This is the story of a NYPD detective who spends years tracking down the killer of his wife and child. Mark Wahlberg plays NYPD Detective Max Payne. He works in the section that handles the unsolved cases. He has spent the past three years trying to figure out who murdered his wife and child. He tracks down a street thug, captures him, but gets no further information because the guy is crazy. He goes to an underworld connection Trevor (played by Andrew Friedman) who he uses to get leads. There is a party going on at his place. The guy has nothing for him, but at the party, he meets a beautiful woman named Natasha (played by Olga Kurylenko). Her sister Mona (played by Mila Kunis) confronts her. Max protects her. Mona leaves. Natasha disappears into another room. He follows her. He sees women kissing each other and they are taking a drug, which is a bright blue liquid in a vial. She invites herself home with him. When she offers him sex, she makes fun of the woman who she imagines he loved and lost. This makes him upset, so he refuses sex with her and throws her out. She sees giant black birds, which seem to chase her down in the alleyway, then kill her.
The police find her body torn to shreds and his cop buddy Alex (played Donal Logue) retrieves his wallet from the crime scene. Alex shows Max the body, which he recognizes from the strange tattoo of a bird wing on her arm. Alex tries to talk with him, but Max refuses. They argue over the death of Max's wife, which Alex did not help him solve and Max is still pursuing the case. Alex goes back over the old case file of Michelle Payne's murder and sees she has the same strange tattoo. Alex calls Max, leaves him a voicemail that says just to come see him. Max goes to see Alex. He is attacked in Alex's apartment. Alex has been killed. Max ends up in the hospital. He gets a visit from an old friend, BB Hensley (played by Beau Bridges) who used to work with him on the police force. Max goes to the wake for Alex. He sees Alex's wife. She slaps him. She blames him for the death of her husband.
Max is taken in by Internal Affairs officer Jim Bravura (played by Ludacris). He is questioned about his relationship with the dead woman Natasha. He does not give up much information, except that his wallet was stolen. The police think Max is guilty of getting Alex killed. Max walks into the station. He goes to Alex's office to find out what he was working on. The police in the office get angry. They pound on the door to break it down. Max gets a clue about Owen Green and sees the photo of the tattoo on his dead wife's arm. He jumps out the window just before they break the door.
Max runs out in the snow. He is captured by Mona. She beats him for information. He asks her to tell him about Owen Green. Max convinces her to work together to find him. Mona takes him to where Green lives. They find him. He is being attacked by the gigantic birds only he can see. He stands with his back to the window. We see the bird, which is part man, pull him out the window to fall to his death.
Max and Mona find a tattoo artist, who explains to them the tattoo, is a Valkyr, which is a Norse symbol for the soldier's angel. The tattoos are for protection. Meanwhile the bad guy Lupino (played by Amaury Nolasco) brutally slays another man who is desperate for more of the drug. Max notices the tattoo bears a close resemblance to the logo of the pharmaceutical company called Aesir, where his wife used to work. Max's friend Hensley left the force to become the head of security for the pharmaceutical company, so Max asks him about it and if any of his wife's co-workers are still with the company. Hensley gives Max the name of one. After Max leaves, Hensley meets with internal affairs. He tells Bravura, Max was happily married with a wonderful baby, then intruders broke into the house, killed the wife and baby while Max was away. By the time Max got back, they were dead. He shot two of the criminals, but a third escaped. He convinces Bravura to find him before Max does something out of control.
Max goes to Aesir. He confronts Jason Colvin (played by Chris O'Donnell). He beats him to get information. Colvin tells him his wife was working on a military project. The test subjects were supposed to be made invincible, but the drug only worked on a few. The rest it drove crazy. It was very addicting. They would kill to get more. Colvin tells him everything and he will confess if Max protects him. Colvin is shot first before they can escape. Max escapes with the information about the secret project. He watches a video about the project with Mona. He sees Lupino on the video as one of the test subjects. Mona tells Max where he is.
Max comes in the building to hunt Lupino, killing everyone he encounters along the way. He fights hand-to-hand with Lupino. Lupino has a machete. Hensley arrives just in time. Hensley shoots Lupino killing him. Then he takes Max as a prisoner. They go to the wharf so they can throw Max's dead body into the water. Hensley tells him, he was the third man. Hensley was the one who killed Max's wife because she found out about the project. Then he killed the baby. Max escapes by jumping into the icy river. Hensley thinks it is certain Max will drown to death and freeze. While drowning, Max has a vision of his wife and child. She tells him not to die. This gives him enough motivation to get out of the water. Max takes some of the drug to restore his strength. He has a hallucination of the Valkyr flying birdmen. He goes in a rage to kill Hensley.
Hensley gets word the FBI is coming to raid Aesir. When he tries to escape from the Aesir headquarters, he runs into Max in the parking lot. Hensley goes to the roof. Max kills everyone in the way. He has another very strong hallucination of the birdmen. Mona arrives on the scene. She helps him keep it together. Hensley's man wires the building with explosive. He is shot then left for dead by Mona. Before he dies, he blows up the whole floor. Max catches Hensley on the roof waiting for a helicopter to make his escape. He shoots him dead.
After the credits finish, Max walks into a bar to meet up with Mona. She does not say a word but hands him the newspaper to read. The headline says Aesir's stock price has soared. Max looks at her in such a way, it is obvious his revenge is not finished.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like it when Max can enter a room with many men shooting at him and he is the only one who is not shot.
Best scene in story:
One of the best scenes is when Max throws the prostitute out of his bed, after she insults the memory of his deceased wife, because she is very hot and she cannot believe he is able to resist her advances, which is very amusing.
Opinion about the main character:
Max is relentless in pursuit of the murderer of his wife. I like this because he will not stop no matter what anyone else thinks of what he is doing.