Thursday, September 19, 2013

Point Blank (2011)

Point BlankPoint Blank is an example of how a movie is this genre should be written. Using a premise that has been used many times, that of an everyday individual thrown into a situation well out of the norm of his everyday life, having to respond to save something important to him. Crisply written, intelligent and exciting. The wholesale suspension of belief explained as artistic license required for most films in this genre is for the most part unnecessary in this movie. And that just adds to the ability to relate to and sympathize with the protagonist. Bravo!

Smart action thrillers are rare. Rarer still is a smart action thriller that features a complex yet comprehensible (and credible) plot, characters you care about, and vivid, crisp directing. "Point Blank" is one of these rarities. It utilizes many elements of classic action films--an innocent "good guy" who unwittingly becomes caught up in a dangerous plot, a woman in jeopardy, corrupt cops, and unexpected twists. The film avoids cliché, however, and it moves along at lightning speed (total running time is about 80 minutes). The French setting is an added bonus. Subtract a star if subtitles annoy you.

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"Point Blank" ("A Bout Portant")

(Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2011)


This French action-thriller comes solidly out of the average-guy-caught-in-the-middle-of-a-violent-world-of-crime genre that American stars like Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis have headlined for years. The plot isn't particularly original: a schnookish assistant nurse runs afoul of a criminal organization when he saves the life of a patient they had earlier tried to kill. His pregnant wife gets kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand that he do what they tell him to... Well, you know the drill. What's different here is the realistic tone of the violence, often crude and brutish, but stylish and cool when it makes sense, and always with a palpable believability that is often lacking in American shoot-em-ups. The casting is also great, lots of interesting, unusual faces and several strong performances, especially Gilles Lellouche as the hero, Roschdy Zem as his unwilling criminal ally, and Spanish actress Elena Anaya as a tough, tomboyish cop, adding another triumph to her long string of stunning performances in European film (see also: "Mesrine," "The Skin I Live In" and "Talk To Her") Not a terribly original script, but a very good, well-directed action film. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)

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This movie grabs hold of you from the first scene to the last not on the edge of your seat but on the razor thin part of that seat with the slightest breeze could put you on the floor. This isn't a roller coaster ride, this is a near miss train wreck from one near miss to another. Oh yeah one more thing; don't forget to breathe. You'll be holding it through the whole 85 minutes.

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I love a really good crime-thriller and this is about as good of one as I've ever seen.

Here's the scoop. Sam works at a hospital. He's inches away from becoming a certified nurse. His wife, whom he loves dearly, is pregnant but must take it easy to avoid complications. One night he's helping on a case where a man has been hit by a motorcycle. Next thing you know his wife is kidnapped and he has only hours to deliver the accident victim or she's history. Now he's teamed up with the accident victim, who might be a murderer, and way over his head in a complicated situation that might involve dirty cops. What to do?

This has a similar look and feel to the "Bourne" films. It runs at breakneck speeds with little time out. The music score is also reminiscent of "Bourne." The plot turns quickly, but the turns don't seem forced. They all seem natural to the situation. It builds up a fever pitch and, like a Hitchcock film, you wonder how our hero will ever make it out of the mess. Yup. There are some filthy cops, but one female detective, who smells something fishy, is on hand to help even things out. And when you think they can't turn the knot any tighter, they somehow manage to. This one comes down to the wire. There were some elements, and at least one stunt, that were lifted from other movies which is a shame being that everything else seems so fresh. Had those not reared their heads I might have given this the big five stars.

Be that as it may, this is a heck of a romp. It has it all and then some. If you're into this type of flick, this will serve up a seven course meal for you.

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