The Mel Gibson Dark Thriller That’s Been Erased From Streaming

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

mel gibson

If you want to watch Mel Gibson’s 1999 crime drama Payback, then you might be out of luck. The dark thriller seems to have completely vanished from the internet because it’s not available on any streaming services. If you still have a Blu-ray player, then you can purchase the movie on Blu-ray, though it might have a different ending than the theatrical film.

In Payback, Mel Gibson stars as Porter, a witty criminal who gets robbed and left for dead by his wife and partner after a successful heist. Seeking revenge, he tracks down his enemies to get back the $70,000 they took in exchange for his life. The film offers plenty of action, romance, funny one-liners, and lots of cigarettes.

The 1999 crime thriller Payback starring Mel Gibson can’t be found on streaming

In addition to starring Mel Gibson, there are many other big-name actors from the time who made an appearance in Payback, including Bill Duke, David Paymer, Kris Kristofferson, and Deborah Kara Unger. A young Lucy Liu also stars in this film as a dominatrix who gets caught up in Porter’s plan for vengeance.

mel gibson

Similar to his performance in Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson portrays a light-hearted and comedic character who keeps navigating his way out of extreme situations, like nearly being shot in the face by Lucy Liu.

It’s no wonder the film’s tagline is “Get ready to root for the bad guy.” While many people would love to root for Mel Gibson in Payback, it’s hard to do so when the movie is nowhere to be found.

Brian Helgeland, who is best known for directing 42 and A Knight’s Tale, made his directorial debut with this film after spending years as a screenwriter. While on the set of Conspiracy Theory, he was working on the script for Payback when he had a chat with Mel Gibson. The actor asked about the new script and was very intrigued by the plot.

mel gibson

Within several weeks the two began working together on the film’s production, with Brian Helgeland directing and Mel Gibson co-producing and starring in the lead role. While working on Payback, the two ended up having creative differences which led to Brian Helgeland being fired from the production. Mel Gibson has admitted that he played a part in having the director cut from the production.

Surprisingly, Brian Helgeland was let go just a few days after he won an Academy Award for writing the script for L.A. Confidential (1997). Paul Abascal then came on board as the new director to reshoot 30 per cent of the movie so that it would coincide with the newly written script from Terry Hayes.

Brian Helgeland’s version of Payback, entitled Straight Up: The Director’s Cut, was eventually released to the public on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD in 2007. It offers a completely different ending from the theatrical version, in which the fate of Mel Gibson’s character is left up in the air. Some people, including The A.V. Club, prefer Helgeland’s version of the filmover the original, but don’t tell Mel Gibson that.

Mel Gibson’s Payback earned $161,626,121 worldwide at the box office.

Payback was released to theaters in February 1999 and did very well, managing to gross a total of $161,626,121 worldwide. Currently, it has a 59 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.1 out of 10 rating on IMDb.

The film received mixed reviews, while some thought the plot was predictable others thought that there was a great balance of violence and humor that made it enjoyable to watch. The famous film critic Roger Ebert gave Payback three out of four stars. He was mostly impressed by Mel Gibson’s performance and felt that the movie would not be nearly as good with a different, more serious lead.

Within a few years of working on Payback, Mel Gibson went on to star in much more serious roles in films like The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, and Signs. More recently, he has made his return to dark comedies like Bandit and Fatman, where his acting shines brightest. There are rumors that he may return for Lethal Weapon 5, but fans will just have to wait and see if this is true.

So, if you want to watch Mel Gibson’s infamous Payback, then bust out your Blu-ray player and find a local vintage shop that might just have the film on Blu-ray or DVD.