It shouldn’t be that difficult to wring nasty fun out of Ian McShane as a hard-drinking sheriff with an itchy trigger finger and a penchant for addressing suspects as “Hey, stupid!” But somehow, “The Hollow Point,” directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, doesn’t, finding the least pleasurable route possible for its violent border-town crime tale.
Nils Lyew’s screenplay takes as its statistical inspiration the influx of smuggled, store-bought bullets going into Mexico to fill the drug cartel’s guns. With that, we get an arms deal gone bad and the bloody repercussions that pit a taciturn sheriff’s deputy (Patrick Wilson) and McShane’s crusty lawman against a shady businessman (Jim Belushi) and a sadistic killer (John Leguizamo) who logs his murders during secret furlough days from prison.
But really, this is sub-par “Fargo” meets rehashed “No Country for Old Men,” in which graphic killing and chaotic shootouts animate López-Gallego’s tired desert-noir stylings, while flowery, pseudo-philosophical, grammatically obtuse dialogue in rural accents murders any believable sense of character.
Lots of lines like “It takes a willing hand to punish horrible men,” but little actual suspense or narrative thrust. Full of moments that defy logic for the sake of cool brutality, and impossible escapes from certain death, “The Hollow Point” is all hollow, no point.
‘The Hollow Point’
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Rating: R, for bloody violence and language.
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood