Trigger Point might miss the mark of originality, but is otherwise a solid action thriller.
It’s become the norm to knock films that are clearly derivative of others — in large part because the quality of said offender is so bad. Trigger Point is different in the sense that while it feels overly familiar as it travels on well worn roads, the execution is done well enough to make for an easy, non-demanding watch.
Nick Shaw (Barry Pepper, Maze Runner: The Death Cure) is an unassuming guy in a quiet town. He mainly keeps to himself, but Nick’s attentive enough to get a video game code for the chatty diner waitress (Nanzeen Contractor, Heroes Reborn) and fix the teamaker for the bookstore owner (Jayne Eastwood, Dawn of the Dead).
Naturally, there’s more to Nick than meets the eye. He was a special forces operative that got betrayed in the field. Now he’s staying off the radar and presumably starting a new chapter in his life.
Those plans go sideways when his old handler, Elias Kane (Colm Feore, 24), seeks his help in figuring out who killed their fellow operatives. The stakes are high for Elias as his daughter, Monica (Eve Harlow, Heroes Reborn), has been captured by the same forces that took out their team.
Reluctantly going back into action, Nick teams with Elias to track down dwindling leads before the assassin kills Monica.
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I’ve always thought Pepper should have been a bigger star. He naturally has that edgy, somewhat detached coolness that some actors try to make seem organic. He’s worked alongside some big names and has never been the weak link on screen. It’s like he was the one performer that had to pay for that galactic farce that was Battlefield Earth.
Regardless, Pepper carries the world weary demeanor of a former agent well. And any time he’s taking out bad guys from a distance it provided some likely intentional flashbacks to his sniper role in Saving Private Ryan.
Beyond Pepper, the supporting cast more than holds up their end with Feore, Contractor and Eastwood in particular standing out. Smallville vet Laura Vandervoort has a minor role that has the potential to be expanded later.
The basic premise of Michael Vickerman’s script is what would Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt do if he really did go dark and stayed off the grid after being set up? That’s a decent starting point and to further tap into the spy/secret agent genre, Nick has some memory loss a la The Bourne Identity. There’s a snap into the action moment feel from The Accountant as well.
Borrowing elements from high profile films doesn’t matter if the end result is a mess. Director Brad Turner capably guides Trigger Point relatively seamless through this web of intrigue, deception and action. Turner is a longtime TV director vet with multiple episodes of Agents of SHIELD, Nikita, Transporter: The Series and Stargate SG-1 on his resume.
As Trigger Point plays out, it’s not that shocking then that Turner’s lengthy stint as a director was on the FOX action thriller 24.
Minus the ticking clock Trigger Point definitely gives that 24 vibe with Pepper easily sliding in to the Kiefer Sutherland role. And might also the casting of 24 alumn Carlo Rota as Elias’ right hand, Dwight.
Not surprisingly, the action scenes are shot coherently and are easy to follow, which is one of the key aspects of an action thriller.
The final act isn’t so final as it leaves the conclusion more on a cliffhanger note than an open-ended anything is possible payoff. There’s a boldness in intentionally setting up a sequel for an unproven commodity that’s admirable.
Given the lack of quality options in this genre that aren’t mega-blockbusters, I’d be down for another pull of Trigger Point.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Screen Media