This is an adaptation of the novel 'The Hunter' by Donald E. Westlake. The same novel served for John Boorman's 'Point Blank' starring Lee Marvin. Both movies are good, but 'Point Blank' is better because there are no comedian elements in it. 'Payback' misses the uncomprimising determination. Mel Gibson in one of his best roles. Terrible clothing. 3,5 stars rounded up to 4.
Never seen the original "Point Blank" but I look forward to it as a hopefully superior predecessor. Not that this was all terrible or anything, but anything that's usually so grisly yet compacted with a clean getaway always leaves me with an empty feeling.
Here's one instance where the studio-sanctioned theatrical cut is arguably superior to the director's intended vision. Sure, the theatrical version might smooth over a lot of rough edges, but it gives the film some much needed wit and insight into Parker's character. You can guarantee that any movie starring James Coburn, William Devane, and Kris Kristofferson as tough guy gangsters is going to be damn entertaining.