TV on DVD Title: The Kill Point
Rated: Not Rated (contains mature language and adult situations but I didn’t see any nudity
Screen format: 16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
First theatrical release: 22 July, 2007
Previously released on DVD/BluRay/HD DVD: NA
Director: Steve Shill
Starring: John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg
Sound Formats: Dolby Digital 5.1
Length: 363 minutes
Seasons/Episodes: 1 season, 8 episodes
Subtitles: English and Spanish
From Spike TV comes Season One of “The Kill Point”, a smart and gritty drama that centers on a bank heist gone horribly wrong. Mr. Wolf (Leguizamo) is battle hardened Iraq war veteran who has assembled a team of his best allies, all of them disillusioned with life in apathetic and unsupportive America. When the attempt is foiled by an off duty FBI agent (who is killed in the scuffle), the crew retreats to the bank and begin a multi day stand off against SWAT, FBI and local police forces who surround them. Countering Wolf is star negotiator Horst Cali (Wahlberg), who must use both his biting wit and unprecedented command of the English language if he hopes to keep his perfect streak running. But Cali must also negotiate the demands of politicos, hostages who have been released but have agendas of their own, and most of all the connected father of one hostage, a hot to trot party girl who has a mind of her own, not to mention the members of Wolf’s platoon who are still at large. Also not to mention the two anonymous lovebirds who find themselves trapped in the mechanical closet when it all began.
Kill Point combines gritty reality with adult themes and terrifically smart writing to meld political commentary, sexual tension, black humor, and tons of shout outs to the greats of the genre, including Reservoir Dogs, Dog day afternoon, and Inside Man among others. I came in expecting great things from Leguizamo and wasn’t disappointed, and Wahlberg’s cunning linguist of a negotiator helps to keep viewers ping ponging on who to root for, but it is the amazing performances of the ensemble cast that really drive this series. From the flippant arrogance of the snipers to the locker room banter of the SWAT team to the crazed indifference of Wolf’s crew and his own use of anti-political anger, Kill Point had me anticipating the twists in each next episode and there is hardly more that I can ask for than that. Plus, and this is a small personal thing, it was great to see such a snarky grammar cop work the foibles of our language over the coals, Mark Twain would be proud.
Sound Quality: 4.5/5
In two words, The Kill Points sound was ALMOST perfect. The surround mix was easily the best I’ve heard from a TV show, ever, especially since it is truly engaging and immersive from start to finish. The soundtrack, by Justin Caine Burnette, is bass heavy, grungy electric techno, and is just perfectly tuned to the on screen action. I’d actually buy this soundtrack if it was available, and so far it doesn’t seem to be.
So where does it fail? There is just a bit too much compression or something off on some of the dialogue and it sounds flat and fake in the mix. I can’t put my finger on exactly where it goes wrong, but when you hear it, it takes you right out of the action every time. Still, it’s the best sounding TV show I’ve ever heard, and I’ll take that near perfection every time!
I must also compliment the extended and excellent use of gunfire and explosions. While not every episode has memorable shootouts, those that do are really head and shoulders above any other TV show and better mixes than most action films. Truly great stuff and there are quite a few that are perfect sound system showcases.
Visual Quality: 4.5/5
The best compliments I can give The Kill Point are that I didn’t care that it wasn’t an HD presentation and that once I was engrossed into the episodes I forgot that they were originally aired on TV. On closer inspection I do have a few nits that I can point out, but from the perspective of original television material in standard definition, these are minor and more related to the gritty vibe that the series was going for than in any defect of the transfer. Noise is very well contained and I never noted any edge enhancement tho I am somewhat unaffected by minor doses of that. As expected there were no pops scratches or other damage or any kind of compression artifacts. Sharpness was about as good as can be expected from anamorphic DVD, tho I did note a few occasions where facial details were purposefully murky and the high contrast style of the material let a lot of fine details get blown out both in highlights and shadows.
Extra Features: 1/5
Just a handful of character interviews that aired on Spike. Boo!
Overall: 4/5 (not an average) Recommended
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of modern television. But shows like The Kill Point prove that there is still a lot of life in the medium and if something this smart, sexy and fun can make it to my in box shows that there’s still life in it. If there is one thing I can ding the show for it is its heavy handed use of the Iraq situation and by using this as a springboard to controversy I find that it cheapened the total, but just a little bit. Overall tho, for fans of the genre or those just looking for a rock solid series that has it all, you will find that The Kill Point easily comes “Recommended.”