Point Blank Blu-ray review

Point Blank is billed as the French Taken. But as Glen discovers, it's a bit more than that...

When Samuel, a trainee nurse (Gilles Lelouche), saves the life of a patient (Roschdy Zem), who was subjected to an attempted assassination whilst in intensive care, his life is soon thrown into disarray. His heavily pregnant wife is kidnapped, and he is ordered to remove the patient from the hospital and bring him to his wife’s captors.

Matters are complicated further when the patient is identified as Hugo Sartet, a criminal wanted for the assassination of a high profile politician, meaning that the first hurdle is to remove Sartet from the hospital where he’s under armed guard from the police. Once that hurdle has been cleared, Samuel and Sartet are pursued by the formidable Commandant Werner (Gerard Lanvin). Samuel has to ensure the safe delivery of Sartet so that his wife isn’t killed, whilst trying to keep his name clear. Which is far from an easy task as the situation quickly gets out of control.

A large part of why the film works as well as it does is down to Gilles Lelouche’s performance as Samuel. The quality of the action scenes aside, a large part of the film’s success relies on Lelouche’s performance. He brings a believability to the everyman on the edge pushed to extremes, and makes Samuel a character that’s easy to relate to, whose actions are always understandable even as his situation spirals further out of control.

The pace is relentless, and some of the action scenes are quite breathtaking. Tthere were a number of moments throughout the film that really took me by surprise, even despite the rather typical set-up that isn’t a million miles away from a traditional Hollywood thriller. or indeed Cavaye’s previous film Anything for Her (which had the Hollywood treatment earlier this year with The Next Three Days). It wouldn’t be surprising if Point Blank was also subject to a remake at some point in the not too distant future, given the success of a number of films of this type in recent years.

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The only real complaints I have with the film are that aside from Lelouche and Zem’s characters, the rest of the film is inhabited with one-dimensional characters whose intentions will be clear from the outset, to even the casual viewer. I do appreciate that a reliance on archetypal characters is far from unusual with this type of fare, but some of the characters were a little too simplistic for my tastes.

Another minor issue I had with the film, was the fact that a movie that carries such a frenetic pace throughout, seems to peter out at the end. It seems to be screaming out for an end that has a similar impact to the opening. Instead there’s a rather unnecessary epilogue that’s a little too tidy and seems out of sorts with the rest of the film.

Minor issues aside though Point Blank is a lean, tightly paced action thriller with an incredible sense of momentum, where the stakes and tension levels are high. Sure, some of the characters are one-dimensional and some of the plot developments are a little contrived. But there’s rarely a dull moment throughout its short runtime.

The Disc

The video transfer is presented in 1080i so sadly not full HD. For the most part the film handles dark shades well enough so that you’re able to distinguish exactly what’s going on even in the highest tempo action scenes. There are times where grain makes an appearance and other visual flaws are quite noticeable.

Extras are thin on the ground, with the photo gallery and theatrical trailer being fairly standard fare that will only be of passing interest to most. What is well worth a look is the excellent making-of documentary, which clocks in at 50 minutes and shows that the shoot was as frenetic as the film itself, with cast and crew often being put in dangerous situations to add to the realistic nature of the film. Cavaye and all of the cast crew seem incredibly enthusiastic about the film and it’s great to see the techniques employed to get certain shots.

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It’s pointed out that French films have significantly lower budgets than English language features, so the challenge is to make something that rivals big budget action thrillers from America and they certainly achieved that here. This making-of is one of the best I’ve seen for quite some time and should be seen by all aspiring action film directors.

Whilst the Blu-Ray transfer offers little reason for the upgrade, Point Blank is still a film well worth seeing, whether you rent it or pick up the DVD or Blu-ray. One of the joys of reviewing films is coming across something that wasn’t on your radar and being blown away by it, and that was certainly the case here.

The Film: 

4 stars
The Disc: 
2 stars

You can buy Point Blank, here.



4 out of 5