Payback is a 1999 action film starring Mel Gibson and directed by Brian Helgeland. The film is a remake of the 1967 noir-classic Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin, which in turn was based on the book The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake (published as Richard Stark, one of his pseudonyms). Originally, the main character was called Parker, but was renamed to Porter in this movie, and Walker in Point Blank.
Payback starring Mel Gibson
Although he is credited as director, Helgeland's cut of the film isn't the final version released to audiences. Helgeland's version was deemed too dark for the mainstream public and he was quickly replaced by production designer John Myhre, who reshot 30% of the movie. The intent was to make Gibson's character funnier and more accessible, as in Lethal Weapon. After 10 days of reshoots, a new third act was tacked on, a voiceover track tried to explain things a la "Blade Runner," and Kris Kristofferson walked on as a new villain. Helgeland's Straight Up: The Director's Cut version was released on DVD on April 10, 2007.
Porter is a smart career criminal who is betrayed by his own wife, and his criminal partner, after they steal $140,000 from the Chinese mafia. They shoot Porter, and his partner takes the entirety of the heist money. The two leave Porter to die, but he survives without them knowing. After a long recovery he returns to get "payback," mainly revolving around the return of his share of the money stolen from the Chinese mafia.
During Porter's recovery, his partner Val has joined a powerful criminal organization called the Outfit, using $130,000 of the heist to pay off a debt to them. To get his share of the money back, Porter is forced to deal with the Outfit (who refuse to return the money that Val owes them), the Chinese mafia (who have been tipped off by Val that Porter was the one responsible for robbing them, ostensibly in the hope that they will kill Porter and inadvertently get him off the hook), and corrupt police officers (who demand a cut of whatever money Porter is attempting to take from the Outfit). He enlists the help of a call girl, Rosie, who is affiliated with the crime syndicate. Previous to the events depicted at the beginning of the film, Porter served as a driver for Rosie, during which time they developed a close, romantic friendship, which ultimately was the reason behind Porter's wife shooting him.
(This paragraph represents the final act written and shot after Helgeland's exit.) After unsuccessful attempts to win the return of Porter's $70,000 share of the original heist from lower level managers of the Outfit (and leaving a trail of dead criminals in his wake), he decides to kidnap the son of the head of the crime syndicate (who personally rejected Porter's demands to return the money) and hold him for ransom. While attempting to pick up the money, Porter himself is kidnapped and tortured into revealing the location where the syndicate boss's son is being held. He gives the wrong information to the now angry mafia head and his number two man however. Porter leads them to the apartment that was originally intended by the Outfit's men to eliminate Porter with the use of a telephone-activated bomb. The mafia head is the one who answers the call and is obliterated along with the rest of his crew. Porter manages to escape with the money. At the end of the film, Porter and Rosie flee the country with the money.
DVD director's cut
"You don't make pictures for the elite," star/producer Mel Gibson says today, explaining why in 1998 he, Paramount and Warner Bros. took the mean-streets, mean-spirited movie away from freshman director Brian Helgeland. Gibson, reportedly, was "caught in the middle" of the mess. In 2005, Paramount and Gibson gave Helgeland another shot at the film. The tapes from the original production turned up missing, so the director and his editor slowly recut the work using film. The result was the much darker "Payback: Straight Up -- the Director's Cut." "It's valid," Gibson says of the 2007 DVD version. "It's a good film. They're ... different films." 
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