The killer and spy retirement plan always seems to have some problems, at least when watching movies like John Wick or this little 2021 Canadian action flick we are discussing today, Trigger Point.
It all starts at the end with former special agent Nicolas Shaw, who has now retired to civilian life after one last mission gone terribly wrong.
Indeed, in addition to having failed in his objective of capturing the elusive international criminal known as Quinton, Shaw ends up imprisoned and tortured relentlessly to make him reveal classified information.
A miraculous survivor, the man still pays the price with blackouts and the fear of unknown enemies discovering and catching him again, thus living in the comfortable anonymity of a small rural town.
However, his former superior in rank, Elias Kane, discovers his new domicile and reaches out to make him sneak into Quinton’s supposed hideout, where his daughter Monica is being held captive.
Initially reluctant to leave the quiet life he had finally managed to build, Shaw finally agrees out of respect and friendship for his colleague, as well as gratitude to Monica, who had once helped him during his difficult period of readjustment.
Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a simple rescue mission actually turns out to be a trap that will resurrect all those memories blocked by the trauma of torture. The man must fight with all his strength and intelligence to escape those shady forces hunting him.
An espionage just like the others, but different
What works best is that, in reality, we will never know many details about this character, except that he is now fed up with the many lies and shenanigans of the spy profession and wants his life back.
In this sense, Michael Vickerman‘s script offers numerous twists and turns and a good pace, moving without rest from one situation to the next through characters and dialogue in a tense atmosphere that always keeps the attention high.
However, what I appreciated most is the willingness to hold a steady line that, throughout the movie, never goes beyond James Bond-style overacting while not denying the protagonist a certain level of physical invulnerability in firefights or hand-to-hand combat.
The result is a low-budget production with everything it takes to entertain audiences who like Jason Bourne‘s action espionage, without the same amount of resource deployment but with effective staging and never-too-fast editing that lets us thoroughly enjoy the many action sequences.
Sure, the story’s premise is certainly not original, but don’t these plots all look alike in always wanting to look for the mole or traitor on duty?
Trigger Point remixes this recipe again in 2021 with a movie that, instead, tastes different from the usual due to minor differences in the script and minimal but flawless direction that literally makes the hour and 20 or so running time fly by.
What more could you ask for?
Less expensive but equally valid spy of more famous colleagues
I am always happy when actors like Barry Pepper, a face well-known in many movies (like 25th Hour or The Lone Ranger) but usually relegated to secondary roles, finally get a chance to conquer the screen as absolute leads.
Here I want to ask everyone a question: net of an obviously limited budget, what does this hero have that is less than James Bond or Jason Bourne?
I’m not kidding; I’m bloody serious. The character works perfectly in every action scene; Pepper is swaggering and confident in his stage presence; even so, okay, there is no such budget to blow up trains, helicopters, or destroy forty cars in a breathtaking chase.
But basically, everything we see on screen works and is spectacular, and this fine actor perfectly renders this bizarre secret agent who, just like Bourne, remembers better how to kill or fight than the details of his own life, having lost his memory.
Was it he who betrayed his comrades in this past he does not remember, or are his old friends trying to frame him?
The pleasing couple played by Colm Feore and Eve Harlow also adds a good touch of mystery with this strange father/daughter relationship inside the Secret Service, each of which has its own moment to impact the story.
Finally, the supporting cast also does their honest work, such as the good Carlo Rota as a very violent but not very bright right-hand man or the friendly librarian Jayne Eastwood, who is actually a liaison agent and the protagonist’s only link to his old life.
Personally, I started watching this movie without much expectation, probably foreseeing that I would forget it ten minutes after the conclusion, and yet Trigger Point was one of the most delightful surprises of 2021 precisely because it was unexpected.