By: Danny Templegod
Greetings valued Dan’s Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Already a lot of buzz regarding the latest film from director Daniel Zirilli, Hollow Point. Daniel and star JuJu Chan are in China at the 5th annual Jackie Chan International Action Film Awards. Hollow Point is chosen as one of the top 10 action films of the festival and JuJu Chan was chosen as a nominee for the best action actress. Check out this amazing photo from Antony Szeto below at the festival.
Composer Nicholas Rivera was awarded for his musical score in Hollow Point. At the 2019 NIAFFS (Noidentity International Action Film Festival) which took place June 29th 2019 in Seville Spain. Executive Producer and Star Dilan Jay was on hand to accept the awards, which also included awards for director Daniel Zirilli and Ayhan Tongadur. Often composing is a lonely business, having to sit in a room by yourself syncing the music to a quiet film track. Composers often have to go through a myriad of demands by various producers and the film director, delivering the finished project in a limited amount of time. Nicholas is a creative individual, who puts passion into his craft. Very deserved to be recognized for his efforts in Hollow Point. Nicholas may not be walking red carpets, but in order for the others involved in the film to be able to, it is hard to deny that a great score is what makes a film, Jaws anyone?
Now that the film is actually for sale on Amazon, in the U.K. and has had a couple of film fest screenings, now is a great time to review the film, putting my two and a half cents in. Before getting into this review a full disclosure, I recommended JuJu Chan and DP Carmen Cabana to the production, having introduced the two of them at the Widescreen Film Festival in 2017.
Hollow Point at the core is a revenge film as a college professor’s wife and child are gunned down in cold blood for just being witness to a crime. Dilan Jay, in his film debut is the Executive producer and star. He portrays the professor character Noolan Cooray. Dilan is just getting his feet wet in the film business, coming from a musical background, he is creative, perhaps he may have bitten off more than he can handle jumping into the lead character. His effort is commendable, but might have been better served to start out in a smaller role prior to.
The script to Hollow Point was written by Chad and Evan Law, along with director Daniel Zirilli. I thought the script and dialogue was interesting and entertaining. The dialogue had purpose, not just being filler to pad an action yarn.
Daniel Zirilli has directed many independent action films. Although he gets as much as he can out of the people involved, I feel that at times some elements of the films he has directed are lacking, not necessarily his fault, as budget constraints and outside forces seem to hamper his hard work. One element of Hollow Point I really enjoyed was the camera work overall. Carmen Cabana is the director of photography on Hollow Point, and I must say, the way she frames the action, well lit when it needs to be and proper angles for the fight scenes and dialogue scenes give a more polished feel to the film. I firmly feel that a good DP can really enhance even a low budget film, and Hollow Point is for sure one of the best shot films Daniel Zirilli has directed.
The cast of Hollow Point consists of veteran actors mixed with newcomers and at times, some of the acting is a bit uneven, that said, Michael Paré Luke Goss and Jay Mohr are seasoned pros and give Hollow Point a more prominent feel than the average B movie. The trio do their best at stern looks and intense dialogue, underscoring the seriousness of Hollow Point.
The big acting surprises here are actresses Natalie Burn and JuJu Chan. Natalie Burn portrays detective Emily Plaza and really seems to take to the role. Not only does she deliver her lines with authority, her mannerisms belay the demeanor of an officer, trying to get to the bottom of the situation. Natalie downplays her good looks, going more for a streamlined no nonsense approach to the project. Actress JuJu Chan, who will be soon seen in the upcoming Wu Assassins, pulls out all of the violence and verisimilitude needed for her role as the mercenary/scout Amanda Ray. Finally a script, a director and a DP in a film uses JuJu to her potential. JuJu has significant dialogue, and copious fighting, in Hollow Point, usually it is one or the other. As I disclosed earlier, I recommended JuJu to Daniel Z, about 3 yrs ago, but I can honestly say she really worked hard on this film and was definitely into the script and working with her good friend Carmen as the DP. It shows when people work hard.
Pointing out some other aspects of the film, location a kick ass house for one of the lead bad guys, a dank warehouse, the Los Angeles scenery is on display with some cool outside photography. I helicopter was used in the final police take down, this added to the overall scope of the film. The flow of the film is fast, not much time is wasted on fluff. Coming in at one hour and twenty-nine minutes including credits crawl, the film length feels about right.
Some gripes I have, the first one being the editing of the shots, especially during the final action sequence. The quick cuts between Dilan’s confrontation with the bad guy and JuJu’s killer fight, left me a bit frustrated, I kind of wish we are privy to the entire Juju fight first and then the Dilan climax separately. Both elements are very good, yet splicing them together seemed to lesson the effectiveness of the two. Even though the are taking place at the same time, giving them their own space even a minute or two each would have made both more satisfying.
The lighting for the most part is very good. My only issue is the very beginning raid, it is just too dark to properly see our mercenary group. The camera angles are fine, just needed to be lit from above like a flood or street light illuminating the area. The actors in the scene have some cool moves, yet due to the darkness the audience is not able to see them. I did a second pass with the brightness on my DVD player and the TV all the way up. It helped a bit but still very dark.
Dilan Jay is a good singer, however due to the type of film this is with extreme violence, and torture, his sweet soulful voice and mellow music seemed out of place. Hollow Point needed more hard tribal drums and perhaps some heavy metal music, yep I said it, when things get crazy.
Normally I do not like a small cast, but in Hollow Point, it seems too many side characters are introduced and detract from the main focal point of the plot. There is a lavish pool party, with an endless array of beautiful ladies, the scene is supposed to establish the upper crust lifestyle of the bad guys, but we already know this from the house one of them resides in, luxurious with huge open windows.
Arnold Chon does a great job with the stunts and action. Having to deal with a wide variety of abilities is difficult. He has to craft the action based on the talents of the various actors, within the framework of the script. Arnold is a pro, and I would definitely like to see some of his behind the scenes fight set up.
Although far from perfect, Hollow Point merits a rent or a buy if you like action films. With successful film festival runs, the movie is gaining momentum, look for a release in the USA later this year. I struggled with the rating, overall I give the film a 7 out of 10, some elements are amazing, some are a bit sub-par, but scoring this on a scale of B movies under the million dollar budget Hollow Point is pretty good. I will say if you do not like B films, or action films, perhaps Hollow Point is not for you, but being used to this type of film and comparing it to films in the same category, it is pretty good.
The film is available to buy, from Amazon U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Point-Luke-Dilan-Michael/dp/B07SFQ3931 the DVD is under 10 USD!!
Check out the Facebook Page for Hollow Point @ https://www.facebook.com/hollowpointfilm1/
IMDB Page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8648640/
About The Author: Danny Templegod is the owner and operator of the all exclusive Dan’s Movie Report and is a part time contributor for Action-Flix.com