By Owen Gleiberman
Updated April 09, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Perhaps the first commercial American movie in which a female action hero gets to blow people away the same way male action heroes do: for the meaningless kinetic thrill of it all. A scrungy criminal, Maggie (Bridget Fonda), is reborn as a sleek government assassin. Who does she work for? The CIA — or, at least, a guy in black (Gabriel Byrne) who seems to be in the CIA. What are the consequences of her actions? We have no idea. Like La Femme Nikita, the 1991 French thriller on which it’s based, Point of No Return is an exercise in violent punk chic, a series of empty nihilist gestures posing as a character study. At its best, though, the film is enjoyably preposterous, and Fonda helps breathe life into this lady gunslinger. You root for her, even if it feels like sympathy in a vacuum. B-