Point Blank – review (Netflix)

     With the conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity saga with April’s epic Avengers Endgame release and all of the characters – and actors who play them – taking a break, except for Spider-Man: Far From Home having Tom Holland reprising his role as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Samuel L Jackson returning as Nick Fury. 

    The rest of the main players, with, once again, the exception of the omnipresent Jackson, have been doing other less celebrated projects. Without the juggernaut that is the MCU and because so many of the actors are now wedded to their famous super-powered personas, getting eyeballs on to their other films and projects is challenging. 

    Chris Hemsworth, brilliant as Thor in the MCU and a person whose personality transcends the screen in interviews and public appearances, has struggled to replicate or to even garner a percentage of the traction of his MCU appearances in any of the many films he has been involved in over the same period he has inhabited the role of the god of thunder. 

   Still, acting is the chosen profession of those lycra-clad guys and gals who have brought us so much joy in the MCU for the past decade and a bit, and as such, they probably chose the profession so as they could play various parts, inhabit different roles. No doubt, the success of the MCU has afforded many of them the luxury of being able to pick and choose their roles, perhaps even to experiment a little. 

   Two lesser lights of the MCU, Anthony Mackie, and Frank Grillo, who played Sam Wilson/Falcon and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones respectively in the MCU, come together for a Netflix film, Point Blank. Not to be mistaken for the Lee Marvin 1967 classic of the same name, Point Blank finds Mackie’s Paul, a nurse working in a local hospital, looking after a John Doe (Grillo) who has been admitted to the hospital after being hit by a car and shot. 

    Paul has a heavily pregnant wife, Taryn (Teyonah Parris), who he has left at home as he goes to work his late shift. As Paul goes to check on the John Doe, he gets attacked and the assailant takes his identification. When the police turn up, he finds out that the John Doe is the chief suspect in the murder of a member of the District Attorney’s office. 

   Lieutenant Regina Lewis (Marcia Gay Harden) wants to get the person who did it. The police know that whoever committed the crime took a bullet, but with the John Doe being unconscious they have to wait for him to come around. 

   Paul returns home and tells his wife he got attacked at work. He gets attacked and knocked unconscious. When he comes to, awoken by his mobile ringing, his wife has been taken. On the phone is the John Doe’s brother, Mateo (Christian Cooke). He tells Paul that If he wants to see his wife again he has to get his brother out of the hospital. 

    Paul breaks the brother out of the hospital, reviving him. The John Doe, who Paul finds out is named Abe, takes charge of their situation. He contacts his brother. Mateo is panicking having taken the heavily pregnant Taryn. Abe asks if he has the flash drive. He does. Mateo keeps receiving threatening texts from Big D (Markice Moore). The brothers owe Big D a lot of money. 

   Lewis finds out that Mateo has a flash drive that can end the careers of a lot of corrupt law enforcement. Abe trie to ditch Paul. Paul refuses to leave as he wants to get his wife back. They go to meet Mateo in a mall, but Abe realises it is a trap and they are forced to flee. 

    Mateo escapes with Taryn, Abe and Paul are still together. Paul gives Abe another shot of drugs to keep him going. They are attacked. Abe hands out a beat down on the guy and they steal a car. The woman they stole the car from reports it stolen and Lewis is in pursuit of them. They escape, helped by a homeless man who Paul had befriended. He gets them to Cheetah,  (Daniel R Hill), a pawnshop broker that Abe knows. A desperate Paul calls Lewis.

    Abe is trying to make a deal with Cheetah, Mateo is calling but Paul rejects the call. Outside, Lewis, along with Masterson (Boris McGiver), a colleague who was a former lover and helped to cover for her when the department was being investigated. there is another officer, Jones. They bust into Cheetah’s place, shooting.

    Lewis kills Cheetah and beats on Abe, asking him for the drive. He does not have it. Abe asks her if she is going to make his death look like a murder like she did with the DA. Masterson realises that Lewis is corrupt. She shoots Masterson. They hear over the police radio that more units are coming. Lewis tells Jones to clear up whilst she stalls the police. 

    Paul grabs a gun that was left on the floor during the confusion and kills Jones. The two men escape again. One of Lewis’ dirty cops, Farmer (Adam G Simon) finds Mateo and Taryn. He kills Mateo and takes Taryn. Paul and Abe go to the warehouse and Mateo dies in Abe’s arms. 

   Abe goes to see Big D and tells him he can get his money and a lot more but he needs some help. Big D agrees to help him. Lewis, who has Paul’s wife, tells him to bring her the drive. Big D finds out where the wife is being held and Abe formulates a plan. They cause a commotion and get into the police building. 

     Lewis, realising that it is a ruse, returns to the precinct but is caught by Abe. Farmer attacks Taryn and Paul tries to stop him. Whilst Farmer is beating on him, Paul stabs him in the neck with a syringe. Taryn goes into labour. Abe tells Lewis he not only has the drive but he also has a tape of her killing Masterson in Cheetah’s shop. 

    Abe leaves and gives the tape to a local news crew. Paul delivers his baby. Lewis is found by the police and, seeing no other way out, raise the gun to kill herself and is killed by the officers. A year later and Taryn and Paul are celebrating the baby’s first birthday. Paul gets a message from Abe wishing the baby a happy birthday. Abe is driving along a long road. The end. 

     Point Blank, written by Adam G Simon and directed by Joe Lynch, is a pretty silly film made entertaining by the strength of the performances. The central three of Mackie, Grillo, and Harden, commit to their characters enough to make the film’s flimsy premise work. Making the old flash drive, critical information ruse work in a time of cloud storage and rapid wifi transference is difficult one that they somehow pull off.  

    Lynch’s pacing of the film probably helps in this regard, moving through the eighty-minute runtime at such a pace, one barely has time to ponder the gaping plot holes. Truth be told, there is more a feeling of pace and urgency, rather than scenes of such. With Harden’s Lewis after the drive and Grillo’s Abe trying to keep himself and Paul alive, the pace is somewhat built-in. Though there are a few chase scenes and several fight scenes, they really do not take up much of the runtime. 

    Even with the lack of a cohesive story, Point Blank rumbles along nicely and is entertaining enough to waste eighty minutes on.  



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