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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Point Men (2001)

"This has become personal, and I'm not going to sit around and wait for him to call."
- Tony Eckhardt (Christopher Lambert)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: November 21, 2001

Stars: Christopher Lambert, Kerry Fox, Vincent Regan
Other Stars: Maryam d'Abo, Cal Macaninch, Nicolas de Pruysenaere
Director: John Glen

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexuality
Run Time: 01h:30m:18s
Release Date: November 13, 2001
UPC: 043396067844
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DB-B- D+

DVD Review

John Glen has a track record as a director who knows his way around an action film. With a series of James Bond films to his credit (License to Kill, The Living Daylights, A View To A Kill, Octopussy, and For Your Eyes Only), it would seem that he would be an ideal candidate to direct a story that features plenty of guns, gadgets and espionage. Based on the novel "The Heat Of Ramadan" by Steven Hartov, the 2001 release of The Point Men does it's best to mimic the globetrotting antics of Bond, while presenting a somewhat more gritty and realistic story line.

A scruffy band of Israeli operatives, dubbed the 'Foreign Legion' due to their mixed international lineage, are tracking the deadly Palestinian terrorist Amar (Vincent Regan). Led by Agent Tony Eckhardt (Christopher Lambert), the opening sequence features a botched and bloody unsuccessful attempt at capturing Amar that ends tragically for all involved, and allows Amar to escape. Eckhardt's team quickly becomes an embarrassment to the Israeli government, and they are subsequentially put out to pasture. Amar then undergoes drastic plastic surgery to alter his appearance, and for reasons that are never entirely clear, decides to eliminate Eckhardt's team one by one.

What could have been a taut international thriller quickly becomes nothing more than a series of carefully staged murders, designed to look like accidents, committed by Amar as he slowly kills off the team that hunted him. The drama is minimal, and leads up to the inevitable encounter between Eckhardt and Amar. With plot locations that span from Luxembourg to Switzerland to Israel, The Point Men certainly LOOKS good, but never produces any palpable tension or suspense.

Lambert, definitely showing his age here, mostly just stomps around angrily as he struggles to track Amar. It was refreshing to see him portray Eckhardt as not a superman, but more of a normal guy, albeit one with exceptional weapon skills. He doesn't have quite the fighting skills of The Highlander which only makes his character a bit more real. His romantic relationship with fellow agent Maddy (Kerry Fox) seems a little dramatically forced, and only present to fill in the cracks between shootouts.

The rest of Eckhardt's team is made of the requisite movie combo-pack of characters. Like the doomed teens in a Friday The 13th film, they exist only to be killed. As I mentioned, I never fully understood the need for them to be picked off, other than as a weak plot device, especially since Amar has had major plastic surgery and could obviously escape into the shadows. Fans of super cute Maryam d'Abo will no doubt appreciate her far too brief appearance here.

Ultimately, The Point Men becomes nothing more than a series of pointless scenes with gun-wielding men having shootouts in an assortment of public places (parks, streets, apartments). The lack of any real depth reminded of being a kid, playing 'secret agent' with my friends. Our mock gunplay had about as much realism as Glen creates here. There isn't much in the way of suspense, and the climax is more than similar in tone to Clint Eastwood's In the Line of Fire.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: Columbia TriStar has been very good about providing both widescreen and full-frame versions on the same disc, and The Point Men does, as well. A 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer are both layered on one side, and appear as a menu option. Colors have an even, natural tone, though flesh tones seem to run a bit red at times. Some minor compression issues pop up here and there, though for the most part this print looks pretty good. Nicks and scratches are minimal.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: For an action film, the audio transfer here is surprisingly uneventful. A pair of audio tracks, in 5.1 and 2.0 surround, mirror each other fairly close with little differentiation. Admittedly, the 5.1 track has a little more depth, though the surround channels are used sparingly enough to make the difference between the two negligible. Dialogue is clean, with relatively subtle directional imaging. With all of the gunfire in this film, a more robust sound mix could have helped a lot.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Blue Thunder, The 6th Day, Time and Tide, Taxi Driver
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Columbia TriStar does not traditionally load second-tier titles like The Point Men with any significant extras, and that tradition continues here. Aside from perfunctory filmographies, 28 chapter stops, and the standard Columbia wide range of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Thai, a set of action trailers is included. Three of the four trailers (Blue Thunder, The 6th Day, Time and Tide) are widescreen, except for Taxi Driver.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

The Point Men starts out with a bang, but quickly degenerates into a predictable revenge tale. Even with Bond vet John Glen behind the camera, and low budget action star Lambert in the lead, there just isn't much here to make a compelling story.

 


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