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POINT BLANK – The Review

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POINT BLANK  is a violent, adrenaline-charged  French chase thriller that, thanks to fast-paced direction by Fred Cavaye, sharp editing and a driving score by Klaus Badelt, never slows down for one of its 85 minutes. It a barrels along at such breakneck speed that you barely have time to catch your breath let alone focus on some of the ridiculous plot holes and leaps of credibility (the type of convoluted plot mechanics  that are, for some reason, more forgivable in European films and I suspect will seem even less plausible in the inevitable Hollywood remake). Gilles Lellouche plays Samuel, a conscientious nursing aide working in a Paris hospital treating a patient named Sartet (Roschdy Zem), plowed down by a motorcycle while being chased by two men in the opening sequence. One night a man tries to kill Sartet but Samuel manages to save his life. Soon after he gets home and brags to his hugely pregnant wife about his heroics, he’s knocked unconscious and she’s kidnapped. When he comes to, his cell phone rings and he’s told he has three hours to get Sartet, now under police surveillance, out of the hospital and into the hands of some criminals. Samuel quickly finds himself pitted against rival gangsters and untrustworthy police in a ruthless race to save the lives of his wife and unborn child.

POINT BLANK  is the kind of exciting race-against-time actioner that you more expect from Hollywood with several rousing chase sequences, bloody gunfights and nerve-racking stand-offs. Lellouche is fine in the lead in an every-man sort of way. He doesn’t actually have that much dialogue, but the fear, calculation, and resolve that pass across his face seem real. He never slows down while avoiding bullets, cars, trained killers, sinister thugs, crooked cops, subway trains, security cameras, and his stamina makes Jason Bourne look out of shape. Even better is Roschdy Zem, chilling as the scary but honorable villain who has more complex motives than meet the eye. Supporting performances consist mostly of getting killed, wounded or tortured but POINT BLANK is not a movie about acting. The short running time shows little fat and while no one could accuse POINT BLANK of having deep insight into human nature, that’s not why it was produced. There’s an odd moment or two when an element of someone’s behavior strikes an emotional chord, but basically these characters are developed just enough to keep us interested as the chase proceeds.

Despite all its pulsating, razor-edited exuberance, POINT BLANK is far from unique. It’s a speedy celebration of action but the plot, once you step back and look at it, is the usual grab bag of clichés about gangster attitude and police corruption. The story is totally predictable and the film unfolds largely as you would expect it to. It never taps our emotions in a way that transcends the action but it’s a fine kinetic onslaught made with conviction, intelligence, and heat.

3 1/2 of 5 Stars


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