It has been almost a quarter century since I escaped Cape Girardeau. Sure, I didn't appreciate that at the time and pined away for some time to get back to the Midwest. It wasn't until I tried to move back I realized either I had changed, or Missouri had - in either case, I made my way back to the IE. In retrospect, I realize I have spent the bulk of my professional career working in Riverside, California. First for the County of Riverside and currently at the greatest University on the face of the Earth - UC Riverside (Although UC Davis or UCLA or the other UC schools might argue with me about that. But, certainly it looms over schools like the University of Redlands ...but I digress).
Riverside is a gorgeous city. It is full of history. The Mission Inn has hosted many Presidents, it will soon be the location of Cheech Marin's art collection, and it is the place where I have consumed more beer and had more amazing times than I can count. Because Riverside has such personality, I've always been shocked more films aren't made here. The downtown area to the University are spilling over with locations and should have a film crew around each corner.
I bring this up because, in 1984 I stumbled into a small theater in my hometown to watch one of my favorite old time actors - Cameron Mitchell - in an "action" picture called Killpoint. As it turns out, most of the film was shot in Riverside and nearby Corona. Looking back at the film now, I can see where I worked 11 years...and, of course, had not idea as a high school student I was looking at where I would spend most of my professional life. I was just there to watch Cameron Mitchell chew the scenery...and in this film, he tops himself.
During the opening scene, we see our co-villan, Nighthawk, played by Stack Pierce, gun down a solider guarding an armory. We later find out, all the weapons have been stolen by a guns dealer named Joe Marks, played with gleeful disdain by Mitchell himself.
Suddenly, Riverside has become the weapons capital of the nation with every low rent crook sporting an M-16 (kinda like every day in St. Louis...or San Bernardino).
Assigned to the case of tracking down the weapons, and the dealer, is Lt. James Long, played by Martial Artist and former Methodist minister, Leo T. Fong. We find out, through a bit of truly stilted exposition that Long's wife had only recently been raped and murdered leading a Federal agent to ask "Is he alright?" and his commander's response of "No, he's not alright. Would you be? But I tell you one thing, he's gonna the job done". Interestingly, in the discussion Joe Marks last name is spelled Marx but the credits and IMDB have it as Marks. To assist Long, the ATF sends in Agent Bill Bryant played admirably by Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree.
IMDB gives the film a respectable 4.5/10 and the soul crushing Rotten Tomatoes, a site run by people who must hate movies, gives the picture a 2.1 out of five with a measly 10% liking it. WTF?
If you are from the IE - track this film down and take a walk down memory lane with Killpoint.
Miss you pops