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Revision as of 17:57, February 14, 2014

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Notice: Mike can either die in A Criminal Mastermind, or survive and die later during On A Crash Course. This article treats him as if he survived the first level.

"High noon, Sheriff. DRAW!"
―Mike the Cowboy


Mike, known better as "The Cowboy" (unknown - 2003), was a member of Vladimir Lem's Russian Mob. His exact rank in the Mob was unknown, but he possibly was Lem's bodyguard or lieutenant.

A Russian mobster with affection for stereotypical western films and themes, as well often mimicing them, Mike was rather cheerful and relaxed person like his boss, yet very expert firearms wielder, able to take down a small group of Mafia goon by only himself and his trusty Kalashnikov.

In 2003, Mike helped in the defence of Vlad's restaurant, Vodka, from Vincent Gognitti and the Punchinello crime family, being aided by the NYPD detective Max Payne. The two managed to kill the goons, save Vlad, and scare off Gognitti.

Later that year, Vlad betrayed Max, leading the detective to attack Vodka. Mike, who was in charge of the restaurant in Vlad's absence, ordered his fellow mobsters to eliminate Payne.

Payne made his way to Vlad's office, finding Mike and other mobsters guarding it. Max and Mike engaged in a gunfight, resulting in Mike's demise.


Background & Early life

"I'm Mike, one of Valdimir's friends."
―Mike introducing himself.

Mike's background is relatively unknown, though his accent and affiliation implied that he was of Russian heritage. At some point prior to 2003, Mike joined to the Russian Mob led by his 'friend', Vladimir Lem. [1]

He got his nickname, "the Cowboy," from his affection for stereotypical western films and symbols, such as "Billy the Kid". It is also known that he was a fan of "The Adventures of Captain BaseBallBat-Boy", commenting that it is a good and funny show.

Shootout at Vodka

"Hey! You're Max Payne! [...] Max, I'm Mike, one of Valdimir's friends. You are the sheriff? well, how about making me your deputy?"
―Mike introducing himself to Max Payne.

Mike and Max after killing a few mobsters.

In 2003, the Underboss of the Punchinello crime family, Vincent Gognitti, launched an attack on a restaurant owned by Vlad, Vodka. Gognitti's men killed many of Vlad's men, but Mike and Vlad himself survived. [2]

Mike first met Max Payne, after he solely killed a small group of Vinnie's men, introducing himself as Vlad's friend, and helped Max in the latter's fight to save Vlad. The two were able to kill a group of mobsters who attempted to steal stash from the club. Max and Mike took some of the ammo that lied inside the boxes. [3]

Mike helped Max find Vlad, who was outgunned against Gognitti and his men. Hearing Max, Gognitti sent his men to finish off him and Mike, who fend off the mobsters sent by Gognitti. [4]

As he escaped due to the police's arrival, Vinnie shot at Mike and Max, but missed. Mike and Max approached Vlad, who greeted them as his heroes. As Vald and Max went to talk, Mike was possibly either checking the damage done for the club, or talking to the police officers. [5]

Betrayal and death

"Everyone! Get ready. Get your gun. Get him!"
―Mike ordering his men to kill Max Payne.

After Max understood that Vlad had betrayed and lied to him all along, Max entered Vodka, wishing to confront Lem, and finding out that Mike was in charge of the club. [6]

Max stormed the club and killed the two guards who were protecting the entrance. Mike identified Max, informing his comrades that Payne was the intruder. As Max fought across the club to find Vlad's office, Mike taunted his former ally through the public address system, telling his men to kill the detective, and asking for the 'score'. [7]

Eventually, Max got into Vlad's office, guarded by Mike and another mobster. Mike and Max engaged in a short gun fight, in which Max killed Mike's partner, and soon Mike himself. [8]

Personality and traits

"How do you like it now?"
―Mike taunting Punchinellos goons, 2003.

Similar to his boss Vlad, Mike often had cheerful and relaxed persona; much of his fight at Vodka served as a comical relief, and his conversations were often humorous. Even during dangerous times such as gunfights, Mike taunted his enemies, such as the Punchinellos and later Max Payne.

His personal habits seemed to be his fondness of westren films and themes, often adding some westren puns in his quotes. Mike was also watching the The Adventures of Captain BaseBallBat-Boy, saying that it is a good show and "very funny baseball bat."

Despite his calm nature, Mike was very experienced with firearms, managing to solely kill four Punchinello goons with using only his Kalashnikov. This too was seen during his fight against Max, with Mike proving himself to be more threatening than Vlad's other men.


By 2003, Mike was a man of average size, around the height of Max and Vladimir. He had a short combed blonde hair, and dark-brown eyes. He also had a few light-colored bristles on his face.

Mike often wore a thick sleeveless light-yellow jacket on a brown long-sleeved sweater that has rhombus-like shapes on it. Along with the torso clothing, he wore an army-like pair of pants, and black boots.



Mike's Kalashnikov.

  • Kalashnikov - a Russian-made assault rifle. Very popular weapon among the Russian Mob. This is Mike's main and only weapon. He uses it against the goons that attacked Vodka, and later moments before his death against Max Payne.

Behind the scenes

  • Given his Russian heritage, one can assume that Mike's full name is Mikhail, the Russian counterpart of the English name Michael, whose shorten version is Mike. [9]


Mike "the Cowboy" was voiced by actor Gary Yudman in the 2003 video game Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Yudman also voiced other minor enemies in the game, such as the cleaners. Yudman is also known for his voice acting in other video games released by Rockstar Games, such as Mr. Wiggins in the 2006/2008 Bully, and Jimmy Silverman in the 2005 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Apart from Rockstar Games titles, Yudman also made some voice acting in the 2010 Order Up!.[10]


Mike is an ally NPC in the A Criminal Mastermind chapter of Max Payne 2. He is expendable in it and whether he dies or not determines the end cutscene of the chapter and the final enemy in the On A Crash Course chapter:

  • If Mike survives the first level, he appears together with Max Payne in the closing cutscene where Gognitti escapes from Vodka and Payne meets Vladimir Lem. Then, in the second level, he is the final mini-boss and speaks through the restaurant's speakers. Unlike his would-be replacement, he knows that it is in fact Max attacking Vlad's restuarant, and not Mona Sax. [11]
  • If Mike dies, he will no longer be seen in the game, and in the second chapter will be replaced by an unnamed Russian who mistakes Max for Mona and is slightly weaker than Mike.[12]

It is unknown which Mike's death is canonical.

Fight strategy

Mike is slightly tougher than an average enemy, but weaker than the other bosses such as Vlad and Kaufman. When Max encounters him for the boss fight, Mike's back is turned. As such it is relatively easy for Max to kill him. Two shots to the head with a high caliber weapon or a direct hit with a Molotov cocktail should be enough to incapacitate Mike.

Notable quotes

"That's right."
―To Max Payne
"They asked for it. Just follow the trail."
―To Max Payne on the Mafia.




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