REVIEW: POINT BLANK (2019)

Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)

Starring

Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain)
Frank Grillo (The Purge: Election Year)
Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist)
Christian Cooke (Love, Rosie)
Teyonah Parris (Empire)
Boris McGiver (Taxi)

It’s hard not to like Point Blank, the new Netflix movie starring MCU foes Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo as a mismatched pair who take on a group of crooked cops led by Marcia Gay Harden. It’s the kind of guilty pleasure you watch on a Sunday afternoon with your brother or your roommate or whoever, and no one complains afterwards. Does it break any new ground? Well, no, but Mackie and Grillo share a certain chemistry that makes this an appealing action movie, especially at 80 minutes. And yes, that brief running time (sans credits) tells you all you really need to know. This is a modest time investment, and for action junkies and fans of buddy movies, its rewards are modest as well.Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)The film opens with a solid chase scene that ends with a painful surprise before we’re quickly introduced to Paul (Mackie), an ER nurse, and his pregnant wife, Taryn (Teyonah Parris). Within a span of 10 minutes, Paul is beaten up twice, and Taryn is kidnapped. If Paul wants her back, he’ll have to free an injured criminal named Abe (Grillo), who is under his care. This lovable tough guy is wanted for murder by the same corrupt cops he’s been trying to expose. In classic buddy movie fashion, the odd couple of Paul and Abe are forced to team up and fight for their lives, as well as those of their loved ones. What little plot there is besides that is doled out via quick flashbacks that hint at Abe’s backstory and why he’s in such trouble at the start of the film. I mean, if you’ve ever seen a movie before, you pretty much know what you’re getting here. So, how’s the action, you’re wondering?Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)While there are some cool fight scenes in Point Blank, including one set inside of a car wash, and an effective ‘escape the hospital’ sequence, the action wasn’t quite as inventive as what director Joe Lynch pulled off with Everly, his 2014 movie starring Salma Hayek that was largely set inside of a single apartment. Again, the script by Adam G. Simon allows for some fun shootouts and car chases, but nothing you’ll really remember a few weeks later. The other issue I had was that the tone of these action sequences varies from scene to scene. At times, it feels like Point Blank is struggling to choose whether to be a fun buddy film or a gritty action movie. Even its soundtrack is a bit schizophrenic like that, ranging from punk bands like Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys to rap legends like Grandmaster Flash and Eazy E, all the way to classic rock, courtesy of Whitesnake. That’s a fun group of artists, no doubt, but they don’t exactly seem to be of a piece, if you catch my drift.point-blank-frank-grillo-anthony-mackie-netflix-trailerPoint Blank is Mackie’s fourth Netflix project this year following IO, the Black Mirror episode Striking Vipers, and the upcoming second season of Altered Carbon. He’s a solid attraction for the streaming service, and I understand why he’d want to topline his own action movie after playing a supporting role in the MCU. But, to be honest, he’s kind of coasting here. I think Mackie is a brilliant actor, and the truth is, he’s just better than this material, which probably wouldn’t have been greenlit at other studios because it isn’t quite ‘big’ enough. When you get right down to it, this is a seven-person cast (I almost forgot the film buff gangster played by Markice Moore). It’s shot to feel bigger than it really is, which is a testament to Lynch’s ability to accomplish a lot with a little. Point Blank is based on a 2010 French film of the same name, and as Mackie knows all too well with Miss Bala, sometimes these English-language remakes are easier said than done.Point-Blank-Netflix-PreviewGrillo is great at playing a certain type, and fortunately, it’s the type of guy he plays in Point Blank. A take-no-shit kind of guy. He does exactly what is asked of him in this role, but the writing doesn’t exactly help make his character more memorable. Fans of Grillo’s other Netflix action movie Wheelman will love Point Blank, which represents a step up from that film. But I believe Grillo is a more soulful actor — see Warrior and The Grey as proof — and I do wish he was allowed to imbue some of these tough-guy characters with an softer side, though obviously, Abe’s bond with his brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) is what drives his character in this film. So while I’m pumped to see Grillo’s upcoming macho movies Boss Level and Black and Blue, I’m also looking forward to his coming-of-age drama Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, which was produced by Blumhouse in a departure from their horror brand.Point-Blank-2019-Netflix-Movie-Download-Full-Hindi-English-Dubbed-Dual-Audio-720p-HD-WEB-DL-x264-DD5.1-MSubs-1Speaking of Grillo’s brother, he’s played by Christian Cooke, an actor who has been working steadily for the past 20 years, but who has never really broken through as far as U.S. audiences are concerned. The closest he’s come was a lead role in the Starz series Magic City, but not many people actually watched that show. He’s actually pretty good as Grillo’s kid brother, and I liked his somewhat manic work here. Hopefully, it leads to more opportunities for the young English actor. Cooke spends the majority of his scenes working with up-and-coming actress Teyonah Parris from Mad Men and If Beale Street Could Talk, who plays Mackie’s pregnant wife. Again, there’s not a whole lot for her to do here besides act pregnant and give Mackie someone to fight for, but as such, she gets the job done.00698ddaAs for the bad guys, Oscar winner Harden is clearly slumming it here, but she seems to be enjoying every minute of it, hamming it up as the most crooked of all the cops. She’s working in ‘big’ mode here, like The Mist and the Fifty Shades franchise, and I suppose it suits her at this stage of her career. She’s aided by Boris McGiver, who happens to be one of my favorite character actors, having played Tom Hammerschmidt on Netflix’s own House of Cards. I’m a huge personal fan of both Mackie and Grillo, both of whom I’d watch in just about anything, but I won’t lie and say this movie is awesome, because it’s not. It’s a little generic, and at 80 minutes, thin on both story and character development. But, as I wrote above, it gets the job done if you’re an action junkie looking for a quick fix. Point Blank offers likable leads, an Oscar-winning villain, and no shortage of bad words, which may just be enough to liven up a sleepy streaming sessio

REVIEW: BEST OF THE BEST 2

 

CAST

Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Phillip Rhee (Hell Squad)
Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Sonny Londham (Predator)
Wayne Newton (Licence To Kill)
Simon Rhee (Safe)
Claire Stansfield (Xena)
Frank Salsedo (Power Rangers Zeo)
Kane Hodder (Monster)
David Boreanaz (Bones)

 

In an underground fight club, blackbelt Travis Brickley is killed after losing to the evil martial arts master Brakus. Travis’ death is witnessed by Walter Grady, the son of his best friend Alex Grady. Alex and his partner, Tommy Lee, vow to avenge their friend’s death by defeating Brakus and shutting down the fight club.bestofthebest2still Eric Roberts, and Chris Penn are back as our Tae Kwon Do trio, now running a martial arts school. Chris, however, is bored of the antics and heads off to a place called The Coliseum, where folks basically fight for cash. Chris reckons he can take on the owner, a man so muscly he looks like a rubber glove filled with walnuts. This is Brakus, who thinks guns aren’t manly enough. Chris doesn’t do too well in the fight and the last time we see him he’s being lowered into the ground in a box. Luckily he was stupid enough to take Eric’s kid along to the fight so now Tommy and Eric are all out to get Brakus. It gets better when Tommy smashes Brakus’ face against a mirror and now Brakus has a scar on his face and ends up pouting around the place in a dressing gown staring into a mirror and just getting madder and madder. So Tommy and Eric want to kill Brakus and Brakus wants to kill everyone related to Tommy and kill Tommy in the ring at the Coliseum.MSDBEOF FE005They all have a friendly punch up and then it’s montage time! This time round the film get it right, and just in time too before some of Brakus’ men arrive in a helicopter and seemingly kill everyone except Tommy (Billy himself goes down fighting in an impressive Massimo Vanni style shoot-out). There’s also a massive explosion for all those massive explosion fans out there. So now Brakus has Tommy to fight in the ring and Tommy thinks everyone’s dead, so all he’s got left is the motivation to kick Brakus in the face several thousand times. Didn’t feel like Brakus thought that one through too much. This film is a lot more fun that the last one and is non-stop action and cheese from start to finish. A total winner! Even Eric’s hair is more dynamic and manageable this time round. Buffy fans shud note David Boreanaz has a very small part in the film.

REVIEW: OVERDRIVE

Starring

Scott Eastwood (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Freddie Thorp (To Dream)
Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049)
Gaia Weiss (Vikings)
Clemens Schick (Renegades)

Scott Eastwood in Overdrive (2017)Half-brothers Andrew and Garret Foster operate as international car thieves, targeting high-end of the market vehicles. They steal a rare Bugatti in transit after it is purchased at auction in France, unaware that the car was bought by Marseille crime boss Jacomo Morier. Morier’s men capture them when they try to sell the car and take them to Morier’s house, where he shows them his garage full of cars. He then means to shoot them but, to escape their punishment, the brothers offer to help Morier complete his collection by stealing a rare Ferrari owned by ruthless tycoon and rival, Max Klemp. Morier agrees but sets the condition that the theft must be carried out within one week.The brothers hurriedly recruit a team in Marseille to carry out the job, including Andrew’s girlfriend Stephanie and her pickpocket friend Devin. Andrew tells Garret that this will be his last job. They also have to cope with Morier’s cousin Laurent keeping watch on their operation, as well as a pair of Interpol agents. Garret, who had recently been conned by a woman who pretended to fall in love with him, begins a relationship with Devin. For insurance, Morier’s men kidnap Stephanie in the Marseille marketplace. Andrew and Garret arrive in their flat and Devin tells them Stephanie has been taken. They head to Morier’s house to find Stephanie bound and gagged under a spinning car wheel, which Laurent threatens to lower onto her face. Andrew and Garret promise to finish the job in order to save Stephanie.When the day of the robbery comes, the brothers put their plan into effect. Stephanie, locked in a room in Morier’s house, attempts to seduce Laurent and fails, although she manages to steal his key to the door and escapes. She sets off the house alarms and leaves with a shotgun to meet Andrew, Garret and their team at the door. Morier realises that the events that led up to this point have been part of an elaborate diversion to allow them to steal his own car collection. Morier only understands what is happening as the gang are making their escape and he chases them to the docks. During the pursuit, Andrew proposes to Stephanie and she agrees to marry him. In a final confrontation, Morier is killed when his car is rammed into the water by a coach driven by Devin. Devin leaves, promising to call Garret. Andrew and Garret give all of Morier’s cars to Klemp, revealing that this had been the plan all along and that they had partnered with Klemp to get back at Morier. But as Devin leaves she has in her hand the code to the garage where Klemp keeps his Ferrari.Ana de Armas, Scott Eastwood, and Freddie Thorp in Overdrive (2017)Garret, Stephanie and Andrew are later seen together in Paris. Garrett thinks he has been stood up again when Devin shows up in Klemp’s Ferrari and gives the keys to Andrew. When Andrew then gives the car to Garret, Garret thinks this means Andrew is leaving the business. However, Stephanie mentions that there is a very rare car in Barcelona, one out of only nine in the world, and the three are tempted to steal it. Andrew decides to join them and the re-established team begins to make plans.Ana de Armas in Overdrive (2017)If you like action movies and you want to watch something light, relaxing and entertaining, my suggestion is to feel free to enjoy without listening to needlessly scandalized reviews.

REVIEW: BEST OF THE BEST

CAST

Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Phillip Rhee (Hell Squad)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Sally Kirkland (Bruce Almighty)
Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs)
Tom Everett (Air Force One)
James Lew (Frankenstein)
Simon Rhee (Safe)

Eric Roberts in Best of the Best (1989)The first “Best of the Best” never got a chance at the British box office. However, as a video release it did quite well from what I recall. Sadly this reputation was short-lived in Britain by its highly criticised sequel, which did make it to the big screen. The 90’s were a very cynical time and at the time of Best of Best’s release martial arts cinema was in its the kickboxer-craze.

In retrospect this was one of the worst times as far style in the genre goes, as kickboxing does not possess the asthetic quality of most styles. This was where Best of the Best stood out . It provided good characterisation, good actors such as Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, Sally Kirkland, Christopher Penn et al and good martial artists. The dominant style in the film is Taekwondo, performed by great Korean exponents of the style.

Eric Roberts, Chris Penn, John Dye, David Agresta, and Phillip Rhee in Best of the Best (1989)Phillip Rhee, who was involved in the production of the film, had a solid background in both Taekwondo and Hapkido (the latter you don’t see displayed until Best of the Best 2) and plays off superbly against Simon Rhee in the film’s climax.Before Marc Dacascos showed the western world that it was possible to have a great martial artist and serious actor in the same package, Best of the Best lead the way. The sequel, although inferior, is also worth checking for a change in direction of the “Bloodsport” style films.

REVIEW: VIOLET & DAISY

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Alexis Bledel (Sin City)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (28 Days)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Lynda Gravatt (Delivery Man)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) are a pair of gum-chewing young assassins who casually snuff out crime figures in New York City, distracted only by the fact that a concert by their favorite pop idol Barbie Sunday has suddenly been canceled.

Determined to raise cash to buy a pair of the newest Barbie Sunday dress, the duo takes on a new hit job offered to them by their handler Russ (Danny Trejo). The target is a mysterious unnamed loner (James Gandolfini) who stole a truck filled with money and cologne from their elusive boss, Chet. A sudden and unexpected empathy with their quite unusual mark leads the two girls into an unexpected journey of self-examination, catapulting the junior enforcers into a world beyond their deadly routine, all while encountering dangerous foes such as rival boss Donnie’s crew of hitmen or the legendary assassin simply known as Number 1 (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who’s said to have once killed three ninjas with a fingernail file.A fantastic little film that’s so charming and fun mainly due to Saoirse Ronan who is such an amazing actress, she can turn any story into such a great film, the story is fun and fresh.

REVIEW: BARELY LETHAL

CAST

Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game)
Sophie Turner (Game of thrones)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane)
Dove Cameron (Descendants)
Thomas Mann (Project X)
Rob Huebel (Life As We Know It)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Gabriel Basso (Super 8)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts)
Steve-O (Jackass)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Emma Holzer (Spring Breakers)
Demetrius Bridges (The Duff)

TUJHTJTYJTYJTYJYTJThe young female orphans in the government-run Prescott Academy are trained to become assassins. Their number one rule, taught by trainer Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson), is “no attachments”. Agent 83 has top skills, which have made her rivals with Agent 84. 83 has always been curious about the world outside the Academy, brushing up on teen culture through popular magazines and watching movies and TV shows like Mean Girls and Beverly Hills, 90210.  Hardman assigns the agents to capture arms dealer Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba). Undercover in Chechnya, 83 poses as one of those captured and brought before Knox. She manages to latch herself and Knox onto Hardman’s passing jet but Knox pulls a knife and cuts the rope and 83 drops (into a river) as Knox is apprehended. 83 ignores comms calls causing Hardman to declare her MIA.barely-lethal-2-xlarge83 starts life as a regular teenager, adopting the name Megan Walsh and going through an exchange program to live with the Larson family. Mrs. Larson is kind, son Parker instantly likes Megan, but daughter Liz is cold and distant. Megan picks a ridiculous outfit for her first day of school and is laughed at and mocked at her first assembly, leaving both Megan and Liz embarrassed. Megan soon makes friends with a geeky kid named Roger, who has an interest in her. Megan is attracted to Cash, hacking the school’s system to make him her biology lab partner, to the ire of two mean girls. As retaliation, the girls convince Megan that Cash loves girls with school spirit and convince her to try out as the school mascot, for which she is the only contender. When kids from a rival school follow tradition and try to kidnap mascot Megan from a game she fights them off, with a video of her actions going viral. It earns her some popularity, while annoying Liz.barely-lethalMegan is apprehended by a Prescott agent and brought to Hardman. He assumes she is working with their enemies and tells his minion, Pedro, to torture Megan. He injects her with a truth serum and realizes she is honest when she says she only wanted to enjoy a normal life outside the Academy. Hardman lets her go, but warns her that if she gets into trouble, they won’t be there to bail her out. Megan and Liz both attend a big party at the home of the school’s class clown, Gooch. Megan hangs out with Cash, while Liz gets drunk with Gooch, learning that his real name is Bernard. To Megan’s surprise, 84 is there, calling herself Heather. Megan thinks Hardman sent Heather to shadow her, but Heather has her own plans, going after Cash to annoy Megan. Megan eventually wins Cash’s attention and gets asked by him to the homecoming dance.MV5BNTE0NjA4YmItMzFmNy00Zjc0LTllMmQtZDA4NDkyMDJiYTYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzU5NjU1MDA@__V1_Megan is waiting for the school bus the next morning, and is surprised to see that Hardman is driving, only passing through to warn Megan that Knox has escaped from the Academy. Liz drives Megan to school, but they are pursued by a masked assassin. Megan steers them away from danger while telling Liz her secret. Megan crashes their car, crashing out the assassin as well. The assassin escapes, but Megan recognizes the smell of Ke$ha perfume, deducing that Heather was their attacker.Barely-Lethal-Trailer-TwoAt the homecoming dance, Megan realizes that Cash is a boring person and dumps him. She goes to apologize to Roger, but finds out that his date is Heather, who provokes a fight with Megan. Their fight rambles through the hallways and into the school’s kitchen. Heather reveals she joined Knox’s operation in order to get a chance to kill Megan. Liz sneaks up on Heather and stabs her in the leg with a skewer from a corndog. Megan then uses a frying pan and hits Heather in the head knocking her unconscious and she falls to the floor. The girls return home to find that Knox and some models have taken Parker and Mrs. Larson. Megan fights the goons but Liz gets captured as well. Knox reveals that she was Prescott Agent 1, but she left and turned against them. Hardman shows up with reinforcements and defeats Knox and her goons. Megan uses a Prescott helicopter to stop Roger, who is driving home with his father. She tells Roger her true feelings for him and they kiss. In a mid-credits scene, Heather is in a car with one of Knox’s former minions. She stares at a photo of Megan on a tablet and orders him to find out where she is going to college.v1Believe it or not, this movie is really fun. You gotta give it a chance to truly appreciate it. I went in not expecting anything and I honestly enjoyed it.

REVIEW: THE VETERAN

Starring

Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Tony Curran (Thor: The Dark World)
Adi Bielski (Turbulence)
Tom Brooke (The Young Victoria)
Selva Rasalingam (Skyfall)
Ashley Bashy Thomas (Brotherhood)

The Veteran (2011)Robert Miller, a veteran paratrooper, is returning from the war in Afghanistan to his home in a violent decaying South London Heygate Estate, overrun by gun-toting youth gangs. The gangs are led by a drug lord gangster Jones who is interested in Miller working for him, but his job offer is rejected.Through an ex-army mate, Miller finds work in undercover surveillance. He is soon recruited by a couple of shady government operatives for an undercover operation to keep tabs on a network of suspected terrorist cells. Embedded in the terrorist group is a Lebanese-born British citizen informant. Toby Kebbell in The Veteran (2011)Miller soon discovers that the security forces and the intelligence services are not quite what they seem. He uncovers a conspiracy the government is planning to set off a series of coordinated attacks to renew fear of terrorism to help them benefit from the GOD policy – Guns, Oil, and Drugs. Miller finds out that all his surveillance was simply to confirm the go ahead for the attacks. The government needs funding and the GOD policy had been instated for years. Miller finds out that this links with the local gang terrorising his neighbourhood being linked with the terrorist cells. Miller attacks and kills most of Jones’ men, but also accidentally shoots an innocent woman. Distraught by this, he ends up being shot dead by a young kid that Miller had previously been trying to get out of Jones’ gang.I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and recommend it if you are in the mood for something different, yet very entertaining, with a nice mix of genre that you would not usually come across.