(In July 19 review, corrects references in text and credit
box to Todd Harthan as writer to read: James DeMonaco)
By Barry Garron
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Looking for action and
suspense? You can bank on this hostage drama.
Some of what's in "The Kill Point" looks familiar, but
there are enough new twists to keep this eight-hour series
feeling fresh and suspenseful. At the same time, casting John
Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg to play characters on opposite
ends of a botched bank robbery turns this series into a
riveting game of chess, with hostages as real-life pawns.
The setup is straightforward. Leguizamo plays Mr. Wolf, the
leader of a sextet of bank robbers with a careful plan for a
daring daytime heist. But these aren't career criminals.
They're former servicemen led by their former military platoon
commander, fed up with the raw deal he got after long and
painful years of serving his country.
When the police arrive a tad earlier than expected, Wolf
and four of his men retreat to the bank, where a couple dozen
employees and customers become hostages.
ABC introduced a series last fall, "The Nine," about
hostages who survived a bank holdup, but "Kill Point" has more
in common with Fox's "24." It doesn't flash backward or
forward. It stays in the present, pretty much in real time, as
move follows countermove and both sides try to bluff and
threaten their way to victory.
Vastly outnumbered by a SWAT team, sharpshooters, the FBI
and half the cops in Pittsburgh, Wolf and his men would be
doomed if not for the hostages. Capt. Horst Cali (Wahlberg), a
wily and successful negotiator, is determined to end the
situation without making corpses of them.
A few of the hostage characters seem to show up just about
every time there's a botched bank robbery. There's the brave
old guy with a bad heart, the spunky and hot-looking girl with
the rich daddy, the panicky bank manager and, of course, the
woman in shock. On the other hand, except for Cali's wife, who
isn't seen in the two-hour premiere, there isn't a pregnant
woman in the series.
The beauty of James DeMonaco's script is in its subtle
complexity. He makes Wolf and his crew vaguely sympathetic but
not so much that you root for them. On the other side, Cali is
caught in a bureaucratic vise, hampered by the egos of the rich
and powerful. Wahlberg and Leguizamo flex their acting muscles
in nearly every scene, and director Steve Shill finds the right
angle to keep the story taut.
After the two-hour premiere, "Kill Point" will play out in
Mr. Wolf: John Leguizamo
Capt. Horst Cali: Donnie Wahlberg
Mr. Rabbit: Jeremy Davidson
Mr. Mouse: Leo Fitzpatrick
Mr. Pig: Frank Grillo
Mr. Cat: J.D. Williams
Lt. Connie Reubens: Michael Hyatt
Deputy Chief Abrami: Mike McGlone
Ashley Beck: Christine Evangelista
Abe Shelton: Geoffry Cantor
Executive producers: James DeMonaco, David Hoberman, Todd
Lieberman; Co-executive producer/director: Steve Shill;
Supervising producer: Todd Harthan; Writer: James DeMonaco;
Producer: Tim Iacofano; Co-producer: Bill Hill; Director of
photography: Albert Dunk; Production designer: Paul Peters;
Casting: Avy Kaufman, Donna Belajac.