Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss. Written by
Brian Helgeland cast Maria Bello after an endless search led him to a stack of videotape auditions for the defunct 1990's update of "Superman". After offering the role to her, Bello turned it down saying that "the role wasn't for her" He wanted her to be in the movie so badly that he literally hounded her for two weeks before she finally agreed to do the film. See more »
When Val is threatening Rosie on the floor of her apartment, shots of her show the gun solidly under her chin, while shots of him show the gun hanging loosely inside of his knee. See more »
GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
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If you don't like violence, then don't watch this movie. If you are open to great storytelling and gritty dialogue, this is the movie for you. In some ways superior to the remake and just as gripping. Some have hated this film just because of what it was, and that's a shame for them that they can't enjoy a film that neither glorifies nor trashes the underside of life. In a weird way, the main character Porter (who was Walker in the Lee Marvin film, played this time by Mel Gibson who is almost as good as Lee Marvin. Nobody could be better than Marvin in this kind of role) has a kind of decency code of his own even though it is more than a bit twisted. After all, in a world inhabited by criminals, the rules change significantly and so once has to either adapt or find a way out. Porter does both in both versions.
No sense in rehashing the plot. Suffice it to say that it is about a crook who got burned and wants what is coming to him and gets even along the way. Besides, the plot has been recounted by so many better reviewers than myself. I can only say that in "Point Blank" the ending is a bit more ambiguous. A precursor to the films of the 1970s.
It's always hard for me to rate one film version over another. It is almost impossible to not want to (in my mind at least) mix and match actors in roles. James Coburn played the same part as did Carroll O'Connor in the original and they are both perfect while being so different. After all, they were both accomplished actors. And maybe I could have done without a lot of the S&M and B&D scenes in the newer version but I chalk that up to the changes in the world since the 1960s.
Long before there was a Quentin Tarrantino, there were great directors like Don Siegel, Sam Peckinpah and Sam Fuller who were as tough as nails and not just some fan who knew how to use the best of all of these guys brilliant touches, and add some sick jokes. But director/writer Brain Helgeland does spectacularly well with the material, while the new cast shines in their roles almost as though they weren't acting, but living the parts. And that goes right down to the underrated David Paymer as a pathetic hustler (who could easily have been played in earlier times by an Elisha Cook Jr. as he did with the Wilmer role from "The Maltese Falcon" yet Paymer does so with more humor.) It is hard to make one root for people so lacking in morals but director, writer and actors manage amazingly well.
Both "Payback" and "Point Blank" are instant classics that should be considered as such. And God bless the memories of Lee Marvin and John Vernon (both in the original "Point Blank" version.) Such fine thespians will be sorely missed. Fortunately, their memories are on celluloid and other mediums to be enjoyed by many more audiences.
You might have guessed I really love these two movies.
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