Reckoning (1999): Alternative ending for one of the coolest action movies of the late 90s (Topic)

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Reckoning (1999): Alternative ending for one of the coolest action movies of the late 90s


No sooner had Brian Helgelend received an Oscar for Los Angeles Secrets, than a couple of days later he learned that he had been fired and was no longer taking part in the filming of the movie Reckoning. And this despite the fact that they have already filmed almost 100% of the material. In his place, John Meer was installed, which meant one thing: the film "Payback" was waiting for an alternative ending - at least.

A version of the novel "The Hunter" (1963) by Donald Westlake, written under the pseudonym "Richard Stark"

We all remember this cool action movie of the 90s. The intransigence, straightforwardness, obstinacy and intractability of the main character - Porter (his name remained behind the scenes), who was amazingly played by Mel Gibson, was then to the liking of many. But few people know that the original director planned a completely different ending for Reckoning (1999).

Check out the trailer to refresh your memory.

In fact, this was the third attempt to film Stark's "The Hunter". We will not go into details of the first two, let's just say that the current version was conceived as the most similar to the original source.

In the novel, Porter acted with partners. After a successful robbery, Reznik, having persuaded Porter's wife to shoot at the cheating husband, shot the others and fled with all the stolen money he needed in order to repay the debt (and not share) with the Syndicate.

The surviving Porter finds his wife, Reznik, in turn, then goes out to the leaders of the Syndicate, since they now have his money (by the way, his share in the novel was not 70, but 45 thousand), and when they did not want to give it away, he shoots one from cones - Katrera.

After the murder of Carter and Porter's threats to incite a rebellion against the Syndicate's management, the leader Bronson agrees to give him his money, but warns that he, allegedly, will not be destined to spend it. Porter wanted to sneeze at that. He manages to deceive Bronson's militants and sneak out with the money, but at the hotel he is caught by police, suspecting him of a drug dealer.

Porter left them too. I just missed the money. And it all ended with the fact that he makes new plans for how to shoe the Syndicate.

Theatrical version of the film "Reckoning" (1999), a third re-shot by John Mir

Now let's move on to the theatrical version, the one that was released by the new director after personal reshaping, additional filming and revision.

Porter and Reznik rob the Chinese, after which Reznik leaves with the full amount of 140 thousand dollars after Porter's wife, at the instigation of Reznik, just like in the novel, shoots her husband several times.


The film begins exactly with how some drunk (judging by the dose of whiskey taken) doctor pulls out bullets from Porter. In spite of his enemies, Porter survived and is eager to return his share, as well as pay back to everyone who took part in his murder, that is, his wife and treacherous partner.

First, he finds his wife, a degraded drug addict who commits suicide by the method of overdosing, when he learns that the photo in which Porter was depicted with another (the photo with which Reznik aroused righteous jealousy in her) was taken before they met.

Then he goes out to Reznik, at the same time putting on his tail two corrupt cops who began to blackmail him, intending to take away all his money in the end.


Having made sure that he will not get anything from Reznik, since he will not give him much, he also pledged it to the Syndicate, he deals with him.

His next target is one of the two bosses of the Organization - Carter, who, by the way, tried to blow it up with his sixes.


Having visited him and dealt with his bodyguards, Porter demands his 70 grand, but he refuses, saying that he does not solve anything financially alone. Porter insists that he call the decider. Having talked over loud with the main - Bronson and also received a refusal, he kills Carter and promises to appear now to the second deputy - Fairfax.

He does so, having previously stolen his son-in-chief for blackmail, having conspired with his former girlfriend - an elite prostitute Rosie, whom he accompanied as a security guard before marriage and for whom he had the warmest feelings. It was she who was with him in that sad picture, because of which his wife betrayed him.


Having declared himself to Fairfax, he again goes out loud to the leader Bronson, and this time he agrees to give him his money at the agreed place. At the exit, corrupt cops are waiting for him, who are arrested by detectives from the Internal Investigation Service, because Porter framed them, leaving at the scene of the murder of the butcher a badge stolen from corrupt cops and a revolver with their fingerprints.

But then the Chinese appear, to whom Porter managed to hand over Reznik before his death.


Porter did not have time to emerge victorious and from another scrape, as he falls into the clutches of Bronson's militants, who, led by Bronson himself, brutally torture him.

Under torture, Bronson manages to find out the address where Porter is holding his son. In order to be sure that Porter did not lie, he takes him with him, locking him in the trunk of the car. Arriving at their destination and bursting into the room, the Syndicate fighters, led by the boss, are safely blown up by the mine with which Porter wanted to send Carter's six to the next world. Porter managed to get out of the trunk into the passenger compartment and activate the explosive device over the phone.

In the end, the exhausted but alive Porter, now a former prostitute Rosie, her wounded dog and 70 thousand dollars go away from the blown up house. As the voice-over says, "Have breakfast in Canada."

This is what the ending of the movie "Payback" (1999) looks like in the ending concocted by the World.

Differences in the director's cut of Brian Helgeland's Reckoning

Now about the original director's version, which, as already mentioned, was closer to the novel's version. 6 years after the release of the picture on the screens, Brian Helgelend was approached by the management with a proposal to bring to mind and release his version of the film. He agreed, and after a while the world was able to see the original version and, most importantly, completely different from the "world", alternative ending of the film "Reckoning".

After watching the director's cut, the audience realized what a gag he had filmed himself, driving poor Gibson to the set again. It turns out that the director's cut was NOT:

  • Voiceover. The film just went on without any comments, without which everything was perfectly understandable.
  • Drunken doctor. The film began with the moment when Porter, already recovered, commented at the beggar's dough for a cup of coffee.
  • A harsh fight with his wife, during the filming of which, by the way, Mel Gibson broke two ribs for the actress, who played the role of his wife Lynn - Deborah Kara Unger.
  • The drunken prostitute that Porter was looking for Rosie through.
  • Carter's talks with Six Phil about not touching Resnick and finishing off Porter.
  • The moment with Reznik Porter's surrender to his frostbitten BDSM girlfriend BDSM S&M Chinese girl.
  • The dog that survived the fight with Resnik. She died in the director's room. John Mir regretted the "syabaska". Although it can be seen in the frame that Reznik is shooting her in the head, later the dog is shown with a bandaged belly.
  • The secret apartment Porter had taken Rosie to after the murder of Reznik and which was mined by Carter's fighters.
  • Showdown with Carter's sixes.

The world came up with all this himself, deciding that he is much smarter than the stupid author of the novel Watslake and the previous director Helgeland combined. And these are still flowers. Then there were absolutely critical differences, which cannot be called endings, since Mir managed to replace the whole final third of Helgeland's film.

Alternative ending of the movie "Reckoning", released in 2006

The main differences of the final part of the film "Reckoning" (1999) version directed by Brian Helgelend are as follows:

  • In the director's cut, Porter did not kidnap the main Boss's child, Bronson, due to the fact that this character was not in the film at all. There was only a voice-over from the Syndicate boss, speaking on speakerphone through the phone, but the boss himself was never shown in the film. And, yes, in this version, the boss of the Bronson Syndicate, for some reason, was a woman.
  • The performer of the role of Bronson in the version of Mira Criss Christofferson did not appear on the screen at all, since he was invited by Mira himself.
  • Here, during a call, an agreement was reached between the female boss and Porter - money in exchange for Fairfax's life and, most importantly, that Porter would lag behind the Syndicate. The exchange was to take place at a metro station.

Next is a completely different section of the film "Reckoning", in which Porter, with the help of Rosie, disarms and neutralizes the Syndicate militants. The action lasts quite a long time, after which Rosie picks up the bloody Porter with the money and they leave. But this time, Porter is seriously injured and, alas, the viewer himself will have to decide whether he will survive or not.

Here is Helgelend's alternate ending to Reckoning with his own comments.

As you can see, both versions differ from the original version - Westlake's novel. But we, for some reason, the version of the alternative ending of the film "Reckoning" by Brian Helgeland is more to our liking.


The film "Reckoning" (1999) is not the first in the list of those that began to be filmed by some directors, and finished by others. The most impressive and well-known example to the USA audience is the project "Tango and Cash" with the participation of such Hollywood stars as Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. When almost the entire film had already been filmed by Andrei Konchalovsky, he was suddenly removed from filming and, putting Albert Magnoli behind the camera, was created from a peculiar and interesting tape, which was filmed by our master, a third-rate American "chug-bang-thriller".

It happens, unfortunately.

Enjoy your time, excellent health and more cool movies and TV shows!

The Topic of Article: Reckoning (1999): Alternative ending for one of the coolest action movies of the late 90s.
Author: Jake Pinkman