Kill Point (The)
R1 - America - Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor (18th March 2008).
The Show

The problem with making a bank heist/hostage situation movie or TV show these days is that they will almost always be compared to the classic made before them, in the case of “The Kill Point” we’re talking about the films of the 1970’s primarily “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975). It’s true that a lot of filmmaker’s borrow from these films, because they are doing homage to a favorite film. The problem is that the films in which they are paying respect to is sometime far better than theirs. “The Kill Point” weaves in and out of greatness, revealing plot holes and moments taken directly out of other heist films but never ceases to be entertaining or intense.
Broadcast on Spike the series consists of 8 episodes, I’m not entirely sure whether this is considered a mini-series or a single season TV series. It’s obvious from the first episode that this series can’t sustain more than one season anyway. The premise of the show is simple; a group of ex-marines led by their former Sergeant known as Mr. Wolf (John Leguizamo) decide to rob a bank. Their initial motives are unknown – what is known is that they have recently returned from Iraq, and they gave far more than their government returned to them. Same sort of deal Vietnam Vets got upon return, many of them couldn’t find work, were haunted by what they did, fell ill because of experimental chemicals, etc. Upon exit the cops come in force and a gun fight breaks out, their escape is foiled and they retreat back into the bank. What started out as a well planned heist has turned into hostage situation. Not exactly what they had hoped for, so in the coming days there’s a stand-off, hostages are exchanged for things like food, electricity etc. A back-and-forth is established between Mr. Wolf and the hostage negotiator Detective Horst Cali (Donnie Wahlberg). As the ex-Marines try and find a way to get out of this situation without killing any hostages and most importantly to avoid jail time.
The series opens up with a bang; I was surprised how violent the show is even though its cable the level of action is cinematic. The opening sequence does a great job of sucking you into the show and the resulting gun battle that takes place in the open streets is reminiscent of that in “Heat” (1995) although on a smaller scale. Once inside the bank we start to learn about the robbers and their backgrounds, it’s not laid out immediately but we learn about them as the cops on the outside do. Once the hostage situation takes place we start to understand their motivations. They are frustrated with the Government’s treatment of combat veterans, whether this is something that Mr. Wolf uses to gain media and public sympathy or not is unclear. And whether genuine or not it’s nothing new in terms of story.
What’s clear is that the line between good and bad is not as black and white as we’d like to think, there’s a grey area. When you start to understand what’s going on inside these guys’ minds they stop being bad guys (although there are one or two that some viewers will not like). Also I found that their interactions were generally well acted and you get the feeling that they were an active platoon.
For the most part I was pleased with the show, however there are plot holes here and there that were a bit baffling, it’s hard to write about them without ruining the series for those that haven’t watched it so I’ll try and be vague (but if you haven’t seen the show maybe you should skip this paragraph). There were a couple of escape attempts that felt like SWAT wasn’t on the ball and made them look useless. I had a few issues there, the scenes outside the bank where Mr. Wolf addresses the public and media felt too familiar to Pacino’s rants outside the bank in “Dog Day Afternoon”, I also felt that the writers got a bit off track in the final moments of the series. Especially the ending seemed rushed and improvised, perhaps that was deliberate considering the robbers had to think on the fly and with haste in order to get out. But it didn’t work for me. And although it was inevitable that Mr. Wolf and Detective Cali confront each other I didn’t like the way the series ended considering Mr. Wolf turned out to be an alright and honorable guy.
As disposable entertainment this is a good way to waste a weekend as there’s enough action and suspense to keep you going from episode to episode. But in saying that there are plenty of other shows far better than this one to be watching. If you caught this on TV originally and liked it then I suppose nothing I can say will keep you from this release, for others that are curious it’s worth a rental.

Video

Presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 this anamorphic transfer is a good effort from Lionsgate. The show was shot on a digital format and at times is painfully obvious with hardly and depth of field and many flat in focus shots, the plus side is that the transfer is sharp and clean. Some very minor compression artefacts can be seen but otherwise there's nothing much to complain about.

Audio

A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included for all the episodes, this is where the package shine as the audio is excellent, dialogue is clear and distortion free but the action sequences is the cherry on top. The gun fire and effects sounds are great and spread across the 5.1 platform. The series score also works well throughout the sound space. Ambient sounds are put to good use adding depth and displaying the range of the track. For a TV series this is a near cinematic soundtrack that the producers should be happy with.
Optional subtitles are included in both English and Spanish.

Extras

Lionsgate has only included a series of cast interviews on these discs, below is a closer look.

DISC ONE:

This disc includes a collection of 9 cast interviews, these were originally produced for the Spike website and are basically promotional fluff material where the cast talks about the characters they play, what is so interesting about them and the show, it's disposable stuff that doesn't require repeat viewing and for the most part can be skipped without missing out on anything. The interviews on this disc are with:

- Donnie Wahlberg which runs for 2 minutes 10 seconds.
- John Leguizamo which runs for 1 minute 54 seconds.
- Brandi Engel & Kate Rogal which runs for 1 minute 43 seconds.
- Geoffrey Cantor which runs for 1 minute 58 seconds.
- Adam Cantor which runs for 1 minute 9 seconds.
- Karen Carbone which runs for 1 minute 9 seconds.
- Jeremy Davidson which runs for 1 minute 16 seconds.
- Christine Evangelista which runs for 1 minute 32 seconds.
- Jennifer Ferrin which runs for 1 minute 16 seconds.

DISC TWO:

8 more cast interviews are included on this disc, done in the same style as the ones featured on the previous disc, they are with:

- Leo Fitzpatrick which runs for 1 minute 38 seconds.
- Frank Grillo which runs for 1 minute 20 seconds.
- Michael Hyatt which runs for 1 minute 51 seconds.
- Mike McGlone which runs for 1 minute 55 seconds.
- Bingo O'Malley which runs for 1 minute 34 seconds.
- Ethan Rosenfeld & Peter Appel which runs for 1 minute 42 seconds.
- Ryan Sands which runs for 1 minute 10 seconds.
- JD Williams which runs for 1 minute 35 seconds.

Packaging

This 2-disc set is packaged in an amaray case housed in a cardboard slip-cover.

Overall

The Show: B- Video: B+ Audio: A Extras: D+ Overall: C+

 


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