Movie Review: Point of No Return (1993)
“The Government gave her a choice. Death. Or life as an assassin. Now, there’s no turning back.”
Point of No Return (1993)
Director: John Badham
Cast: Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney
Synopsis: A condemned female prisoner is offered a new life as a Government-sanctioned assassin.
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Bridget Fonda (Easy Rider, Jackie Brown) is the best thing about the shallow action picture, Point of No Return, a remake of the far superior 1990 French movie, Nikita. She plays Maggie, a drug-addicted cop killer, sentenced to death, who is saved from the gallows – well, the needle – by shady Government operative, Bob (Gabriel Byrne – Ghost Ship, Assault on Precinct 13) who offers her a shot at redemption by becoming an assassin. So sense of realism isn’t exactly its strong point.
Where Point of No Return differs from many other action movies is that it chooses to focus more on the difficulties Maggie encounters as she attempts to assimilate into society after completing her training. Apparently, she never bought food in her previous life because, confused by the choice in her local supermarket, she simply follows another shopper and loads her trolley with dozens of whatever they buy. Strange that Byrne’s agency would equip their pupils with all the skills necessary to kill anybody but not to maintain their cover in the outside world. Anyway, that’s just one of countless inconsistencies that aren’t really important given the context of the entire movie. While on her shopping expedition, Maggie meets J. P. (Dermot Mulroney – J. Edgar, The Grey) with whom she begins a relationship, and it’s the conflict between this relationship and Maggie’s secret life with which the film concerns itself.
Truth be told, that side of it isn’t particularly interesting, but Fonda and Mulroney work well together and their scenes with Byrne’s ‘Uncle Bob’ are well handled. But it’s with the action sequences that the film feels most comfortable. Fonda also manages these scenes well, and Harvey Keitel (Moonrise Kingdom, The Ridiculous 6) makes a welcome – albeit late and all too brief – appearance as a ruthless cleaner whom she must defeat if she is to escape life as a Government assassin.
(Reviewed 13th January 2012)