Review: Point Blank (2019)

The Falcon and Crossbones decide to put aside their Avengers/Hydra differences and team up to stop a greater threat.

Do these two settle their problems through a shared love of surfing and president-themed bank robberies like the title is only two letters away from implying? Sadly, no. Point Blank invokes the spirit of an 80’s odd couple comedic action team-up. Like some supersoldier frozen in ice for decades and thawed in a new millennium, Point Blank feels like a movie out of time. It’s trying to be Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, and Tango & Cash rolled into one. This is the 2010’s, though, so rather than be sunny and boldly colorful like the 80’s or awash in orange and cyan like the 2000’s, everything is fashionably desaturated like a funeral… or the Point Break remake. Same thing, really. The movie is available on Netflix and is directed by Joe Lynch, whose previous directorial efforts have fun titles like Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, Chillerama, and Knights of Badassdom. I have it on good authority that Troy McClure starred in these.

Anthony Mackie portrays a hapless nurse. Frank Grillo is a wounded fugitive under Mackie’s medical care. The two are on a collision course to wackiness! Unsurprisingly, the two have an easy chemistry: The hardened criminal with the heart of gold and the innocent bystander who finds his courage at the right moments. Chemistry alone can’t carry a movie, though, especially when that pesky plot gets in the way.

Grillo’s brother has kidnapped Mackie’s pregnant wife and is holding her hostage until Mackie successfully delivers the fugitive to safety. At one point, Grillo’s brother holds a gun to the wife’s unconvincingly pregnant belly. (“Someone ought to ask her about the basketball she’s smuggling under her dress,” I said in an unfunny quip.) He apologizes after, which makes it OK. The Mackie family brooks no hard feelings with the Grillo boys. I mean, who hasn’t held a pregnant woman at gunpoint sometime in their lives, right?

Grillo never gives any reason for Mackie to believe that he might be innocent until roughly the third act of the movie, but Mackie (under duress, admittedly) seems to be quite cooperative. I just want one scene where Mackie confronts Grillo with his crimes and the “I WAS SET UP” retort. Sometimes cliches are there for a reason. This particular reason might help set up some character development in the movie’s second act, or at least provide some reason why Mackie isn’t trying to low-key sabotage Grillo’s escape attempts.

What does Mackie know about Grillo, though? Dogged police officer Marcia Gay Harden introduces the stakes: Grillo is wanted in the assassination of a politician. The movie features a couple fun car chase, but generally falls into every plot cliche you can think of. The gags feel familiar as well. Lynch’s comedic interludes were done better in other movies. The duo steals underpowered cars (which was better executed in The Other Guys) and fights off their pursuers in a car wash while a grandma is oblivious to the action (which was the Spider-Man/Lizard fight from The Amazing Spider-Man). It’s an inappropriate tonal whiplash from pregnant women in peril and police officers getting shot in the head. I rather enjoyed the car wash scene, by the way, because it was one of the few times the movie had some color. If you want to fill this movie with fun action sequences, Mr. Lynch, I suggest moving the saturation slider to the right.

However, I have to give special commendation to Markice Moore, who plays a local criminal lord only known as “Big D”. He’s given both the personality of a more tolerable Kevin Hart and one of the movie’s quirkiest character traits: he really wants to be a movie director. In my favorite scene in the movie, he welcomes Mackie and Grillo to his living room, where he has William Friedkin’s Sorceror playing on his big screen TV. He laments why everyone was so hung up on laser swords in 1977. There’s an uptick in enthusiasm when Moore’s around. The cast generally seems to be genial, but Moore seems to be having all the fun.

If there isn’t a sequel in the works called Point Blank 2: Big D’s Big Score, then I don’t even know you, Joe Lynch.

Rating: 3/5.