This is one of those neo-noir films that push the envelope for its time — that time being the late 60s.
Essentially, the film boils down to this. Mal Reese (played by John Vernon, in his first big movie role) talks his friend Walker (played by the ever-laconic Lee Marvin) into pulling a heist at the abandoned Alcatraz Island. But it all goes south for Walker when Reese turns on him and splits with the dough and Walker’s wife. Talk about a double whammy. In a series of flashbacks, we see the three of them enjoying good times together in the past. Like the Mod Squad with a white version of Linc.
The whole movie is pretty much about how Walker wants his share of the dough. And all the shit he must endure to find Reese, who (as it turns out) shacked up with and abandoned the wife, who … well, let’s just say things don’t go well for her.
So there’s a lot of Lee Marvin kicking the shit out of people and trying to figure out what’s what with the help of a mystery man (played by Keenan Wynn). All set against a late 60s backdrop where women wear miniskirts and go-go clubs have dancers wearing outfits no more revealing than a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Not to mention at least one shot of psychedelic blood going down the drain. In that respect, Point Blank is kind of like film noir on an acid trip.
But there’s the matter of the Big Organization that Reese owed the money. Apparently, criminal rackets make you jump through more hoops than publicly traded corporations to get a refund.
For its time, I’ll admit this film is fairly brutal, but compared to today’s shoot-em-ups … I’m not sure that it stands up over the test of time. It is a suspenseful film in many senses. Not only did I wonder what would happen, but I kept hoping it would get better.
Unfortunately, even the talents of Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson couldn’t keep this one from being just so-so.