31st Jul2019

Review Round-up: ‘Point Blank’ & ‘Eaten By Lions’

by Jak-Luke Sharp

POINT BLANK

Stars: Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Marcia Gay Harden, Stuart F. Wilson, Buster Reeves, Christian Cooke, Teyonah Parris, Boris McGiver, Reggie Willis, Shanessa Sweeney, Nik Pajic, Markice Moore | Written by Adam G. Simon | Directed by Joe Lynch

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Point Blank, directed by Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2, Knights of Badassdom, Mayhem), is a remake of Fred Cavayé’s À bout portant, which was originally released in 2010. The film stars two actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie as Abe and Paul, respectively. Paul has to break Abe out of custody in a hospital as his brother has taken Paul’s pregnant wife hostage. What commences is an unorthodox buddy-action comedy, in what is sadly yet another dull and tedious action-adventure.

It is hard to watch Point Blank and not debate why this was made, or even distributed by Netflix. Everything from its plot, actors and actress, or even filmmaking evokes a sense of direct-to-DVD nature. It’s a film that from the beginning, fails to instill any confidence in its viewer. It pre-emptively attempts to excite with a dismal action set piece, of which it seemingly cannot out-do in the next eighty minutes. It is hard to recall any such action sequence with the running time, seemingly showcasing just how forgettable and flat the whole narrative is.

The characters are equally as forgettable and utterly unlikeable. Grillo’s character and his brother are terrible human beings who kidnap a pregnant woman and yet the film by the end wants the viewer to coincide emotionally with their problems. Grillo plays a monster without an inch of personality, of whom the viewer instantly dislikes. Mackie, to his credit, tries to implement a character with a moral compass, and emotional density, however, he gets lots in a film that wants to impress on weak action than invest in a rewarding or entertaining story.

Point Blank is available to watch on Netflix now.
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EATEN BY LIONS

Stars: Antonio Aakeel, Jack Carroll, Asim Chaudhry, Johnny Vegas, Vicki Pepperdine, Kevin Eldon, Sarah Hoare, Nitin Ganatra, Stephanie Fayerman, Hayley Tamaddon, Darshan Jariwala, Natalie Davies | Written by David Isaac, Jason Wingard | Directed by Jason Wingard

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Eaten By Lions, directed by Jason Wingard, follows two step-brothers Omar and Pete. After their grandmother dies, they are left in a very different and complicated circumstance that changes their lives forever. Pete finds happiness with a new family who rebuffs Omar, who in turn seeks out his estranged father — pulling the two boys into a bizarre new world of belonging and brotherhood.

Wingard’s film is a heart-warming and fantastic old school feature reminiscent of bubbly delightful British dramas. Surrounding itself in themes of profound and poignant matters with a focus on family dynamics and societal pressures. Similar to East is East in terms of societal prejudice and dysfunctional family dynamics, interwinding with a little heart from its characters. Eaten By Lions is a perfect substitute for the sheer amount of remakes, sequels, prequels and reboots in the viewers’ film library.

The central performances of Antonio Aakeel as Omar and Jack Carrol as Pete are fantastic. Both performers grapple with a significant amount of emotional weight and layers regarding their characters. The comedic sensibility of each actor is not too bad either; in fact, it is far beyond their years and brought with a wonderfully poignant and captivating bravado when the film touches upon its heavier themes.

Eaten By Lions is available on DVD and Digital now.

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