“The price of love is to expect the pain of loss. Maybe it’s some kind of divine punishment to have the ones we love pay the cost of our own sins. The real punishment is being alone the rest of our days hoping to forget and praying for change to come again.”
We’ve all seen our share of film heroes whose journeys are hard-fought paths to redemption. There’s nothing particularly original in the concept. Writers from Homer to Shakespeare have explored the material. There’s no shame in not being terribly original. There is shame, however, in being terribly tedious. The real punishment, as it turns out, is in having to watch Breaking Pont.
In Breaking Point we have two characters looking for some kind of redemption. Steven Luisi (Berenger) was once a rising star lawyer in the New York prosecutor’s office. After a personal tragedy killed his wife and young daughter, he descended into drug addiction and lost his job and promising career. Now he defends what the system calls lowlifes, and he’s not doing a bang-up job there either. His current case has gotten him in trouble with the judge, and now his client is accused of killing his girlfriend and her baby. Luisi’s taking the heat because it was his incompetence that put the client out on the street to possibly commit these crimes. But maybe his client didn’t really kill anyone. Before long Luisi finds himself the target of a corrupt prosecutor with his eyes on the District Attorney position.
Enter Beans (Fingaz). He’s been rolling with a local drug kingpin named Al (Rymes). Al is the one responsible for the killing, but he’s got connections in high places who don’t want the whole thing to unravel. Now Beans has a choice. Does he throw in with Al, or try and change things around? Together the two redemption seekers must save an innocent man, rescue a baby, bring down a corrupt police force, and get the evidence on the man at the top. Oh, and there’s this whole “stayin’ alive” thing. Cue the Bee Gees.
Tom Berenger doesn’t have much to work with here. His character is all pathos and very little else. Most of the time he’s just got his head down looking like a puppy that’s been kicked into submission. Maybe that’s the character, but Berenger seems lost about how to get out of it. Then there are the other two leads. We have a cast that is made up of two guys named Busta Rhymes and Stickey Fingaz. I don’t want to stereotype here, but these guys both have “hood” rapper reps, and for the most part they play heavily into those reps here. The only difference is Rhymes is at least trying to do the right thing. Still, he comes across too much like a thug. Musetta Vander is completely wasted as a prosecutor who seems to like Luisi and has some sympathy for him. Her character never gets to do anything except talk. If she has any chops at all, she didn’t get a chance to show them off here. She’s relegated to part of the scenery. The only performance that has any life at all is Armand Assante, who is at least trying to breathe some life into a lifeless character.
It’s all a plot of clichés from the characters to the stories. How many “good guys against a corrupt system” films have you seen? I’ve seen a couple hundred. How many times have you seen those bits of flashback used to reveal some angst moment for the lead character? If you intend to waste your time on this movie, add one to those totals.
Breaking Point is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is a very dark film even in broad daylight. There’s setting a mood, and then there’s presenting a canvas that’s merely colorless and drab. Black levels are inconsistent here and are never very good.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is as unimpressive as everything else here. Dialog is about all you get, and plenty of contemplative dead air. One gunshot provides the closest thing to dynamic as this film ever gets. Move along. There’s nothing to hear here.
Interviews: (3:49) Rhymes and Fingaz answer text questions about the movie.
Behind The Scenes: (3:57) A rap soundtrack follows what amounts to a montage of frivolous behind the scenes moments.
Deleted Scenes: (2:06) There are two, filled with all of those nasty frame reference numbers.
Often times you’ll hear a critic call a film a “sleeper”. That’s usually a good thing. It denotes a film that might not have had a ton of buzz or expectations that manages to be quite good, even if it wasn’t all that big at the box office. Breaking Point is a different kind of “sleeper”. Suffice it to say that it works better than Ambien. With a promising cast and interesting plot, I’d love to tell you that this one fits the first definition. But “that doesn’t seem to be the case”.