[[quoteright:291:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/payback.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:291:[-Get ready to root for the bad guy.-] ]]

->'''Fairfax:''' You just signed your own death warrant for a hundred and thirty thousand dollars. I don't get that. What is it? Uh, the principle or something, huh?\\
'''Porter:''' Stop it, I'm getting misty. And tell him it's seventy, will ya? (Turns and leaves)\\
'''Fairfax:''' ''Seventy''?! What do you mean it's only ''seventy''? Seventy thousand? Hell, my suits are worth more than ''that''!

'''''Payback''''' is a 1999 thriller starring Creator/MelGibson as Porter, a thief betrayed by his partner after a heist and determined to get revenge and more importantly, recover his $70,000 share of the takings.

Six months ago, Porter was a happy man. He was a successful but low profile ConsummateProfessional thief who specialized in payroll jobs. He was married. He also had a relationship with Rosie, a HighClassCallGirl on the side. Then he agreed to help out Val Resnick, a sadistic crook he'd worked with in the past, to steal some money from the Triads. The job goes perfectly, but it turns out that Val really needed all the money from the job, not half, and that Val had told Porter's wife about Rosie. The result is that when they meet up after the job, Porter's wife shoots him several times, Val takes the money, and they leave Porter for dead.

Instead of dying, Porter managed to crawl off to a BackAlleyDoctor and spent a few months recovering from his wounds. Now he's back, and it doesn't matter if he has to work his way through drug dealers, prostitutes, [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]], [[DirtyCop bent cops]], TheSyndicate, and a mob connected dominatrix who looks an awful lot like Creator/LucyLiu, ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg oh and]] [[ButtMonkey Stegman]] [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg too]]) he's going to get his money back.

And just when it can't get any better, Creator/KrisKristofferson and Creator/JamesCoburn show up.

The film is based on the same [[Literature/{{Parker}} source material]] as Creator/LeeMarvin's ''Film/PointBlank''.
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!!This film contains examples of:
* AntiVillain (Type I): Porter is no white knight, he's a murderer and a thief out to steal back something he stole in the first place. He kills, mutilates, and brutalizes without mercy as a method to expedite his robbery. He just looks less tarnished than his sadistic, back-stabbing, racist, woman beating ex-partner. The Director's Cut loses even this distinction, and Porter is just a straight up villain, albeit the focus of the story.
* AuthorAppeal: Gibson's changes to the original film include adding a scene in which his character is tortured. Torture scenes seem to be rather common in films that Gibson helms.
* BackAlleyDoctor: An alcoholic one who drinks from the same liquor he sterilizes his tools in.
* BadAss: Porter, probably even more than Parker considering that in the theatrical cut, he not only kills three of the main outfit leaders, ''he also actually gets his $70,000 back!''
* BatmanGambit: The climax of the film, in which Porter [[spoiler: fools Bronson and his men into going to the booby-trapped apartment]].
* BigBad: Bronson.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Big time.
* BloodFromTheMouth: Porter does this at the end of the Director's Cut. [[spoiler: It's left ambiguous as to whether he survives]].
* BulletproofHumanShield: Porter briefly uses [[spoiler: Stegman]] as this, although instead of just standing there and letting his shield soak up bullets, Porter is immediately moving out of the way.
* ButtMonkey: Stegman. Seriously, no one has any respect for the guy.
* CatchPhrase: Several people say that The Outfit will kill them if they give Porter any information. Porter's response is always the same: "What do you think I'm gonna do to you? Worry about me."
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler: The booby-trapped phone]].
* ChekhovsSkill: Also, Rosie asks whether Porter can stand up to [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique being tortured]]. [[spoiler: He can, in a way]].
* CombatPragmatist: Porter loves this trope. Ripping out piercings and hiding weapons are his specialties.
* CombatSadomasochist: Pearl smiles and licks the blood when she gets hit in the face, and begins visibly ''panting'' in excitement when a handgun is pointed at her. That's also a big part of her value to Val, since he likes beating on women.
* CompressedVice: If Mrs. Porter was an addict before shooting Porter, the brief scenes and flashbacks don't show it, making her a FunctionalAddict at worst. She's since gone all the way to barely being able to walk because of all the drugs in her system.
* {{Determinator}}: Porter.
* DirtyCop: Two of them, refusing to believe that the stakes of Porter's job are as low as he claims, try to horn in on the operation and claim a cut of the money. [[spoiler: Porter swipes the badge of one and gets the other to put his fingerprints on a gun, then planted both on the body of a man killed with that gun. They get taken away by InternalAffairs.]]
* DirtyCoward: Arthur Stegman.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The opening of the movie is Porter being a dick. Jumping turnstiles, robbing a begging "crippled Vietnam veteran", stealing wallets, skipping out on lunch checks, not tipping...
** However, it also establishes him as a pragmatic dick, as he eventually turns the $3 taken from a homeless man into a steak dinner, a fine suit, and a pistol.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Bronson and his spoiled son Johnny. Naturally, that gives Porter a way to ''really'' get under Bronson's skin.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Fairfax ''hates'' torture and begs Porter to be reasonable and skip the whole interrogation routine. Also, Porter says that he won't kill Stegman in front of a bunch of schoolkids.
* EvilVersusEvil: Hell, the film's tagline was "Get ready to root for the bad guy".
* FilmNoir: Both versions are this, however in different flavors. The theatrical cut has more violence, a tamer protagonist, a first person narration courtesy of Porter and has a metallic blue color filter that adds to the noir esque elements. The director's cut on the other hand has a more villainous Porter, a bleaker ending, and removes the blue filter which makes the story more like a Neo-Noir film.
* FlawExploitation: Porter uses this repeatedly against his opponents. When scouting the Triads he notes that they aren't wearing seat belts, and gets them into a bone jarring car crash. He ditches his gun before going in to meet Carter, so that Carter's security will relax and pay no attention to the [[ImprovisedWeapon roll of quarters]] in his pocket. He witnesses Bronson spoiling his kid Johnny and kidnaps Johnny to use that as leverage against Bronson. Etc.
* {{Frameup}}: Porter frames the [[CorruptCop Corrupt Cops]] for the murder of his double-crossing partner to get them off his back.
* GoingColdTurkey: When Porter finds his wife again, he plans to have her do this. Unfortunately she has more drugs hidden in the house and an overdose ensues.
* GunsAkimbo: Porter vs. the Triad minivan. [[RevolversAreJustBetter With revolver in one of his hands]].
* HighClassCallGirl: Rosie, especially since she works for TheSyndicate now.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Rosie. Pearl... not so much.
* HumbleGoal: Everyone is surprised that Porter is only after $70,000. Most assume that he would at least want Val Resnick's share too. Others, like the [[CorruptCop dirty cops]], say that no one would go through this for such a low amount of money. Humorously it's even ''less'' in the original novel the movie's based on, only being about $40,000.
* IHaveYourWife: Porter kidnaps Bronson's son.
* ImprovisedWeapon: Porter uses a roll of quarters to lend his argument some weight.
* IndyPloy: Between the Outfit, the Triads, the dirty cops, and Arthur, Porter's tapdancing on quicksand to keep out of trouble. In the end, he uses them all against each other.
* InsistentTerminology: Porter is frequently corrected that the Syndicate is now called the Outfit. Just as frequently, he has to correct them that he only wants $70,000.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: [[{{Squick}} With a hammer]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Porter is a ruthless all around cad, but in the theatrical version he does genuinely love Rosie and the closing narration makes clear that he's considering a new line of work. The director's cut is something of an aversion, and has some extra KickTheDog moments not in the theatrical, including [[spoiler: Porter beating the hell out of his wife]].
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Pearl]].
* KickTheDog: Val literally shoots Rosie's dog, smacks her around, talks about raping and beating her. If that's not enough for him to cross the MoralEventHorizon, we also can assume from some dialog that he has beaten Rosie and maybe other Syndicate call girls in the past, he keeps Mrs. Porter supplied with and hooked on drugs, and is casually racist.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: Val repeatedly beats on a semi-conscious Triad member when he and Porter steal their cash.
* MafiaPrincess: Bronson's son is a rare male example.
* TheMobBossIsScarier: Notably averted. Whenever someone says that they can't give Porter information because the Outfit will kill them, Porter always has the same response "What do you think ''I'm'' going to do to you? Worry about me."
* NeverTrustATrailer: Not only did [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN69_DFySJA the trailer]] contain scenes that were cut in the theatrical version, but it also tried to inject a comedic tone and paint Porter as a ClassicalAntiHero[=/=]NoRespectGuy. Yeah... no. Even the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpV9eIXbVlU more accurate trailer]] tried to depict the movie as a comedy with a slightly darker sense of humor than normal instead of as a film noir type of movie.
* OnlyOneName: {{Lampshaded}} when Carter asks Resnick for Porter's first name and Resnick has to think for a second before admitting he has no idea.
* PercussivePickpocket: Porter does this at the beginning, among other unscrupulous things.
* PhonyVeteran: The beggar Porter steals from lied about being crippled, so he may well have been lying about being a vet too. Since Porter has a [[SemperFi USMC tattoo]], he probably doesn't take too kindly to the whole arrangement.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Val throws out some casual anti-Chinese comments just to add more flavor to his character. "You know what the problem is with kicking a [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Chow's ass]]? An hour later you want to do it again!"
* PunchClockVillain: Fairfax doesn't seem like a bad guy at all. He's just come back from vacation swimming with dolphins and comes across like a hippy. He speaks out against the torture at the end as well. Still, he's in the top management of the Syndicate.
* ReCut: The Directors Cut removes the narration, cuts certain scenes and completely changes the ending of the film.
* RunningGag: No one ever seems to get that Porter doesn't want the whole $140,000, just the 70k that was his share. He keeps reminding them.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: To a degree. Porter's not greedy, he just wants what he should have gotten in the first place.
* ASimplePlan: How complicated could it be for Porter to track down Val and force him to give the money back? A lot more complicated than you would think, apparently.
* TheStoic: Porter, of course. There are a couple of other cases too, most notably Carter, [[spoiler: who barely emotes even when Porter shoots him]].
* TheSyndicate: It's the Outfit baby, we don't say Syndicate anymore.
* TokenMotivationalNemesis: Porter shows pretty early on in the movie that he can get to Val whenever he wants to. [[spoiler:And he kills Val off somewhere about halfway through the film so that Porter can get on with the real business at hand: trying to get his money back from The Outfit.]]
* VaporTrail: Porter dispatches Carter's men this way.
* VillainProtagonist: The main character is definitely a bad guy. In fact there is no hero in the movie, only shades of villain. The Director's Cut makes this even clearer.
* WeNamedTheMonkeyJack: Rosie's dog is named Porter.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: So what does the future hold for Pearl? Is anyone going to find Bronson's son and do something about him being handcuffed to a radiator? Who cares? Porter got his money.
* XanatosSpeedChess: Porter mixes between planning things ahead and winging it when needed. And when a complication comes up, he finds new ways to deal with it. Best shown when [[spoiler: the Outfit's goons grab him after he reveals that he's kidnapped Bronson's son, negating Porter's plan. He comes up with a new one in the middle of being tortured and leads them into a trap.]]
* YouCantGoHomeAgain: Porter's first act on returning to the city is to find his ex-wife, tell her she's going to get off drugs when he sees how messed up she is, and lie beside her in their bed while he has flashbacks that include them during better days. When he wakes up, [[DistractedFromDeath he finds that she's died of an overdose while he was asleep]].
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