Pressure Point (1997, directed by David Giancola)

Sebastian “Della” Dellacourt (Don Mogavero) is a balding, mild-mannered, and middle-aged businessman who has all the screen presence of a halibut.  That is just his cover because, in reality, Della is the CIA’s best assassin.  When his handler (played by Larry Linville of M*A*S*H fame) promises him that he only has to do “one last” job, Della is relieved.  But when he discovers that the job involves killing not only an ambassador but also the ambassador’s children, he intentionally botches it.  Della is arrested and his secret life is exposed.  His wife leaves him.  Convicted of murder, Della is sent to prison but he won’t be there for long.  His handlers have one last “one last” job for him.

After they arrange for him to escape from prison, Della makes his way to Vermont where he is assigned to infiltrate a militia movement led by local businessman, Arno Taylor (Steve Railsback).  Arno hates the government and he loves apples and he wants to blow up the U.S. Congress.  It turns out that Arno has some powerful friends backing him up and Della is meant to be a patsy.  Can Della and his new cop girlfriend (Linda Ljoka) stop Arno or will Della be set up to take the fall for the worst act of terrorism in American history?

Before talking about the movie, let’s spare a thought for Larry Linville.  Larry Linville was not a bad actor but he never recovered from playing Frank Burns on M*A*S*H.  It didn’t have to be that way.  During the first season of M*A*S*H, Frank was self-righteous, annoying, and not a great surgeon but he was still recognizably human and Linville played him as just being insecure and not as quick-witted as the other surgeons.  But as the series went on, Frank was written to be more and more cartoonish and soon he became downright evil.  While every other character got to grow and develop, Frank regressed until eventually there wasn’t any room left for him on the show.  Realizing that Frank would never be allowed to become a fully-rounded character, Linville left the show after the fifth season.  The show went on for 6 more seasons without him but Linville never escaped the shadow of Frank Burns and his post-M*A*S*H movie career was spent playing villains in low-budget films like this one.

As for Pressure Point, it comes from the same people who did Icebreaker and Time Chasers so you know what you’re getting into when you start watching it.  Moments of mild action are mixed in with scenes that only exist to pad out the running time.  Even though I like the idea of action movies that star people who like actual everyday people, Don Magovero is still the least convincing action star that I’ve ever seen.  Whenever he has to run or jump or do anything requiring any sort of physical exertion, he looks like he is about to faint.  Having him go up against Steve Railsback, who actually is a good actor and who is convincing as someone who could organize and lead a militia group, just seems unfair.

One response to “Pressure Point (1997, directed by David Giancola)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/30/23 — 2/5/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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