Point Blank

Release: Friday, July 12, 2019 (Netflix)

→Netflix

Written by: Adam G. Simon

Directed by: Joe Lynch

Point Blank isn’t a very good crime drama, but in its pairing together of some famous superheroes (third-tier Avengers, but who’s counting) it surely hopes to distract you from that inconvenient fact of quality. I suppose that depends on how you define quality, for you could make the argument Point Blank is actually a great laundry movie — ideal for blasting through the tedium of folding socks, for example.

Borrowed from the 2010 French film of the same name, the plot is as follows: An ER nurse named Paul (Anthony Mackie) gets pulled into a life 24-hour-period of crime when his heavily pregnant wife Taryn (Teyonah Parris) is kidnapped by a career criminal named Mateo (Christian Cooke). Turns out, Mateo’s got a brother named Abe (Frank Grillo) and he’s the patient Paul’s currently caring for. They’re both in deep with even worse people. If he’s to see his family again, Paul must follow a series of orders that compels him to violate hospital policy, his own moral code and even the law itself in a race against the clock — one mostly dictated by how far apart his wife’s contractions are.

Abe is played by the gritty Frank Grillo, a compulsively watchable actor who puts his tough guy act to good use here, playing the part of an outwardly bad person with a complicated past. Mackie’s character is less complex but he remains empathetic even as he’s starting to do things a registered nurse would never do. Point Blank thematically screams don’t trust cops but it also straight-up makes a mockery of medical professionals. Hospital passes and IDs are swiped from under “capable” people’s noses, and the Hippocratic oath all of a sudden seems to encompass firing guns in public places. “Do no harm, my ass,” says this movie. Do harm when necessary (i.e. when your wifey-poo is about to go into labor in the presence of her kidnapper)!

Point Blank would be far less tolerable were it not for its leading men. The former Avengers foes strike up an enjoyable if unlikely rapport as two people from distinctly different walks of life. They tread familiar arcs, Paul learning to toughen up (and how to shoot a gun with some degree of accuracy) and Abe learning to trust someone outside of his own wayward family. There is some surprising poignancy in a development later on that makes Point Blank ultimately a statement about family and what we do to protect them.

And Joe Lynch’s remake automatically improves just by including the likes of Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden and House of Cards‘ Boris McGiver, who pop up as a pair of homicide detectives. Meanwhile The Walking Dead‘s Markice Moore truly hams it up as the quintessentially, paradoxically diminutive “Big D” who rolls with bodyguards twice the size of Arnie. I had fun with him, but his performance is microcosmic of the movie’s biggest issue: tonality. It’s inconsistent, considerably threatening one scene, goofy and jovial the next. Like the brothers Guavera, Point Blank just doesn’t quite know what it wants to be.

I mean, other than a nice distraction from that damn laundry. That I have just now realized I am yet to take out of the washer. Fantastic.

“Third tier? What’s that mean bro?”

Recommendation: The mileage you get out of this overly familiar, tonally bipolar buddy/cop actioner will depend on your nostalgia for The Avengers. From a genre standpoint there’s not much here to recommend, sadly, other than the really economical 86 minute running time. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 86 mins.

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited. 

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com

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14 thoughts on “Point Blank

  1. Pingback: Month in Review: July ’19 | Thomas J

    • I haven’t come across that one yet, no. Cool, I’ll scope it out and maybe not something down about it. I really do like Frank Grillo. He helps make this movie a bit better than it might have been.

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  2. Is there a way to, I dunno, have Netflix recommend you GOOD films?

    BTW i think I’ve said this to ya before but you gotta watch I Am Mother on Netflix!! Its kinda like Ex Machina, but better ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol! That first line is a zinger dude. Open a review up with that!

      Yes — I still need to watch I Am Mother. Heard some good things and some things of which that were not as bueno.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard so many people say ‘Mother’ is “just another movie about AI” and god it just makes me want to slap them cos they’ve totally missed the nuances within the overall point/plot. That, and the way it balances examining AI and human emotion… I’ve never seen a movie do that so well, or at all really. Maybe I need to watch more movies about AI? Tho adding the dystopian setting makes even more unique and when you figure out what -actually- happened, its like a light bulb going off and you realise how well its hidden, but you pay attention after figuring it out and it doesn’t seem that way at all, and you facepalm at how obvious it seems.

        But of course you will always have those who say ‘god i hate movies that hide shit like that’. I guess its a movie for real film nerds and not you’re average moviegoer/Netflix watcher.

        Heh and thanks for the compliment, I’ll store that line and open a review with it or something similar down the line 😛 But honestly, I did a trial, only cos I thought I might find films I otherwise wouldn’t have found. But hell I don’t need that, I already get a ton of recs from you and other bloggers – my 2019 list of ‘to-watch’ films is already bloated as hell! No subscription for this dirty Australian =P

        Sorry for my typical ramble of a reply

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  3. Have you noticed how Netflix seem to be hiring A-list (or at least fairly popular) actors to strictly B-list properties? I actually suspect that all this stuff is just actors getting producer credits (and additional money) by attaching themselves to scripts to get it greenlit by a)Netflix or b) Amazon because those streamers are so desperate for content and have money to chuck about. Seriously, houses and yachts and pension plans are being financed by this streaming explosion. I think Hollywood creatives are taking Netflix etc for ride, but they should be warned, every Oil Boom crashes.

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    • I am doing my best to embrace Netflix as a positive thing, but yeah I agree that so many of these movies seem artificially inflated by good actors doing middling work for what’s probably really good money. I also am distrusting of the “Netflix Original” label, as I have (well, my dad anyway has) come across a British crime series that Netflix claims to be “theirs,” and I just don’t think that’s true. Funny thing is, I pretty much exclusively use Netflix for my streaming needs. I rarely watch stuff on Hulu, and haven’t yet watched a single thing via Amazon or Vudu or anything else. Netflix isn’t really a monopoly and yet it still feels like it is.

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  4. I was curious about this one. There is something about Grillo I have always liked. Seeing him paired with Mackie is intriguing. Sounds like it doesn’t fully take advantage of them.

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    • I too have always liked Frank Grillo. He’s good here, but yeah the screenplay is totally basic. I think it’s a pretty harmless way to spend 90 minutes but there’s also better stuff sitting right alongside it on Netflix, so….

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