The Point Men

By Adam Lippe

pointmenNo matter how blind he gets and how hoarse his voice becomes, Christopher Lambert will always be worth watching. Whether it is because one of his eyes is placed significantly higher than the other (which certainly aids his crosseyedness) or the fact that he looks like a cyborg with a screwed on head, his charisma in his low-rent action genre pieces is nearly unparalleled.

The Point Men, which went direct-to-video in the US, is an “old spies globetrotting and getting in the way of new politics” movie, with the screenplay credited to a pseudonym (Ripley Highsmith, which is an awfully hoity toity reference for a movie like this, Jean-Claude Seagal would have been more honest), and directed by John Glen, who made 5 James Bond films in the 1980’s. Glen’s competence and willingness to break genre rules (the villains are accurate shooters, more so than the heroes) combined with some overtly silly ideas, such as a long lensed camera gun, helps us ignore the red herring political relevancy that seems a bit above a project like this. Dialogue like “The Arabs and Jews are both fucking insane and absolutely deserve each other,” is totally out of place, but the movie doesn’t head to its grave because of it. This is not just because of the lack of follow-up to these statements, but because the entire movie is ADR/looped, so the conversation sounds like it is being said somewhere off-screen (and so it doesn’t really register) even when we can see the actor’s lips moving. It isn’t often that a major flaw, something that reveals budget limitations, is actually an attribute.

Some of the other mistakes and mishaps become part of the charmingly cheap flavor, broken fingers which are healed seconds later, sloppy stuntman swapping, and Lambert’s amazing blond hair and mustache disguise (picture a young Col. Sanders). That the movie is not totally predictable and the chases and gunfights are moderately entertaining make this more than a passable time waster. The Point Men, with low expectations, is legitimately entertaining, and you might learn something. And I believe that lesson is, don’t throw up in a stranger’s house or else you might blow up. Monty Python would be proud.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.