Breaking Point, a 2009 straight-to-DVD film, stars Tom Berenger as Steven Luisi, a criminal defense attorney whose drug-addled past and family tragedy have left his career and life in shambles. Luisi’s latest case is defending a multi-time drug offender named Fixx (Dyron Holmes), who is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, which he is innocent of. Fixx’s infant daughter went missing during the murder, and he asks Luisi to attempt to track her down.
On this journey, Luisi begins to face his own demons, coming face to face with his former dealer Al Bowen (Busta Rhymes), who had a hand in the woman’s murder and is also after the infant. Luisi also meets Richard Allen (Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones), a former football player and member of Bowen’s gang who is shielding the infant’s whereabouts from Bowen in an attempt to keep her alive. While all of this is going on, ADA Marty Berlin (Armand Assante) is attempting to bring Luisi and his case down in order to become to the new D.A. of Manhattan, while his second in command Celia Hernandez (Musetta Vander) secretly helps Luisi thanks to a previous romance between the two.
Read that plot synopsis for a second time. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Did it sound a little wonky to you? Like maybe I left something out, or that I got bored halfway through and started putting together random words just to amuse myself? As awesome as that would be, that is definitely not the case. Breaking Point is a confusing mess of a film, something that should have just stayed on paper. With a plot so convoluted and messy, it’s hard to follow and hard to like. Everyone acts irrationally and plot points get introduced that have no bearing on the central story, making for a frustrating watch that feels like it takes forever to end even though it is only 90 minutes long.
The acting, even for a movie of this type, is horrendous, feeling like no one even made the attempt to try. Berenger looks like a walking corpse and delivers his lines like he is just starting out in the business. As a fan of Major League, this broke my heart. Berenger does not even seem to put in 10% worth of effort and if the lead doesn’t care, why should the viewer care?
Armand Assante, as Marty Berlin, does his usual crappy half-cocked job, lisping his way through a horribly written character whose comeuppance is so quick that you do not feel happy that he gets it. Busta Rhymes has the best moment in the film (which I won’t spoil, but it involves babies and windows), but all in all, he’s just a generic ethnic gangster that anyone could have played. He doesn’t throw any of himself into it, and it actually made me wish I was watching him in Halloween: Resurrection instead.
The worst of the bunch is Vander. You may remember Vander as Sindel from Mortal Kombat Annihilation and if you do, you already know just how bad she is. She’s even worse in this, and delivers her lines so poorly its cringe-inducing to the point of hitting mute. The only one who seems to care is Kirk Jones, who has the only interesting character in the movie and manages to rise above the horrible material to create a character you can get behind. If Breaking Point had starred Jones, like it sometimes felt like it wanted to, then it would have been infinitely better. He felt like the true main character.
Breaking Point attempts to be deep and dark, but just ends up being a giant mess of a crime drama that makes no sense and is irritating and slow. Despite Jones’ decent performance, the rest is so bad that it can’t make up for it. When you’re cruising the Blockbuster aisles, leave this on the shelf. Let Berenger and Sticky Fingaz keep their dignity in your eyes.
Breaking Point is released on DVD January 12, 2010. Its special features include a making of featurette, two deleted scenes, and interviews with Busta Rhymes and Sticky Fingaz.