Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: Point Blank

Netflix's action thriller is forgettable, but serves well as a quick throwback.




Photo by Patti Perret / Netflix
 

I usually bring little preliminary research into a movie, in pursuit of some kind of (admittedly impossible) unbiased viewing. Among the few pieces of information I do frequently check in advance, however, is the running time.

If it’s under 90 minutes, I’m overjoyed.

It’s not that I don’t like long movies; there are plenty of epics I truly cherish. But the average running time has eased past the two-hour mark in recent years, often with diminishing returns; with most movies, additional cuts are never a bad idea.

“Point Blank,” a new thriller debuting on Netflix, is 84 minutes. The credits roll at 81. This is a beautiful thing.

The breakneck pace works especially well in this story. A nurse (Anthony Mackie) happens to be caring for an injured fugitive (Chris Grillo) at the moment when the bad guy’s brother (Christian Cooke) sneaks in to try and get him out. The brother kidnaps our hero’s very pregnant wife for leverage, and we’re off to the races.

There are crooked cops, redeemed criminals and various slices of “Grand Theft Auto” style underworld ahead, but all that hardly matters. “Point Blank,” written by Adam G. Simon and based on a 2010 French film, is pure action catnip: Set up the scenario, wait to see if our protagonists get through it okay.

Strong performances elevate the film considerably. Director Joe Lynch does yeoman’s work, but mostly handles the film in a presentational way; it’s on Mackie and Grillo to make it memorable, and they rise to the challenge. Strong supporting turns from Marcia Gay Harden and Boris McGiver help, too.

It doesn’t wrap up in a suitably bombastic way, and there are rough edges — particularly an often bewildering soundtrack. (An upbeat adult contemporary number that played throughout much of the climax had me pausing the film to check that a stray radio hadn’t turned on somewhere in my house.) Despite a few twists and turns in the second act, you’re not likely to remember much about the film; it’s designed to kill time after you run out of “Stranger Things” episodes, not provide repeat viewings.

Ultimately, though, “Point Blank” is a mostly enjoyable throwback. A few decades ago, this would’ve whisked in and out of theaters and then been shown for years on HBO at 11:30 p.m. (or on TNT in prime time). Now, it’s on Netflix. That feels about right.

My Rating: 6/10

"Point Blank" debuts on Netflix Friday, July 12.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: The Lion King

Despite a great voice cast, the new version of "The Lion King" was a bad idea from the start.

Why These 6 Days in 1969 Were So Important to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but we're not the only ones. We take a look at six notable events from 1969.

Women in Power: The Pros Changing Allegheny County

Allegheny County breaks the old boys’ club by placing women in key positions.

Growing Together: Farmers and Chefs Elevate Pittsburgh Dining

These seven farmer/chef pairings are leading the charge toward more vital vegetable dishes.

Afraid to Go to the Dentist? Consider the Sedation Solution

For some patients, dental work wouldn’t be possible if they were fully alert.

Restaurant Review: Spirits & Tales at the Oaklander Hotel

Executive chef Jessica Lewis’ strong voice is undermined by inconsistencies throughout the restaurant.

Perspectives: A Big Life

A former newspaper reporter's assignment leads to a lifelong friendship with a man who battled a food addiction.

George S. Kaufman’s Sensational Scandal

The Pittsburgh-born playwright made tabloid headlines in the 1930s. (it didn’t slow him down a bit.)

You Can Ride a Roller Coaster Classic

Roller coaster history is hidden nearby — and not where you might think.

Tea, Cake and Death: A Safe Place to Discuss a Scary Subject

“Death Cafes” seek to reduce taboos around the act of dying.

How He Makes the Mundane Sound Magical

Experimental sound artist R. Weis creates otherworldly sonic compositions from everyday materials.

Uber’s New Service Puts Riders in the Driver’s Seat

Passengers in Pittsburgh now can pay for a most customized experience with Uber Comfort.

The 400-Word Review: Secret Obsession

Netflix is on a bit of a hot streak with its original thrillers. Unfortunately, this dud isn't part of it.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Primanti Bros.

The beloved bar-and-restaurant chain has become a Pittsburgh emblem. It's the 10th inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Do You Want to Pay More Taxes to Improve Parks?

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hopes to restore the city’s parks to their former glory, but they may need a tax increase to do so.