The review is in conjunction with the 1984-A-Thon, which is being hosted by Forgotten Films. After you check out this review, I encourage you to keep up with the other contributions throughout the Blogathon over at Forgotten Films.
When a vicious weapons dealer named Nighthawk (Stack Pierce) robs a military weapons cache and begins selling off the high-powered arsenal to various gangs, the police are forced to send in their best man to take care of business: Lt. James Long (Leo Fong). Armed with an unwieldy bowl cut and adorable bangs, Lt. Long must do whatever it takes to get these dangerous weapons off the streets, while also putting a stop to Nighthawk and his boss, a crazed mob leader named Joe Marks (Cameron Mitchell). Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Lt. Long also must find the people responsible for raping and murdering his wife only a year before.
Written and directed by Frank Harris, Killpoint (or Kill Point if you’re a conformist) is far from what one would describe as a “good film.” Killpoint is, however, a film that certainly delivers the goods, and it does so in spades, I might add. Right from the word go, Harris kicks the door open and unloads a barrage of action-packed madness that greatly exceeds the average B-Action picture of the time period, or any period for that matter.
Shortly after Nighthawk (by the way, NIGHTHAWK!) robs the armory, there’s a brilliant scene in which he is instructing a group of armed thugs to go into a restaurant and kill a specific person. However, he also informs the men that they mustn't leave any witnesses, which would seem innocuous in terms of an action film except for the fact that during this set up Harris cuts to various shots from inside the restaurant, where there are numerous innocent people eating. As a result, Harris subjects his audience to an amazing scene where no one person or one thing is safe from the thugs high-powered attack, and this includes, but is not limited to women, children, vases, liquor bottles, wall art, and plants. Nighthawk and his men shoot everything and anything, no questions asked.
“Take THAT, tequila bottle!”
As wildly satisfying as this moment may be, it’s only 5 minutes later when a nearly identical scene occurs, but this time taking place in a grocery store! And please keep in mind that this all happens within the first 15 minutes of the film. We're talking about an incredible amount of people and even more inanimate objects being shot the hell up, and every last minute is an absolute joy to witness.
While there are plenty of bloody and violent action scenes to be had throughout the entire 80 minute runtime, Killpoint has far more to offer than the giggle worthy action it delivers. Throughout Killpoint, one will find Mexican gangbangers, Richard Roundtree, a karate tournament – which may feature the best martial arts in the film, if that should tell you anything – a cheap hillbilly strip club (complete with pool tables and wood paneling), body builders, and Cameron Mitchell.
Oh, and that Cameron Mitchell...
Camera Mitchell is, as one would expect, as bananas as ever. Playing the kind of ridiculous, over-the-top character that only Cameron Mitchell can play, Joe Marks is a mix of flamboyant psychosis rarely witnessed on screen. Often adorned with a scarf tied around his neck and rocking a pair of oversized sunglasses, Marks loves nothing more than flying off the handle without any warning whatsoever. At one point, and during his introduction no less, Marks is watching a news report about the armory heist, when he suddenly pulls out a massive gun and shoots the TV. After that, he simply laughs and starts talking to the little dog sitting on his lap. Oh, did I mention he carries around a little dog? Well, he does, and not only does he have a little dog, he also loves wearing daisies in his hair while getting drunk in a Jacuzzi with said dog. Like I said, bananas.
Cameron Mitchell is far from the only person deserving of a few laughs, as Lt. James Long (Leo Fong) also brings a lot of awful to the table. One of my favorite moments comes during a scene in which Long – who is clearly harboring a lot of issues due to the fact that his wife was raped and murdered – partakes in an epic training montage where he is visibly driven by silent rage. Within this montage, the viewer is privy to a barrage of imagery featuring Lt. Long doing all sorts of weight training, target practice and sparring (which leads to a small cameo by Bill “Superfoot” Wallace) mixed with close-up shots of Lt. Long staring intently into the camera. And when I say close-up shots of Lt. Long staring intently into the camera, I mean the camera is literally right on his face, where all that is seen is his nose and his eyes (which are frighteningly close together) and those adorable bangs.
Despite being narratively inept and poorly made, Killpoint makes it a point to entertain despite its obvious blemishes. In fact, those blemishes only add to the overall value that the film contains as a piece of cinematic history, and while Killpoint will never be remembered as a classic per say, it will be remembered for being one hell of a fun watch. That is, by the five people who’ve actually seen it.