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Point Blank
(1998)
 

Director: Matt Earl Beesley                        
Cast:
Mickey Rourke, Kevin Gage, Michael Wright


Who-can't-act-his-way-out-of-a-wet-brown-pa-per-bag? M-I-C, K-E-Y, R-O-U-R-K!

                                                                          - The Rourketeer's song

Oh yeah, and "E". That's "E" as in "Ewwwwwww! Mickey Rourke!" I've never understood why in the 80s, he managed to get the amount of fame he generated. However, looking at his off screen behavior plus his choice of past movies (including Wild Orchid, Desperate Hours, and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man) make it easy to understand why he's now mostly stuck in forgettable made-for-video movies. But, believe it or not, I liked his latest movie, Point Blank. Actually, that's not strong enough - I loved Point Blank! It mixes extreme violence and action with the same amount of hilariously bad and/or cheesy moments. Not since Death Wish 3 have I seen such an entertaining and over the top bubbleheaded action flick. Plus, it also puts in some attempts at pathos so out of place, it's even more jaw-dropping (when you're not laughing.) I truly believe that with word of mouth, this movie could become a genuine camp classic.

The Texas-lensed movie gets off to a promising start where prisoner Joe (Gage), along with other prisoners being transferred by bus to another prison, are freed by a gang with machine guns, resulting in several guards having their chests explode in bloody wounds. The breakout has been masterminded by a corporate head named Howard, who was recently convicted over some illegal money matter. He takes the freed prisoners to his corporate headquarters, which are located in a shopping mall. Yes, a shopping mall. Why a corporation would be located in such an environment is typical of the demented writing of the four screenwriters. What's even more howling is that this shopping mall is one of the smallest - and ugliest - shopping malls I've ever seen. Oh well. Howard and his thugs storm into the shopping mall, and more torsos explode into flesh and blood (though mostly with shotguns this time, so they aren't just copying the shooting from earlier). The thugs take the survivors into the food court and hold them hostage, while Howard makes diversionary demands to the cops outside so he can....um, I don't think it's ever explained what Howard really wants to do, or why he had to take hostages in the first place. I'm pretty sure that if Howard wanted to flee from imprisonment, someone in his position could easily buy his way out of the country, and not have to take prisoners and not have to hide out in his corporate headquarters' suite (which somehow manages to be even cheesier and uglier than the mall, by the way.)

What about Joe? Oh yeah. Well, he's the bad brother of Rudy (Rourke) - a former Texas Ranger and a former mercenary and a former military advisor to the Sierra Leone government, and supposed to be 37. Actually, Mickey was in his mid-40s when he made this movie, though he actually looks like he's in his mid-50s. Whatever his age, he still has his trademark greasy skin and uncombed hair, made worse by working in the hot sun on his pop's farm. Soon they get word from the cops that Joe is involved in the hostage crisis, which gets Rudy to drive out to the mall(*). Somehow, he sneaks by dozens of cops in the parking lot, and somehow manages to get on the roof of the shopping mall. Then Mickey Rourke goes Die Hard! You'd think then that the rest of the movie - hell, the entire movie! - would be fairly predictable. Ah, you're wrong! While the movie does more or less follow the pattern of "pickin'-em-off one-by-one", we are treated to a lot of stuff that is .....well.....original, over the top, and hilarious! This movie contains (and is not limited to):

- Mickey Rourke having about ten lines before entering the mall, being silent for about half an hour, then speaking only about twelve to fifteen lines in the rest of the movie.

- Awesome stereo sound (really). You can really hear those bullets fly and splat into people.

- The same bridge once used in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.

- The typical strong female hostage (who, of course, has a best friend who is black - ever noticed how young women in movies always have a black best friend?) who does not at the end become the love interest of the hero. Of course, this is explained by the fact the hero is played by Mickey Rourke.

- African chants on the soundtrack, despite Rudy's African past not having anything to do with this movie.

- Rapid editing and tilted camera angles to (unsuccessfully) give the impression that Mickey Rourke knows martial arts.

- Danny Trejo! All right! He's the tall Hispanic actor who was in Con Air. He always makes a good heavy, including this movie, where he plays a convict who likes to shoot hostages close up with his shotgun throughout a hostage taking.

- A woman forced to give a blow job to a gun's silencer.

- The image of Mickey Rourke doing multiple backflips down a hallway to avoid the blasts from Danny Trejo's shotgun.

- A tearful scene where the movie tries to get sympathy for one convict by him telling the story of he going home early to find his former commanding officer standing up "with his hard dick" over the convict's wife, with the convict adding how sorry he is for squeezing the guy's neck, stabbing him 14 times in the heart and then cutting the guy's throat.

- Danny Trejo sniffing coke, then doing his imitation of Al Pacino by dipping his face into a big pile of it.

- A flamboyantly gay villain who at one point minces around the hostages while saying precious comments and jokes.

- A female hostage asking Trejo for some of that "blow", which gets her high enough that she takes off everything but her panties, then doing a pole dance for Trejo.

- Rourke using perfume as a weapon.

- A victim of a grenade explosion, done with the guy flying through the air and an explosion sound - and no smoke, flame, or light being seen.

- Electric guitar instrumental ballads during hand-to-hand or gun fights.

- A guy getting shot in the mouth, which then emits a huge geyser of blood.

- A bad guy who decides to commit suicide-by-cop. This is done with him tearfully shuffling on the roof toward the edge facing the cops, while the soundtrack plays an instrumental of "Silent Night" (it's not Christmas, by the way)......then like Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 at Cyberdyne, grabs a 7.62 mini gun and blasts the hell out of everyone and everything in the parking lot while screaming.

Well, what are you waiting for?

 


* The license plate on his car reads FTW 187. "187", of course, is the criminal code for murder. And several years ago, Mickey Rourke made a movie called The Last Ride, which was filmed under the title F**k The World - check the initials. I wonder if this was supposed to be a joke or something intended by the producers or Rourke himself. By the way, The Last Ride, aside from some beautiful cinematography, is an awful movie. I rented it in South Korea while I was teaching there - and it had the original title F**k The World slapped proudly (in English) on the cover.

UPDATE: Morgan McNeely had this to say about it:

"'FTW' does mean 'F**k the World' but it's an OLD biker slang thing. As in motorcyclists...the attitude of the one percenters & outlaw bikers...hence 'FTW'....Rourke hardly invented that phrase & I doubt it is a reference to a movie he made but I believe Rourke is a biker, he rides in several movies...but FTW goes back to the 50's at least"

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See also: Fallen Knight, City On Fire, Act Of War

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