Hollow Point – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: A professor of ethics family is killed when they stray into the wrong part of town and witness a drug lord murder someone and get killed for witnessing it. After getting imprisoned for trying to exact revenge, the professor is recruited by his lawyer, who is also a secret vigilante, to join his crew of outside-the-law warriors.

Is it any good?: No. Nope. Nah. Not at all. This film is next level terrible. The script is woeful, the acting is terrible, the directing is terrible, the…you get my drift. Just bad.

Spoiler territory: A police detective, Amanda Ray (Juju Chan), her retired ex-partner, Damian Wakefield (Michael Paré) and a wealthy lawyer, Hank Carmac (Luke Goss), are a clandestine vigilante group working outside the law, meting out justice on those who slip through the legal cracks.

The three vigilantes, wearing balaclavas, storm a dreadlocked dealer and his crew as a deal is happening, busting in on the deal, guns blazing, shooting the dealer and all of his men. Ray, of oriental descent, hands out a bit of a choppy-socky beating to a few of the henchmen to show her fighting prowess, her massive fifty-five-kilo frame punching and kicking men twice her size and weight all around the rooftop.

Meanwhile, Hank is shouting expletives at the buyer, Redlock (Samuel Evan Horowitz), who has his hands up in surrender. Redlock, who has a gun pointed at him, is a drug dealer, not a rocket scientist, thus his lack of understanding of physics and overconfidence make him decide he can reach for a gun and shoot the man in a balaclava who is pointing a gun at him. He can’t. He dies.

It is daytime and Doctor Nolan Cooray (Dilan Jay), a professor of ethics in law, is teaching a class of eager students. After the class, he drives home and gets a call from his wife, Audra (Angie Simms). She is stuck in traffic with their daughter, Mindy (Sofiya Suarez) and tells him she is running late for dinner. Nolan tells her he will cook.

Audra decides to turn off of the main road, to get out of the jam as she ends the call with her husband. Nolan reaches home and begins cooking. Audra rolls up on some men having an altercation. She sees one of the men pull out a gun and kill someone. He then walks over to the car – she helpfully waits for him – and kills her and her daughter. A neighbour sees him kill the mother and daughter.

Nolan is getting worried. He calls the police but it has not been a long enough period for his family to be considered missing. The police knock on his door, detective Chuck Bryant (Roger Guenveur Smith) and detective Emily Plaza (Natalie Burn). They tell him that his family is dead.

Detective Bryant tells Nolan that his family was in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnesses of a turf war. Nolan, who obviously lives in a different world from the rest of us where killer drug dealers are reasonable, is shocked to hear that was the reason. Did he think his family was part of a drug deal gone wrong or undercover cops?

Anyhow, the man who killed them, Trigger (Jay Mohr) – easily the best thing in the film – who is identified by the neighbour witness in a police line-up. Trigger is not at all fazed by being in custody.

Harold Kelso (Kirk Fox), a sleazy businessman, has Catalina (Malea Rose) doing some paperwork for him. Kelso gives Catalina a glass of drugged wine. When she succumbs to the effects of the drug, he rapes her. The three vigilantes come to visit Kelso. Ray slaps him about a bit and shows him a whole slew of photos of women he has employed and assaulted. After a bit of physical persuasion, Kelso admits to raping the women. They report him to the police and leave.

The detectives find the witness, Wanda Esparza (Crystal Leah Chacon). She has been strangled. They inform Nolan. The next day, Nolan goes and buys a gun. He goes to a drug dealer, Jinx (Anthony Hull) and gets Trigger’s address. He goes to Trigger’s house and tries to kill him. He gets beat up but manages to get his gun on Trigger. The police come before he can shoot Trigger.

Nolan gets convicted of attempted murder and assault. In prison, another prisoner, Cam (Peter Lee Thomas), takes a dislike to him and threatens him on the first day. Nolan sits with an older prisoner who befriends him.

At their local bar, Soi Dog Tavern, Wakefield steps in to teach some yobs manners – cans of whoop-ass aplenty – when they chauvinistically abuse the waitress, Hanna (Amanda Crown). Hank is in the prison library chatting with one of his clients. Nolan is reading downstairs when Cam comes and propositions him. Nolan pushes him and gets a beat down before Hank intervenes and – unsurprisingly – open more cans of whoop-ass on Cam and his, suddenly eager to get their asses kicked, friends.

In the infirmary, Nolan is spoken to by the head guard, James (Bill Duke). He tells him he needs to stay out of trouble – which, of course, had not entered his mind – and learn to survive – another pearl of wisdom for the stupid. He also tells him he needs to learn to fight otherwise he will get ‘popped’, because it is a gladiatorial arena in prisons, with bodies of the fallen strewn everywhere.

James proceeds to tell Nolan – and us – about Hank, a man who lives by a ‘code’ and other such bollocks. Back in his cell, Nolan remembers his wife and daughter being killed. Even though he was not there. Hank tells Ray and Wakefield about Nolan and his case. He decides to help him. He sends him BOOKS on self-defence. Nolan does press-ups and shadow boxes. The older prisoner tells him he needs to get out of there – stating the bleedin’ obvious – and let go of his anger, as he gives him a prison tattoo.

Ten months pass, Nolan is eligible for parole and Hank is helping him. One of the guards is taking Nolan to another cell but it is a setup. He pushes him into a fight with Cam. He beats him easily, having learned all his moves from the books. Nolan gets thrown into solitary. The next day, despite his violent act, Hank vouches for his character and he is released.

Hank takes him home but not before offering him an open invitation to meet with him and his friends at the tavern. Nolan takes him up on his offer a few days later. The crew take Nolan on one of their night missions. They grab Jinx and want to know who his dealer is. After Hank threatens to kill him, Jinx gives up a name; Omari (Tony Tambi). Hank shoots him in the foot.

Nolan is shaken by the crew’s violent methods. Wakefield questions Hank’s judgement but Hank tells him that he is sure Nolan will come around. Nolan does some press-ups and comes around. Detective Bryant tells Nolan that Hank was looking into DNA samples from Wanda and thinks Trigger may have killed her. Nolan goes to see Hank.

He wants to know why he was looking for a DNA sample. Hank explains to him that he will use any methods to achieve their objective. So there is that. Nolan joins the crew as they go to see Omari. After shooting a couple of henchmen and tiny Ray kicking one in the head, Hank asks Omari for his stash.

Omari acts as if he does not know what he is talking about. Hank tells Nolan to smash his hand. Omari tries to brave his way through the pain. Nolan smashes his hand again and Omari gives up his drug stash and the money. Hank burns the drugs. Ray contacts detective Plaza to arrest Omari and his crew. He tells Nolan that they always burn the drugs and give the money to the city.

Hank tells Nolan why he does what he does it and how his wife got beat up and raped by Aryan followers on the orders of a man he had gotten convicted for life. She committed suicide some years after. Doesn’t really explain anything, though it is a horrible story. The detectives get good news. The DNA matches Trigger’s.

Nolan turns up at the precinct wanting to know if they have picked him up. Detective Bryant tells him they cannot find him. Ray sees him in the precinct and warns him not to come there again. She takes her concerns to Hank. Hank is sure Nolan is one of their kind. Hank and the crew go to see Nolan the next day. He persuades Nolan that he can find Trigger.

They go to find Trigger and use Jinx – never was a name so apt – to find him. Nolan, who is now totally on board with extreme violence, smashes Jinx’s legs with a wrench. Jinx quickly divulges a location. The crew roll to Trigger’s safe house. Elsewhere, detective Plaza has been tipped off to Trigger’s possible whereabouts and gets in a helicopter.

The crew storm Trigger’s house and start shooting. Trigger runs. Nolan and Wakefield catch up with him. Wakefield tells Nolan to shoot him but Nolan is reluctant. Elsewhere, Ray is, once again, showing her martial arts prowess, kicking seven shades out of a couple of henchmen.

Trigger runs again and Nolan pursues him. They fight and Nolan gives him a beating. When Nolan gets up, Trigger reaches for a gun. Nolan shoots him. Detective Plaza, who was in a helicopter remember and knew where they were, arrives after the event and witnesses it all as self-defence. The crew leave it to the authorities. The end.

Hollow Point is awful. It is not unwatchable and I have seen worse action films but it is still poor. Except for Jay Rohr and, for the most part, Dilan Jay, the acting is pretty wooden. Luke Goss, who has now been an actor longer than he was a pop star, shows no signs of becoming a credible actor. Maybe it is the projects he picks or maybe he just cannot act.

Written by Chad and Evan Law and Daniel Zirilli, who also directs, it is hard to believe that three people combined to write a story this weak. The central premise was strong enough without the subpar Underground Six vibe. Nobody learns to fight from books. It’s a nonsense.

The detective roles served little to no purpose in the film. They neither moved the story forward nor added to it. Multiple witnesses seeing Trigger kill people just helped to increase the body count. Jinx, who had been shot in the foot only days before, was available for a bit more torturing so shortly after sustaining a gunshot wound? As for the Omari strand of the story…why? Once again it added nothing. Nolan asks Hank about his reasons and Hank just happened to walk around with a crumpled photo of his dead wife in his jeans pocket – not in his wallet – his pocket!

The directing is not much better and the editing is just horrible. The film is only eighty-nine minutes long but is still too long. Not because it is a painful watch but because there are so many unnecessary scenes in the film. The opening scene serves no purpose, the bar scene serves no purpose, the detectives I’ve already mentioned, the extra witness and finding Trigger’s DNA on her did not serve any purpose because he gets killed anyway!

Bill Duke – who has been in far better films – as James, is utilised for a frankly terrible and unimaginative exposition scene that does little to improve or push the story forward. This film is a real mess. The budget is only one million dollars but it is still too much. Hollow Point, in case you are not sure how I feel about it, is a turd of a film. Avoid at all cost.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s