5) Payback (1999)
I could have easily made this a list of four Lethal Weapons and one Braveheart. But Mel’s resume is better than that. The best four are easy. The fifth one is kind of harder. I put Payback on the list because it kinda flew under the radar. It’s a fucking hard, unforgiving V-8 of a movie. A film noir. There are two cuts of this movie, the director’s cut with the significantly altered second hour and the theatrical cut. It’s hard to pick one, but I’m kinda leaning towards Mel’s version (the one most of us have seen). It’s not that the directors cut is inferior, it’s just different.
The tone is darker still. But the original seems to flow better in its execution, probably helped hugely by Mel’s narration. And it’s clever enough not to forget the occasional bit of humor. Otherwise the film would’ve bordered on being depressing. And Mel is a natural at all of these things. And how about that support cast? Bill Duke, Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn.