You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘The Hollow Point’

An over-the-top Ian McShane is the chief selling point for this formulaic neo-noir drama, which also stars Patrick Wilson.

Patrick Wilson, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, James Belushi, Lynn Collins.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2918606/

With “The Hollow Point,” director Gonzalo López-Gallego and screenwriter Nils Lyew flash back to those not-so-thrilling days — specifically, the early- to mid-1990s — when Blockbuster store shelves were littered with direct-to-video neo-noirs in the same fatalistic vein. Almost every aspect of this violent yet dawdling indie, including the sound-alike redo of a late-career Johnny Cash recording used during the closing credits, seems generic and/or second-hand. Still, there are sporadic compensations for your investment of time: Ian McShane’s robust overplaying of an unapologetically scuzzy small-town lawman, John Leguizamo’s dead-serious villainy as a scarily resilient hit man, evocative lensing by David Jose Montero, and a few modestly inventive twists in the otherwise predictable plot.

The film takes place in an Arizona hamlet near the Mexico border where a few locals earn an off-the-books income by selling ammunition to a drug cartel. There’s a new sheriff in town, Wallace (Patrick Wilson), a straight-arrow prodigal son who returns to his old stomping grounds to replace Leland (Ian McShane), a beefy and boozy cynic with a reputation for shooting first and seldom asking questions later.

Wallace arrives just in time to get caught in the crossfire after an ammo delivery goes wrong. Because of their connection to a rash ne’er-do-well who ran off with a stash of drug cartel cash; Shepard (Jim Belushi), a sleazy used-car dealer; and Marla (Lynn Collins), Wallace’s incautious ex-wife, are on the kill list of the aforementioned hit man (Leguizamo). Wallace is determined to save at least one of those potential victims, and he doesn’t let a little thing like having his hand sliced off with a machete seriously impede his mission.

Wilson is persuasively resolute as the sheriff, and Belushi does sweaty desperation like a pro. But McShane effortlessly overshadows both of them — and everyone else in the cast — with a flamboyantly mannered performance charged by alternating currents of contemptuous sarcasm and pessimistic gruffness.

In between swigs from a very large bottle of whiskey, he runs the gamut from waxing philosophical (“It takes a willing hand to punish horrible men!”) to issuing florid insults (“You are not an unfortunate man, you are an auspicious parasite!”) when Leland isn’t offering dire warnings about the threat to his community posed by murderous “bogeymen.” Chief among the latter: Atticus, the relentless assassin effectively played by Leguizamo as only slightly less indestructible than Jason Voorhees.

Fairly early in the proceedings, “The Hollow Point” establishes itself as the sort of movie in which just about anyone might wind up on the wrong end of a gun, or a machete. As a result, some viewers may be reluctant to care about any character’s outcome. On the other hand, the final scene is hugely satisfying primarily because, at long last, the right person is killed by the right killer. That has to count for something.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'The Hollow Point'

Reviewed online, Houston, Dec. 15, 2016. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 97 MIN.

Production: A Vertical Entertainment release of an Atlas Independent Prods. production, in association with MICA Entertainment. Producers: William Green, Aaron Ginsburg, Andy Horwitz. Co-producer: Terry Leonard. Executive producers: Dale Armin Johnson, Glenn P. Murray, Julie B. May, Michael Ilitch Jr., Lewis P. Horwitz.

Crew: Director, editor: Gonzalo López-Gallego. Screenplay: Nils Lyew. Camera (color): Jose David Montero.

With: Patrick Wilson, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, James Belushi, Lynn Collins.

More Film

  • Zoe Kravitz 'Big Little Lies' TV

    Zoe Kravitz to Play Catwoman in 'The Batman'

    “Big Little Lies” star Zoe Kravitz has been tapped to play Catwoman, the antiheroine and sometime love interest of the Caped Crusader, in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.” Kravitz will star opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman. Pre-production on the Warner Bros.-DC Comics pic is expected to start this summer. No official start date has been [...]

  • Hadley Robinson Amy Poehler

    'Little Women' Actress Hadley Robinson to Star in Amy Poehler's 'Moxie'

    “Utopia” and “Little Women” actress Hadley Robinson has been tapped to star in Amy Poehler’s next directorial effort “Moxie.” Lauren Tsai is also on board to co-star in the Netflix movie. “Moxie” follows a teenage girl (Robinson) from a small town who is inspired by her mother’s Riot Girl past and starts a feminist revolution [...]

  • Samara Weaving

    'G.I. Joe' Spinoff 'Snake Eyes' Adds 'Ready or Not's' Samara Weaving

    Samara Weaving will join Henry Golding in the “G.I. Joe” spinoff, “Snake Eyes.” Haruka Abe, Ursula Corbero, Iko Uwais and Andrew Koji have also boarded the Paramount, Skydance and AllSpark movie. “The Captain” director Robert Schwentke is helming and Brian Goldner is producing. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who wrote “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' to Screen at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre

    Netflix’s “The Irishman,” directed by Martin Scorsese, will screen at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood  for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The screenings, announced Monday, are part of the limited theatrical run for the 209-minute crime drama, which premiered at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27. Netflix will begin streaming “The Irishman” on [...]

  • Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations 2019

    'Biggest Little Farm' Nabs Seven Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

    “The Biggest Little Farm” leads nominees for the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, with seven bids, followed by “Apollo 11” and “They Shall Not Grow Old.” “One Child Nation” received five nominations. The winners will be presented their awards at a gala, hosted by Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott, on Nov. 10 at BRIC in [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Abominable Animated Movie

    Vietnam Pulls DreamWorks' 'Abominable' Over Contested Territorial Claims

    Vietnam has banned DreamWorks Animation’s new co-produced feature “Abominable” from its cinemas due to a scene involving a map that depicts China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The move comes as U.S. entertainment firms such as the NBA, Disney and gaming firm Activision Blizzard are under intense fire from U.S. fans, activists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content