Stars:  Mel Gibson, Maria Bello, David Paymer

Mel Gibson gets to flex his “Lethal Weapon” muscles again in “Payback”. Here he is a relatively small time crook named Porter who takes on his crooked ex partner, two crooked cops, a group of vicious Chinese mobsters and a whole big group of the real mob. All by himself, I might add. One minute he’s fighting like a Navy Seal, the next minute he gets his head smashed in because he happened to be looking the other way.

It’s good action but on the scale of believability, this one is about a zero and it seems to get more stupid the deeper you get into it. Gibson fans will love it, though, even if he is playing another version of his “Lethal Weapon” character, Riggs. So, how does he get the drop on all these guys? He’s crazy, of course. Or just slightly crazy. No one can believe he’s going through all this trouble to get a mere $70,000 back from the ex partner who stole it from him. Val (Gregg Henry), his partner, used the money to pay off his debt to the mob and get back in their graces. That’s how the mob got involved.

When no one is quick to give back the money, Porter even kidnaps the top mobster’s son to use as a hostage — all for the $70-thousand. I forgot to mention, that during all this, Porter also gets to save a high-priced hooker with whom he is in love. Hooray for love.

Lotta says good action yarn. Gibson, as usual, is fine – knows how to take many, many, many punches. Kris Kirstofferson and William Devane star as mobsters; Maria Bello is the sweet hooker; David Paymer plays another low-level crook out to stick it to Porter.