Point Blank is what all Hollywood action films should be. It sports a running time of an hour and 24 minutes. It’s magnificently paced and it trims all the fat and cuts the bullshit. It’s full of thrilling action and gripping suspense. Director Fred Cavayé has successfully made a film that so many other filmmakers try to do and fail horribly. Sure, at the end of the day Point Blank will probably only be able to pass as an entertaining ride of thrills, but that’s all it needs to be.
Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse with a pregnant wife. The baby is due any day and he spends most of his shift at work thinking about it. A mysterious man is chased in the streets and eventually hit by a motorcycle, which lands him in Samuel’s care. The man’s name is Hugo (Roschdy Zem) and he appears to be an innocent bystander who has some bad luck, but as the story unfolds so does his character.
Hugo is wanted dead and when someone comes to finish him off Samuel saves his life. Several big men beat down Samuel and take his wife, promising to kill her if Samuel doesn’t get Hugo out of the hospital alive and before the cops take him. Samuel is almost instantly thrown into a scandal involving dirty cops, a wealthy family and people who are also innocently thrown into the mix. He must do what these men say and help Hugo before it’s too late.
Point Blank literally sets up the entire film in the first 15 minutes. From that point it’s all downhill from there as a game of kill or be killed is played. Samuel has no choice but to trust Hugo in order to save his wife and the film has no problems making that happen.
Samuel is just a nurse, but he’s not an idiot. If you give him a gun and the means to use it he will. Gilles Lellouche plays Samuel with fierce determination and motivation. He’ll do whatever it takes to get to his wife safely. Roschdy Zem‘s Hugo is probably the only character of the film that’s given much depth. Samuel’s purpose is laid out in a basic form, but Hugo’s sort of unfolds as the film does. He starts out as the bad guy that Samuel simply uses as a pawn, but then Samuel realizes Hugo’s intentions are just as innocent as his.
Director Fred Cavayé keeps Point Blank extremely tight. Other than Hugo’s character ark the rest of the film doesn’t waste anytime letting you get to know the characters. Samuel and Hugo are mostly good guys and the dirty cops and thugs are the bad guys. The rest doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the action and suspense. The films on foot chases are some of the most gripping chases I’ve seen since a Bourne film. The characters go through train stations, police stations and the streets of France in a matter of 15 minutes. The camera never has a problem capturing these intense moments and you’ll be glued to the screen until the closing seconds. The last time I felt this impressed with a sequence of chase scenes was Ronin.
Point Blank is a very minimalist approach to the action genre, but that’s precisely why it works so efficiently. It’ll entertain you until the very end without a problem, but those hoping for a more character driven film might find this one to be just another action film.
Point Blank comes to Blu-Ray with a strong 1080p transfer that retains the films proper look and feel. Grain is present in this transfer, which is due to its obvious gritty intentions. The film is full of dark colors that are viewed with detailed clarity. Occasionally you’ll notice a few soft spots, but they barely hold the film down.
Magnolia Home Entertainment has provided Point Blank with both French and English dubbed 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The original French track is without a doubt the way to go, but if you just can’t read subtitles the English will do. The film’s audio track does an exceptionally well job at picking up all of the surroundings. The environment is very much present in the film during its many chase scenes and things like people shouting or trains buzzing by can be heard with great detail.
For some reason the disc only comes with one real special feature, but it’s a lengthy documentary that comes with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Check out the list below.
- Behind the Scenes Documentary (HD): A 50 minute doc featuring tons of interviews and footage to keep you busy. Make sure to watch this after you’ve seen the film.
- Point Blank Trailer (HD)
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment (HD)
I wouldn’t be too surprised if the US tried remaking Point Blank at some point in the near future. The film has such a simple story that is stretched to the length of almost an hour and a half without any real signs of struggle. The pulse-pounding action and gripping tension is what carries the film. The film also handles the main character very well. At no point in time does he cross over from nurse to complete bad ass. He’s grounded throughout the entire story and he uses his wife as motivation to do things he would otherwise have difficulty doing. He never takes on 5 cops in a brutal hand-to-hand combat sequence; instead he uses his incredible stamina and determination to think his way out of every situation.
Point Blank is an action film that never loses its focus. Because of that it comes highly recommended. Unfortunately the Blu-Ray only comes with one real special feature that’s at least long enough to be worthy of putting on the disc. The video and audio transfers are strong, but the lack of extras really makes this a hesitant purchase. If you can find the disc for rent then check it out, but only real fans of the film will want to buy the disc.
Point Blank is what all Hollywood action films should be. It's magnificently paced and it trims all the fat and cuts the bullshit.