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Breaking Point (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 25, 2023

Breaking Point

Breaking Point


Starring Tom Berenger, Busta Rhymes, Armand Assante, Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones, Musetta Vander, Frankie Faison, Robert Capelli Jr., Curtiss Cook, Quisha Saunders, Robert Lupone, Kenya Brome, Jim Staszkiel, Devin Ratray, Jill Nicolini, Craig “Mums” Grant and Dyron Holmes.

Written by Vince Campanella.

Directed by Jeff Celetano.

Distributed by Lionsgate Pictures.  97 minutes.  Rated R.

The DVD box of Breaking Point quotes a review of the film which refers to it as “Crash meets Boyz in the Hood.”  This comparison is problematic – beyond the fact that the movie simply is not as good as either of those films – because both of those were stark views of life and race in Los Angeles.  Breaking Point takes place in New York.  While these two cities are separated by about 2,800 miles on the map, in reality, they are light years apart as far as settings and lifestyles.  The storylines are also very dissimilar – only having violent crime in the ghetto and older, jaded, mostly white lawmen in common.

However, this is a review of the film and not a review of the review, so the simple questions remain: Is Breaking Point a good movie?  Is it worth seeing?

The answer to both questions is sort of.

Breaking Point has high ambitions and is striving for some kind of dramatic gravitas which is mostly beyond its modest grasp; however it has enough interesting moments and disturbing scenes to make it worth a rental for those who enjoy crime and courtroom dramas.

It has an interesting cast, made up of past-their-prime tough guys (80s leading men Tom Berenger and Armand Assante) and younger rappers reaching out into acting (Busta Rhymes and Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones).  None of the four show much range here, but they all nail their central character trait – guilt-stricken lawyer, cold blooded villains and stoic good guy stuck in a bad situation.

Berenger plays a former ADA who is recovering from a cocaine habit after losing his wife and daughter in an auto crash.  Berenger’s character has become completely burnt out on his career and has one last chance to find redemption – by proving that a client who had gotten off on a technicality due to the lawyer’s incompetence is not now guilty of a double murder.  Berenger plays the role in a near constant numb grimace – which I hope was supposed to be method acting for the role.

Rhymes creates the biggest impression here as a pimp who is so vicious that we are introduced to him in a scene where he throws a baby out of a third-story window.  His character is disturbingly crazy – and yet as he seems to mostly victimize women and babies it is hard to totally respect him even as a bad guy.

In fact, there is some really disturbing violence perpetrated on African American women here – enough that it all gives the film a bit of a sordid sheen.

Still, Rhymes’ performance here is by far the best thing in the film.

These two men’s lives are shadowed by some politics in the New York DA’s office and a former football star (Sticky Fingaz) who is trying hard to get out of the hard knock gangsta life that he has fallen into since leaving sports.

The guy was apparently such a good football player that he was able to catch the baby thrown out of the window – one of several rather absurd plot points that keep Breaking Point from being the type of hard-edged urban drama it so obviously craves to be.

No, Breaking Point feels much more like a fair-to-middling straight-to-video crime drama – one which is may grab a certain cult popularity amongst fans of this type of film.  Still, it’s all been done before and done better.

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2010 All rights reserved. Posted: January 10, 2010.

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