Monday, July 22, 2019

Review: "Point Blank" is an action thriller in search of a tone.

Point Blank Review

We have a nurse whose wife is three weeks away from becoming a dad. We have a criminal who is trying to release information on a corrupt cop ring. Over the course of a day, the two will collide in order to bring down the corrupt cops. This is "Point Blank," with Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo. So, if you've ever wondered what it would be like for The Falcon to team up with Crossbones, look no further. That's at least the simplified version of the story. "Point Blank" is an action thriller that tries really hard to be clever, and the more clever it tries to be, the more confusing the experience becomes. But hey, we got Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo to chew up macho-man scenery, the only question is "Is that enough?"

Mackie plays ER nurse Paul Booker, who has to oversee the career criminal Abe (Grillo) who was hit by a car after fleeing a shootout that got a politician killed. Abe's brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) kidnaps Paul's very pregnant wife in order to get Paul to break Abe out of police supervision at the hospital, so they can pay a debt to a gangster. That right there is a nice plot for an action thriller and would have been more than enough to get the movie going on the right foot. A nice time bomb set up for an action movie. "Point Blank" eventually gets bogged down into too much plot. When it starts throwing in corrupt cops, Abe and Mateo being kind of bad guys but not really, and watching a pregnant women unrealistically go through lots of grief without giving birth and you start to understand how "Point Blank" loses its way.

The thing I can't stand the most is clueless the movie is in terms of tone. Is "Point Blank" intended to be an action movie or an action comedy? We get see the mistreatment of a pregnant lady one minute, then a quasi-goofy scene with a popular pop song blasting in the background. We get a scene where a many is severely beaten, then go right to a scene where we have a post-Tarantino gangster talking about movies and video games. Its an odd movie simply to watch from start to finish. Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie look like their in one movie one minute, then a totally different movie the next.

There is no denying that Frank Grillo is one of the best action stars of his generation, and his performance alone certainly keeps the movie interesting. Sure, you could stack all of his performances up next to each other and he's pretty much made a career doing the exact same thing. But hell, he does that thing very well. Anthony Mackie is probably the only actor that does a decent job rolling with the tone that goes every which way in this movie. He knows when to play a scene straight and he knows when to have a little fun. He's definitely becoming one of the most interesting actors of his generation.

It's a good thing Mackie and Grillo came to play because "Point Blank" would have been an embarrassingly awkward experience to sit through.


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