Saturday, July 13, 2019

In Netflix's POINT BLANK, Joe Lynch has smartly remade the crackerjack French thriller

Back in 2011 we were extremely impressed with a little French thriller called Point Blank, directed and co-written by Fred Cavayé. Now Netflix is releasing a very-close-to-the-original remake of this film, again titled POINT BLANK, and I am happy to say that it is almost in every way a comparable feat.

Considering the 1967 John Boorman film of the same title (but leaving out the not-so-hot Mickey Rourke bomb from 1998), it would seem that Point Blank movies are very much worth seeing.

The new film, with a screenplay adapted from M. Cavayé's original by Adam G. Simon, has been directed by one of my favorite action directors, Joe Lynch (pictured at right), a fellow about whom -- given his achievement with Everly and Mayhem -- it might be safe to say that nobody has given us a more gleeful array of over-the-top violence and anarchic bedlam.

Mr. Lynch tones down the gleeful here, if not the violence, as the story involves a very pregnant woman held hostage and even knocked around a bit more that might seem righteous or bearable.

The movie begins with a bang (several: yes, gunshots), as a figure crashes through a window and runs away pursued by others. Who's bad and who's good will not shake out for some time yet, and so much happens in the first few minutes without our quite knowing exactly what, why or even how, that we must simply take it all in and trust that an explanation is on offer.

It is, and it leads to a lot more violence, surprise and fun as a male nurse (Anthony Mackie, above, right) taking care of that initial run-away man (Frank Grillo, above left), who's now in hospital, is forced to get that man out of the hospital and away from the police before his own pregnant wife comes to harm.

To tell much more of the plot would create spoilers, so I'll just say that along the way we meet a hard-boiled policewoman (Marcia Gay Harden, above, left) and a bunch of cops, not all of them as devoted to "protect and serve" as you might prefer. The movie's most emotional performance, and the one that finally grounds it to some kind of reality is given by Christian Cooke (below), as the frightened, angry and helpful/helpless brother of the Grillo character, caught between rescuing his bro and doing the right thing.

The other crack performance comes from a character we meet only late in the movie, though we've been hearing about him -- Big D -- for most of the film. As played the very scary, funny and surprising Markice Moore (shown at bottom), Big D turns out to be a not unsophisticated movie lover sporting a jones for the work of William Friedkin. Seems to TrustMovies that Big D and his scenes are where the movie differs most from Cavayé's original. This, and the fact that the French version offered, even later in the game, a bit more welcome surprise about the identity of the good guys and the bad.

Otherwise both films are absolute delights of their hostage-thriller genre, offering plenty of action, fun, and sure, violence, betrayal and other assorted naughtiness. Lynch's pacing, as ever, proves on the mark, and he gets good performances from his professional and well-chosen cast.

Streaming as of yesterday, July 12, on Netflix, Point Blank is certainly a shoo-in for action fans smart enough to follow and stick with a plot that has more in-and-outs/ups-and-down than the spoon-fed pablum we're usually offered, or the at-least-one-hour-too-long super-hero movies audiences still seem willing to sit through and discuss as though these were remotely intelligent or worth our nearly-end-of-times time.

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