If it weren't for the fact that John Boorman's Point Blank
was already a definitive take on Richard Stark's novel The Hunter
(reissued under the title Payback
would be a well-above-average 90s action movie. The original toughness is diluted: Mel Gibson's Porter, replacing Lee Marvin's Walker and Stark's Parker, comes on like a hardnut but turns into a softie when he hooks up with call-girl Maria Bello (and he even likes dogs). Double-crossed and wounded after shifty Gregg Henry dupes Porter's wife (Deborah Kara Unger) into betraying him, Porter sets out to get back the $70,000 share of a heist that he feels he is owed. Because Henry has used the money to buy his way into "the Outfit", he has to deal not only with the squirming scumbag but a hierarchy of corporate mobsters (William Devane, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson) for whom it would be bad business practice to hand over even the trivial sum. Director-writer Brian Helgeland gives it a steely-blue look and gets good performances all round (with room for Lucy Liu as an amusing dominatrix) while constructing a story in which everything fits. But it's just a good thriller, since the masterpiece potential has already been staked out. --Kim Newman
Porter (Mel Gibson) carries out a $140,000 heist with his partner Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) and wife, Lynn (Deborah Kara Unger), only for them to double-cross him, shooting Porter and leaving him for dead. Vowing revenge, a recovered Porter sets off in pursuit, but in so doing attracts the attention of corrupt cops Hicks (Bill Duke) and Leary (Jack Conley), who want the money for themselves. Based on 'The Hunter', the same novel that inspired 'Point Blank' and 'The Outfit'.