, in Payback, Mel plays Porter, a somewhat single-minded robber who has been dudded out of $70,000 by his partner Val (Gregg Henry) and his wife. Oh, and they shot him and left him for dead. Well, Porter is not dead, he wants his money, and he isn't letting anyone stand in his way.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. The other side of this disc carries a Pan & Scan version of the movie. As is typical with Warner Home Video dual ratio discs, the labelling is completely misleading in regards to the Pan & Scan side, though it is a little better than in the past.

    The transfer was very sharp and very clear at all times, but with some film grain apparent in some shots. This is a result of the bleach process used to create the print, and is a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers. Shadow detail was very good and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were deliberately presented very unusually. They were very faded, almost black & white, with predominantly strong blues present. Some scenes were predominately green. There were no scenes whatsoever in this movie where colours were presented in the slightest bit naturally. I personally found this quite irritating, even though this was a deliberate choice on the part of the moviemakers. Indeed, according to Mel Gibson, they wanted to make this film in black & white but commercial considerations precluded this.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. There was some minor aliasing, but this artefact was well-controlled. A few minor film artefacts were present in the transfer, but nothing significant.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is the one that I listened to.

    Dialogue was always clear and  easy to understand, and always natural-sounding, a high point of this soundtrack.

    There were no audio sync problems with this soundtrack.

    The score by Chris Boardman was highly stylized and suited the film noir setting of the movie.

    The surround channels were moderately used for special effects and music, but generally this was a front soundstage dialogue mix.

    The .1 channel was also used only moderately, to support special effects and music.


    This disc has only limited extras.

Menu - 16:9 & 4:3

Theatrical Trailer

    The theatrical trailer on the Pan & Scan side of this disc is 4:3, not 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced as it is on the widescreen side of this disc.

Cast Interviews

    There are 4 interviews, each running continuously, with fade-outs between silent questions. There is a little useful information presented, but nothing spectacular.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc has;     The Region 4 version of this disc has;     There is no compelling reason to prefer one version over the other.


    Payback is an unusual film, both in plot and in look. Overall, I liked it, though I found the visual appearance of the film to be more of a distraction from the story rather than an enhancement to the story.

    The video quality is good given the deliberate choice of this colour palette.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are limited and of little value.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Thursday, September 09, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

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