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

PM on KD: Sean Collier Guest Hosts for the Day

PM associate editor Sean Collier appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live as a guest host to fill in for Heather Abraham. He shared some details about our latest special edition: City Guide.

Book a Band for a Different Kind of Wedding Sound

For many couples, family and tradition means everything. Having a band that helps reflect those can be a great way to pay tribute to your heritage, while getting your guests on the dance floor.

Recommended Pittsburgh Eating: 4 Recent Dishes I Loved

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein says corned beef inside an import business, Sichuan smashed eggplants, smoked chicken wings and a cornbread dessert have his attention.

How to Celebrate the Moon Landing Anniversary in Pittsburgh

To celebrate Apollo 11’s golden anniversary, several local events are set to take place, from film screenings to new exhibits and more.

5 Pittsburgh Vintage Homes Stores You'll Want to Explore

PM Editoral Intern Ellie Pesetsky shares some of her favorite up-cycled furniture and home decor stores in and around Pittsburgh.

Eleven Couples to be Married after Love at First Bite

Wedding bells will be chiming for multiple couples this weekend … and it’s taking place at Primanti Bros. in the Strip District.

Pop Culture Pop Up Bars Are Here to Stay

Nintendo-themed Level Up is in Market Square for another week, but if you miss it, you can catch the Pokémon-themed bar coming this fall.

How Scary is the New Steel Curtain Coaster at Kennywood?

The ride claims records for the world’s tallest looping coaster and tallest inversion; it also has more inversions than any coaster in North America. We rode it this morning. Here's what we have to say.

The 400-Word Review: Point Blank

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

Pittsburgh Marks the First Stop of the New Whiskey Rebellion Trail

Think the story of American whiskey begins in Kentucky? Think again.

Pirates’ Possibilities Include Contention in Surprising Season’s Second Half

It hasn’t gone according to the original script, but the Pirates have found a way to stay relevant — and may yet be capable of finishing what they started.

The 400-Word Review: Stuber

There are laughs in the new buddy comedy, but they're dragged down by bad decisions.

Cornbread, A New Soul Food Restaurant, Opens in an Unexpected Location

Adenah Bayoh and Elzadie “Zadie” Smith bring their fast-casual concept to the West Mifflin Walmart.

The Park After Dark

Kennywood’s “Night Rider” tickets may be the best bet for many visitors.

The Best Tips for Finding a Wedding Photographer

There’s no need to stress about finding the best photographer thanks to these helpful tips from local professionals.