Point Blank: A Buddy-Cop Film Without The Buddies And Less Cops

This movie had some serious potential. There were a lot of elements early on that dragged me in, mainly the two main characters. Unfortunately it didn’t do much with my attention once it had it. The 2019 Netflix original movie, directed by Joe Lynch, is supposedly a remake of the 1967 cult classic action thriller; personally I didn’t find many of the elements too similar. This new adaptation features a story about a professional criminal battling on dirty cops and gangster along with a nurse getting dragged into the mix in order to protect his wife. I didn’t think the plot made much sense or was very engaging. But the two main characters were still entertaining to watch.

Anthony Mackie (Paul) and Frank Grillo (Abe) come together for the first film since their shared screen time in the Marvel movie Captain America: Winter Soldier. Seeing these two actors in the trailer was the main reason I had any interest in the first place and they did not disappoint. From the moment they get introduced, the movie tells the audience the type of people they are and doesn’t waste time getting into the action. Frank Grillo is a murderous scum bag from a shitty life. He robs gangsters and shoots cops. However he isn’t a complete monster and throughout the film you discover he has a heart of gold… and only shoots dirty cops. He is also hilarious and delivers some perfectly timed one liners. Anthony Mackie has a very different role in this movie, as a loving (soon-to-be) father and care giver. He is a nurse, not a fighter, and in his first actual interaction, gets his ass beat. But throughout the film he is pushed; eventually finding out what type of man he is capable of becoming in order to protect his wife. I genuinely enjoyed every moment these two were on screen together; their chemistry works really well. Unfortunately that is about all I liked from the film.

The rest of the cast felt a little unnatural. I’m not saying Marcia Gay Harden (Lieutenant Lewis, a cop trying to take down Abe) or Christian Cooke (Mateo, Abe’s brother that was cracking under the pressure) did a bad job acting. They, and all the side actors, did a great job playing their parts. I just did not care for those parts. The plot didn’t really make sense. The movie starts off with Abe fleeing a murder scene and carrying something ominous. The cops are after him and his brother needs some help and gets Anthony Mackie involved. Sounds like an easy plot from there. But then they introduce dirty cops, secret bank accounts, covering up crimes, and mystery gangsters. By the end of the movie, it didn’t feel like any particular story element was given enough attention or exposition in order for the viewer to get a solid connection. Personally, the ending felt anti-climactic for me because I expected the entire story to have more gravity instead of several luke-warm threads. One specific section of the movie involved a main gangster called Big D, played by Markice Moore, that had an almost meta character style. His true passion was directing films and when he interacted in the story, he would have his crew film it as if it was for a movie. I would have much rather this character have more time on the screen in order to see more elements like that instead of being reduced to a single scene.

I know I said I only liked the two main actors, but there was a lot of elements I liked. The fighting was good. The soundtrack is great. And the movie had a lot of unique style. However, even though I really enjoyed those parts of the film, the longer I watched it, the less interested I became. The idea was there but the execution of that idea suffered. This is why Point Blank does not survive The Snappening. I hope these actors get to work on another film in the future, like I said the chemistry they share works well. I would even be willing to watch a sequel as long as it was created by someone else with a more concentrated vision. In some ways it made me hope the upcoming Disney+ Falcon/Winter Solider TV show uses some elements from this film. At the end of the day it makes me question Netflix’s ability to produce movies. If you can’t make an old school style cop thriller action movie starring two MCU veterans, than what are you doing wrong?

 

Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith

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