Major Payne full movie review - Major Payne
Major Payne: Review
As with all movies, specific audiences are targeted to maximize a film's profit. Major Payne (Castle 1995), directed by Nick Castle, is no except to this ideology. Making over 29 million dollars since being released in March of 1995, the movie definitely had a specific target audience (imdb.com). This movie was for teens and tweens with stereotypical middle school boy humor. Major Payne is a comedy that portrays a hardened killing machine of a soldier who is transformed into a loving, friendly father/mentor figure.
After watching this film, people will either absolutely love it or hate it. The script is full of hilarious one liners and bodily function type humor; while incredibly funny to some people it may be considered childish and impractical to others. Major Payne employs the use of stereotypes from start to finish. It is used in character development, the storyline, and even the film's musical score. None of the stereotypes disappoint. They are funny, well timed, and make for a movie that is hard to forget. Ultimately, Major Payne could end up being one of the next great cult classics like Monty Python: The Holy Grail.
One of the wisest choices of the entire movie is the use of music throughout the film. At the start, Major Payne (the hardened soldier) is taking over a city and its drug lord single- handedly. The song "Bad to the Bone" is playing in the background typifying Payne's badass persona. Later in the movie, the song "RESPECT" is played to increase the comedic side of the story as well as increase the amount of sympathy for the boys in the JROTC and Ms. Walburn. Finally, at the end, while Major Payne is waiting for his train and completing his characters' transformation, the theme song for "The Donna Reed Show" plays in the background. Payne has gone from killer to father figure and the music has gone from hard rock to a sickenly sweet family friendly tune.
Another aspect of the film is the choice of actors. Damon Wayans plays his role perfectly as Major Payne. His personality and standup comedy routine-like performance is exactly what makes Payne so funny and likable. He deadpans his lines as the killing machine of a soldier and yet has a very distinctive and trademark laugh to help with his transition as mentor/father. As for the character of Ms. Emily Walburn, Karyn Parsons is an incredibly bubbly individual who is precisely what every student would want in a school nurse. She is extremely attractive and dressed in short skirts, tender, motherly, and nurturing to a fault with the boys. Additionally, Steven Martini stars as Cadet Alex Stone. While Major Payne is the main character and undergoes the biggest transformation of character, Alex Stone's supporting character is the one the audience will most easily identify with throughout the movie. Stone's persona is that of a kid with a troubled past, an over-bearing stepfather, he is not respectful of authority, as well as refuses to take anything seriously. Payne's and Stone's character transformations are affected by each other. As Payne begins to soften, Stone becomes more sure of himself. As Major Payne begins to show interest and concern for him, Stone begins to show desire, respect, and proves to be a very effective leader. In the end, we see him as the heart and soul of the squad and having confidence in his own abilities along with the other cadets.
The little used aspect of narration in the film provides context about situations in the movie. Throughout, Major Payne acts as the narrator to further show how tough of a marine he really is. One scene has him riding over to Madison Academy in a military hummer. Major Payne narrates by saying, "Finally after two whole weeks of living a civilian's puke existence, I was back in the corps, back in uniform, and back to the sweet smell of mustard gas." We are left with little to the imagination as to how tough Major Payne is supposed to be as the marine and drill sergeant.
The story line is a familiar one: tough guy comes in, a woman and some lovable kids melt away his toughness, then a happily ever after ending to finish it all off. But while this is a comedy feature film, the underlying story is one of hard work, perseverance, and family. So even though a ten year boy will laugh and laugh at all the gags and crude humor, any parent would be happy to take their kids to see these kinds of values portrayed on the big screen. I know as an eight year old I loved the humor and memorized tons of lines that made even my grandparents laugh as I repeated the quips that included curse words. Major Payne shows the boys working together and becoming a family with Payne's mentoring. Payne goes from soldier/killer to mentor with a girlfriend.
Ultimately, Major Payne works as a film because Damon Wayans portrays his character perfectly (Ebert). The movie is light hearted, funny, and memorable. It is also my family's favorite and has provided us with many fun evenings together. All in all, I would give Major Payne a 5 out of 5 star rating as a must-see movie because of the comedy and execution of the story line.
Work Cited: Major Payne. Dir. Nick Castle. Perf. Damon Wayans, Steven Martini, Karyn Parsons. Universal Pictures, 1995. DVD. "Major Payne." IMDb.com. n.p. n.d. Web. February 23, 2014. "Major Payne." Roger Ebert. Movie Reviews. March 24, 1995. Web. February 23, 2014.