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Breaking Point (Fox) DVD Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Breaking Point (Fox) DVD Review



    Released by: Fox
    Released on: May 22nd, 2007.
    Director: Bob Clark
    Cast: Bo Svenson, Robert Culp, John Colicos
    Year: 1976
    Purchase From Amazon

    Breaking Point - Movie Review:

    Revenge films were hot in the seventies. For whatever reason, most of the best films in the genre were made during that decade. Blame it on the political climate, the end of the free love era or whatever else you like but the fact remains: seventies revenge movies are, more often than not, completely badass. There's been a resurgence of interest in the genre of late, possibly because of the success of Kill Bill but more likely because seventies films in general seem to finally be gaining their place alongside some of their more respected colleagues made in decades prior. Bob Clark's Breaking Point may not be the best of the best, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a look thanks to Fox's recently released DVD debut.

    Bo Svenson (best known for his performances as Buford T. Pusser in the two Walking Tall sequels and the television series of the same name) stars as Michael McBain, a former Marine who now makes his living as a Judo instructor. When he witnesses a crime he finds himself on the receiving end of some nastiness courtesy of Vincent Carbone (John Colicos) and his mobster buddies. One thing leads to another and before you know it, the feds get McBain and his family into the witness relocation program and ship them off to Toronto to start a new life.

    Of course, if it ended there, Breaking Point wouldn't be much of a revenge movie. Once McBain and his clan have relocated it isn't long before Carbone and his dastardly cohorts track him down. They want to make him pay for testifying against them and they'll even stoop so low as to bring McBain's family into this if they have to. Before you know it, they've pushed McBain too far and he's forced to fight back for the sake of his family and to save his own skin. You don't want to piss off a former Marine turned Judo instructor. It's just a bad idea.

    The first half of Breaking Point doesn't move at light speed but it does set up the fantastic finale quite nicely by building up McBain's character and giving him sufficient motivation to essentially snap and take down all of his opponents. Svenson, not really known as a strong leading man despite some rather decent performances in b-action films too numerous to mention, carries the film well and if he isn't electrifying he is at least reasonably believable in the lead role. Colicos, as his foil, is sufficiently sinister so as to make for a strong villain, with the rest of the cast more or less phoning it in.

    Best known for comedy films like Porky's and A Christmas Story, director Bob Clark's background is firmly rooted in horror and exploitation cinema with Black Christmas and Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things standing out as two of his better known genre efforts. He had demonstrated a few times in those aforementioned pictures that he had a knack for staging violent set pieces and that's proven again in Breaking Point once McBain does find himself pushed into a corner with no alternative but to fight his way out. It's these scenes that shine in the film, that make it worth watching and that redeem the fairly pedestrian opening half. The seventies era Toronto footage also gives the picture some charm, particularly for those who are familiar with the area.

    Breaking Point - DVD Review:

    Fox presents Breaking Point in a decent if unremarkable 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen that looks to preserve the film's original theatrical aspect ratio. The picture is a little on the soft side but it's certainly acceptable even if it's obviously not perfect. Expect to see a coat of fine grain throughout most of the duration and some minor print damage in the form of the odd speck or two. Flesh tones look decent though colors are a slight bit faded in a few scenes. There are no problems to report in terms of mpeg compression, nor are there any real issues with edge enhancement or aliasing. Overall, Breaking Point looks good. Not great, but good.

    Fox provides audio options in English in both Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital Mono, as well as a dubbed Spanish language track available in Dolby Digital Stereo. Closed captions are provided for the feature only in English. The quality of the audio is fine even if it is unremarkable. Don't expect to hear much difference between the Stereo and the Mono tracks, they sound more or less the same and the channel separation on the Stereo track is minimal. Dialogue is clean and clear and there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion to report. A few scenes are definitely on the flat side but that's likely the way that the film sounded when it played theatrically. The score sounds nice, the levels are properly balanced, and there are no major issues here at all.

    Aside from menu screens and chapter stops, the only extra features to be found on this DVD are the film's original theatrical trailer and a brief still gallery of promotional materials.

    Breaking Point - The Final Word:

    Although the first half of the film suffers from some pacing problems, Breaking Point holds up well. It's a simple film but Clark's direction is typically solid and Svenson makes for an interesting lead. Fox's disc is far from impressive but the quality is at least acceptable even if there are no supplements of note. Recommended.






































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