Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hollow Point (Canada, 1995)

When looking at the name of the director of Hollow Point, one hardly finds any promise that the film might be worth watching. Sidney J. Furie, a long time Hollywood stalwart, started his career making such films as Snake Woman (1961), Dr. Blood’s Coffin (1961) and The Leather Boys (1963) and eventually went on to do the worst of all Christopher Reeve Superman films, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Obviously, his name hardly spells quality. Still, between Furie’s entertainingly humble beginnings and present status as a direct-to-video film director, he did have a few notable highpoints. There were a few hit spy films in the 1960s, and a few other moneymakers in the following two generations, including Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and, best of all, The Entity (1981). (Lady Sings the Blues is a quality, non-sleaze Hollywood entry into Blaxploitaion, narrating the “true” story of Billie Holiday’s life and starring Diane Ross and Billy Dee Williams. The Entity, on the other hand, is probably a film that Barbara Hershey would best have forgotten, featuring her in the starring role of a woman continually being stripped and raped by an invisible ghost. Featuring an explosively over-the-top ending and unconvincing final 5 minutes that tries to present both female self-discovery and empowerment alongside the typical idea of “the horror continues,” The Entity also features numerous scenes of a naked Hershey having her tits mauled by invisible hands... Great stuff, in other words.)
When considering the names of those starring in Hollow Point, one can almost only feel dread. Starring John Lithgrow, Donald Sutherland, Tia Carrere and Thomas Ian Griffith, the headlining cast is hardly a promise of quality. Tia Carrere, born Althea Janairo in Honolulu in 1967, is a nice looking babe with gravity defying orbs that seem to have gotten bigger since Wayne’s World (1991), but as an actress she is hardly known for her taste or talent, despite having graced such masterpieces as Zombie Nightmare (1986), Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man (1991). (Her most important scenes in Showdown in Little Tokyo, the sex scenes with the supposedly lethally endowed — in the film at least — Dolf Lundgrum, were all done with a body double — although, going by the photo above, she didn't need to.) Her chiseled Hollow Point co-star Thomas Ian Griffith, though he did make a good looking Rock Hudson in the 1990 TV film of the same name, isn’t actually even known at all. John Lithgrow’s name does present more promise, for despite the number of turkeys he’s taken part in, he usually is still a shining light in terms of the acting, as he was in the two Brian De Palma mistakes Blow Out (1981) and Raising Cain (1992) and the entertaining World According To Garp (1982). Still, 1967 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard and Fullbright Scholarship aside, Lithgrow often shows no intelligence in terms of his choice in movie scripts, and more often than not wastes his talents in worthless trash. The same can almost be said of Donald Sutherland, a man who seemingly never stops working. But unlike Lithgrow, Sutherland’s choices tend more towards odd than bad. No matter how odd his choice in scripts are, he is normally a standout aspect of whatever he takes part in, whether it be a swan-song production for an aging movie queen like Die! Die! My Darling! (1965), an overrated comedy like MASH (1970), a dreamy horror thriller like Don't Look Now (1973), a foreign arthouse oddity like Casanova (1976), a piece of teenage summer fluff like Buffy The Vampire Killer (1992) or a Big Budget Hollywood production like Outbreak (1995). Capable of overacting in ways that surpass anything ever done by even the legendary Shelley Winters, he likewise shares Ms. Winters' eccentricity and diversity in terms of script selection, moving freely between top Hollywood productions, independent projects and trashhouse grime.
So how, then does this brew mix? Pretty damned well, actually. Diane Norwood (Carrere) is an embittered FBI agent tired of being called (and treated like a) “sweetheart” by her coworkers, Max Parrish (Griffin) is a pill-popping drug-addicted ex-DEA agent out to regain his job and Garrett Lawton (Sutherland) a killer for hire who has grown bored with his job. For a variety of reasons they more or less team up against Thomas Livingston (Lithgrow), a money launderer with a Napoleon complex who sidelines as a sort of New Age guru for a multi-ethnic group of three Mafioso bosses. Like most screwball comedies, little or nothing of the film is remembered within a few days, but while being watched, it does keep you laughing. Hollow Point is neither a message film nor hardcore sleaze, it is simply an entertaining, well made B-film that manages to actually surprise; a truly unexpected treat, a screwball comedy full of action, laughs, violent death, explosions and verbal foreplay, featuring some of the funniest characterizations seen in films — B-films, at least — in a long time. There ain’t a serious aspect to the whole film, and more than one aspect of the film is morally questionable at best, but it’s all so much fun, who gives a fuck? How often is there a film in which a drug addict, a killer and a less than honest FBI are the heroes? That alone makes Hollow Point a film worth seeing. Even the Little Lady will probably like this flick.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...