Leaving his Falcon wings behind (at least for the time being), Avengers co-star Anthony Mackie keeps expanding the Netflix corner of his resume with Point Blank, a so-so remake of the 2010 French thriller (À Bout Portant) of the same name. Directed by Joe Lynch (Mayhem), Point Blank actually starts out with all the promise of a vintage cop-action flick before petering out at its all-too-predictable end.
Mackie stars as Paul, a nurse who gets sucked into a world of murder, drug dealers, and corrupt cops by thug-for-hire Abe (Frank Grillo), a man wanted in the killing of the local assistant DA. The film opens with a nighttime gunshot and a chase that eventually lands Abe in the hospital, under Paul’s care. Abe’s partner-in-crime brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) then kidnaps Paul’s very pregnant wife Taryn (Teyonah Parris) as motivation for Paul to bust Abe out of the hospital. Add a pair of cops (Marcia Gay Harden and Boris McGiver) hot on their trail, along with a drug lord Abe and Mateo have wronged, and the movie has everything it needs to suck you in.
Filmed on location in Cincinnati, Point Blank moves through the Queen City’s streets at a breakneck pace with deftly choreographed car chases, fistfights, and footraces. Both Grillo and Mackie give fine performances with an above-average script adapted by Man Down’s Adam G, Simon, who actually writes in a bit of character development to help add a little depth to the proceedings. We’re not talking Baby Driver or Ronin here by any stretch, but there’s plenty in Point Blank to enjoy.
It’s only when we start getting near the conclusion that the film takes an ill-advised off-ramp. With the so-called twist already revealed (after being telegraphed almost from the word “go”), there’s little to keep the motor running, and when Abe and Paul then seek help from the same local drug lord who’s been hunting them, things get even more strange. What had been, to that point, a decent white-knuckler, relaxes inexplicably, and it can never really recover.
Granted, most people don’t often plop down with their Netflix account for a night of brilliant cinema, and as it stands, Point Blank is actually a fairly decent way to kill a random Tuesday evening. Due mostly to Grillo and Mackie’s solid work, the film accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, though nothing more.