In MAJOR PAYNE, starring Damon Wayans, one highly trained Marine Corps killer is manipulated by his former commanding officer into joining the staff of Madison Academy. His mission: whip the academy’s ROTC misfits into shape in eight weeks and win the trophy for best student military unit in Virginia. Major Payne’s new charges include all manner of cliched characters (the nerd, the fat kid, the dedicated military type, the arrogant surfer guy, and a little kid) who are not interested in becoming a top unit. He also encounters Miss Walburn, whose looks interest him more than her ideas on relating to his students.
Smart enough to create a character that would best showcase his wise-cracking persona, Damon Wayans is also the movie’s writer and executive producer. MAJOR PAYNE’s fast-paced script, good supporting characters and solid acting save the movie from the predictable “misfits-make-good” plot. The general air of light comedy is undercut, though, by an overuse of bathroom invective. Also, Payne is portrayed as a strong figure primarily because of his prowess with his fists and quick tongue. Despite the vulgarities, the movie has a happy ending and some inventive humor. MAJOR PAYNE is ultimately a juvenile comedy for grown-up children only. Hard work, a desire to be the best and teamwork are extoled, but the message is wrapped in a wry, adult wrapper.
(Ro, B, LL, V, M) Heroic romantic worldview which emphasizes some moral principles; 8 obscenities & 16 vulgarities; gunfire, one fight & boy slapped; and, theft encouraged & blackmail attempted.