Major Payne (1995)

Cleave December 1, 2011

Benson Winifred Payne is a Major in the Marines and loves to serve his country killing anyone or anything that is a threat to it. He will also make sure that any pain that you might have is shifted away from where it is by first telling you that you might feel a bit of pressure. Pressure for sure as he totally dislocates your finger and you totally forget about any of the pain you were feeling in the rest of your body. Killing is his business and business has been good until now. He has been passed over for promotion and now must find a way to live a civilian life but is it ready for him. Just after 2 weeks he and society are so far apart that he winds up in jail after a job interview. That is where Gen. Decker finds him to tell him he found a way to keep him in the Corp.

Madison Preparatory School in Virginia has a R.O.T.C. program that is in need of a commandant and Payne has been chosen to fill that position so that the cadets can have a chance at winning the Virginia Military Games. He is going to do what ever he can to get them ready even make their lives a living hell if he has to. He is not worried if their feelings are hurt for he has train thousands to fight and kill and he is not about to change his ways. It takes the sweet words and batted eyes of Emily Walburn (Karyn Parsons), the school councilor, to get him to loosen up and change his ways. Even though he is still the hard ass he always was he is now a more sensitive hard ass that still doesn’t have much of a clue when trying to calm a child’s fears.

Major Payne (Damon Wayans) throughout the film is always talking about Charlie and how he wouldn’t have any regrets about killing everyone and then do horrible things to what is left. He uses Charlie to scar the kids, make his point and even in his fantasies to realize just how much he actually cares for the cadets and Emily. It is not till the end that he realizes just how much and throws his career away just to save his cadets from getting trounced. Even though this is a comedy it does have a heat and shows that even if you don’t have a clue you can help others to grow up and care for them at the same time.

This is one of Daymon Wayans more memorable films and he even helped to write the screenplay. When you give a comedian more control of his role you are almost assured a hit when they perform it. This is a film that is for the whole family and is enjoyable to watch again and again as you cheer for the kids and hope for the best as Emily’s and Benson’s romance buds. On a side note is there any time that Michael Ironside, who plays Lt. Col. Stone, the father of Cadet Alex Stone, ever plays a good guy or a man who is anything other then a bastard? Even when playing the good guy he gets cast as a hard case.

This film was also the film debute of Orlando Brown as Cadet Kevin ‘Tiger’ Dunne, the smallest and younges of the cadets. Tiger has been adopted by the school and Emily looks after him on a daily basis. That one young performance helps set the tone for the entire movie and the antagonist that Payne has to come to terms with in his own heart.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆ 

Available on DVD from Amazon
Available with Amazon Instant Video